New ECS Check Helps To Raise The Bar

ECS Check, a new free-to-use digital system from the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS), allows clients, contractors and others to verify the ECS card status of electrotechnical workers in real-time. 

For over 50 years the Joint Industry Board (JIB) has verified applicants’ qualifications in order to issue them with a card and grading. ECS now has more than 175,000 valid cardholders who have been assessed in line with the standards set out by industry.

Now, via ECS Check, the electrotechnical industry and its customers have a means to conduct their own audits to verify all electrotechnical personnel on site throughout the supply chain. There are already over 40 clients, main contractors or electrical contractors using the system.

Mace, a global consultancy and construction company, has been enjoying the system’s benefits, as Nigel Jones, Senior M&E Manager, explains, “Mace look to continuously improve to remain that one step ahead of our competitors with innovation and the search for a better way – we were therefore delighted to be using the new ECS Check service.” He added: “Mace teams will be able to satisfy themselves that the electrical operatives on site are qualified and experienced, giving confidence for both Mace and their clients that their works should be carried out safely by these highly skilled operatives.”

Richard Harris, Labour Manager for Gratte Brothers Group, has also praised the new system. “Knowledge, competence and safety is absolutely crucial within our business. Whilst on site we want our clients to be reassured that our workforce has the necessary qualifications and experience to carry out their work safely and to a good standard. ECS Check enables our clients to guarantee for themselves that the workforce we have on site are up to the task in hand,” he adds.

Clients and main contractors can also use the ECS Check system to promote apprenticeships and training; for example, by setting required targets for apprentices or trainees to be part of the workforce. This helps promote social and best value in procurement as well as allowing clients to specify the expected levels of qualification and competency for their projects. 

ECS Check is recognised as a Licence to Practice system in Northern Ireland under Procurement Guidance Note 01/16 and is helping to avoid unnecessary duplication of work by providing a free to access, online system which gives real-time access to the ECS database.

The system is also being used as a means to verify elements of the competence framework recommended by the Competence Working Groups (as part of the Hackitt Review) and will be increasingly important for electrical, fire, emergency and security systems installers in high risk residential buildings. 

Andy Reakes, Head of Operations, Employment and Skills at the JIB, comments, “The quality of an electrical installation depends on not only the electrical contractor’s company registration but, crucially, the person carrying out the work. Through ECS Check’s online portal, clients, main contractors and project managers can have confidence in the identity and quality of the electrical workforce on their projects.

“While we know clients will do the necessary checks on main contractors who have tendered for work, often the scale and number of companies involved in subcontracting supply chains means there is very little awareness of the qualifications and training of the person actually undertaking this work on site. ECS Check transforms that by providing one system through which clients and contractors can have this essential visibility and greater transparency.”

ECS Check is available through an online portal and smartphone app which can be used for verification of personnel on site. It complements the ECS virtual card which is available to all card holders and can also be accessed free of charge via a smartphone app.

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