Highways England and the Supply Chain Safety Leadership Group (SCSLG) have agreed to adopt the Highways England Passport Scheme as best practice. The system is now recognised to evidence training and competence throughout the supply chain.
The SCSLG has recommended that all contractors adopt the scheme within the first three months of start of works on any Highways England project.
Highways England have adjusted its tendering criteria, specification and contractual requirements to support this approach.
The Passport Scheme’s aim is to set a common standard for all workers across the supply chain. The passport aims to simplify the method of gaining access to construction sites with a personalised smart card, assuring competency, qualification and fitness to work of Highways England’s construction workforce. It will make it simpler for staff to transfer between sites and for companies to verify that the people who work for them have the training, qualifications and competencies to work on any site.
Launched in 2017 at the Safer Highways theatre at Highways UK, the scheme was initially introduced as a two-year proof of concept. To date there are more than 18,000 card holders and more than 500 companies. More than 80% of those companies are SME’s.
The smartcard system is a single database accessible by all applicable license holders. This system can record training, competence, tool box talks, notify expiry dates, data sharing and migration on individuals moving between service providers which can be read by a variety of devices, including mobile phones.
The SCSLG sought to understand three effects resulting from the Passport Scheme. What benefits are realised across all elements of the passport scheme in respect of improvements to health and safety, as well as efficiency benefits of both time and cost. Find clear expectations on who needs a Passport Card and to undertake the Highways Common Induction. Identify the relationship with existing safety card schemes now and going forward.
The HE Passport Steering Group conducted a review of the scheme as the two-year introduction period came to an end, and the feedback from the Supply Chain suggested a need to move away from the current Highways Common Induction. As a result the Highways England Passport Steering Group is developing a new online induction to fit in with the variety of needs of the workforce on the network including; time away from work for training, training staff with mixed abilities and experience and overcoming language barriers, education levels, learning needs and IT ability.
The benefits of adopting the scheme include:
•Consistency and common standards across sites
•Allow users to access basic records on site and instantly record online Tool Box Talks or site training
•Reducing paperwork processing time significantly
•Provide more efficient and effective ways of working for T2+ suppliers by reducing induction time and eliminating the common elements that will be covered by the Highways Common Induction
•Provide everyone who accesses the Highways England network with clear awareness of sector specific risks and hazards in a consistent manner
•Facilitate the recording of working and journey times, and who is on site (self-check-in option available) across contracts or schemes
•Enable workers to view a copy of their own full record
•Provide access to site rules – at a manageable project or site level
It is expected that the Supply Chain Safety Leadership Group will continue to carry out a programme of engagement and communication to ensure the passport requirements and need are understood at all levels within the supply chain.
The current contract with Mitie and Reference Point has been extended until the end of May 2020, while the Steering Group and SCSLG finalise the implementation plan, requirements and processes.