Accreditation and quality assurance schemes for tree surgeons

Being a member of an independent accreditation or quality assurance scheme can indicate to your customers that your tree surgery business meets certain standards of competence as well as health and safety. It’s a good way to help promote your business.

The Arboricultural Association’s Approved Contractor (ArbAC) and the Arboricultural Association’s Registered Consultant (AARC) schemes

To qualify for the ArbAC scheme, you must have at least two members of staff and have been trading for at least two years. Most of the work must be done by yourself (and not sub-contracted) and you must have appropriate insurance. The business should also meet standards of site safety, finished work as well as health and safety. Approved members must then pay an annual fee and undergo regular assessments. This scheme includes a membership to the Contractor’s Health and Safety Scheme (CHAS).

To qualify for the AARC scheme, you must hold a qualification at QCF level 5 or higher, have completed at least 25 hours of continuing professional development within the previous two years, have at least 5 years’ experience at an advisory level and hold professional indemnity insurance up to £1 million. The application costs £840 and involves an interview and assessment of your portfolio of work.

To find out more about these schemes, visit the Arboricultural Association website.

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF)

To apply to the ICF, tree surgeons must have at least 2 years’ supervisory or management experience. Once approved tree surgeons obtain the status of Chartered Arboriculturist. Members of the ICF are required to complete an ICF-recognised degree-level course and pass the Professional Member Entry (PME). ICF recognised courses are provided by universities and can involve 2 to 3 years’ part-time study.

Go the ICF website for more information about the chartered membership.

The National Highways Sector Schemes (NHSS)

Before being approved as a supplier, services must be certified by Highways England or equivalent public body in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The schemes cover activities such as tree removal. An independent certification awards the accreditation and audits the applicant’s training, competency arrangements, quality management systems and working practices.

The Government website has more information about this scheme. Certification bodies include LRQA and BMTRADA.

The TrustMark scheme

TrustMark is a scheme aimed at helping members of the public find reputable tradespeople. It is endorsed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. To join, tree surgeons must go through an approved operator scheme run by trade bodies such as The Arboricultural Association. Members are then required to observe the trade body’s Code of Practice, have public liability insurance cover in place and have completed a recognised health and safety qualification.

You can find more information on the TrustMark website.

These are some of the main accreditation and quality assurance schemes that tree surgeons can join. If they have a cost and thorough joining requirements, they also have lots of business and individual benefits so we would recommend looking into them if you’re looking to grow your tree surgery business.

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