Applying for assessor accreditation

There are a number of requirements for assessor accreditation and a number of steps in the accreditation process.

An accredited assessor is a person who, in the opinion of the Environment Agency Head (EAH), has been accredited in accordance with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 Offset Scheme for the purposes of applying the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM).

If you want to be accredited to apply the BAM you need to:

  1. Successfully complete the Biodiversity Offset Scheme Training for accredited assessors.
  2. Be able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills and experience, including academic qualifications and relevant work experience. 

After each training course, the training provider informs the Department.

The Department then sends an invitation to apply for accreditation and provides access to the Biodiversity Assessor Accreditation System (BAAS).

The training is current for 6 months and applications for accreditation must be submitted in BAAS within 6 months of completing the training.

Apply by submitting a completed application form and supporting documents.

Download the application form (DOC 125KB).

The form has 6 parts:

Part 1 – Applicant details

Part 2 – Fit and Proper Person Declaration

Part 3 – BAM assessor code of conduct 

Part 4 – BAM Assessor Experience and qualification report 

Part 5 – Certified copies of relevant academic transcripts

Part 6 – BAM Assessor Referee Report (2 reports from recent referees are required).

An application fee needs to be paid when you submit your application.

An accreditation term fee will be payable after your application has been assessed and approved.

Fees are paid via the BAAS portal.

See the current list of fees.

A renewal process is required when your accreditation expires.

The experience and qualifications required for accreditation include:

1. A person’s relevant academic qualifications, being either: 

  • relevant tertiary education in the natural sciences including subjects that relate to the observation and description of terrestrial biodiversity and landforms 
  • any other qualifications that are, in the opinion of the Environment Agency Head, relevant to exercising the functions of an accredited person.

2. A person’s relevant work experience in environmental science or environmental management or environmental impacts assessment or preparation of conservation management plans, including: 

i conducting plant and animal surveys

ii identification of plant community types

iii identification of ecological communities.

3. In the case of a person possessing the relevant academic qualification, at least three years of experience within the last 7 years.

4. In any other case, at least 5 years of experience, two of which have been gained within the last 7 years.

Ongoing accreditation will also require ongoing involvement in maintaining skills and knowledge related to the BAM and its application.

Notes about relevant work experience – and demonstration of technical skills

The BAM requires an assessor to have a strong focus on botanical skills involving plots, quadrats, and transects to sample species composition. This sampling is used to identify plant community types and ecological communities.

Assessor applicants should be aiming to demonstrate a reasonable level of recent relevant work experience. As a guide, approximately 50 days (cumulatively) over the last 3 years of plant-based field work, involving plots, quadrats and transects is considered reasonable. This is a guide only, and each application is considered individually, and on its merits against the criteria. The figure is based on experience of previous assessors. 

Note: There are also continuing professional development requirements for assessors to carry out a similar level of field work to maintain their botanical skills after accreditation.

The Department emails successful course participants the link for the BAAS registration page within two weeks of course completion. Applicants can use the portal to upload application documents, pay fees and track the status of their application

BAAS is the gateway to the accredited assessor access of Biodiversity Offsets and Agreement Management System (BOAMS). The BAM credit calculator can only be accessed after accreditation has been approved.

Accredited Assessor training has recommenced in November 2022.

The course is intended for people who want to become Accredited Assessors to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method.

Training is competency based, with assessment tasks to be completed before and during the course. You will need to demonstrate knowledge of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (BOS) as well as competency in the use of the BAM, including allocating plant community types and threatened ecological communities from field data collection.

What happens when I register for the course?

When you register for the course you are committing to completing both parts of the course:

  • Part 1:  Twelve eLearning modules and associated assessment tasks - to be completed prior to Part 2 and within 2 months of enrolment.
  • Part 2: Three day of Webinar, 1 compulsory field day and completing associated assessment tasks within 5 days of finishing the webinars. 
    The field day requires your own transport.

Cost

  • Part 1: $550 (includes GST) payable to Greencap - our training partner. 
  • Part 2: $1500 payable to DPE. An invoice will be issued on receipt of your registration.

How to Register

  1. Choose which course date you wish to attend. Note the location of the field day.
  2. Complete the DPE online registration form for that course. DPE will prepare an invoice for payment - this will take 1-2 weeks to be emailed to you.
  3. Complete the Greencap registration for Part 1 eLearning, pay their fee on line and complete the modules before stage 2 start date.

If you have questions about BAM assessor renewal training, please contact us at Bos.Training@environment.nsw.gov.au.

November 2022
Register and pay for Part 1 Greencap eLearning here
Register for Part 2 DPE webinar/field day here 
Field day: 7 November
Field day location: Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside
Webinar: 9-11 November

Assessment tasks due date: 16 November
November/December 2022
Register and pay for Part 1 Greencap eLearning here
Register for Part 2 DPE webinar/field day here
Field day: 28 November
Field day location: Jesmond Park, Newcastle

Webinar: 30 November - 2 December 
Assessment tasks due date: 7 December
February 2023
Register and pay for Part 1 Greencap eLearning here
Register for Part 2 DPE webinar/field day here
Field day: 13 February
Field day location: Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside

Webinar: 15-17 February
Assessment tasks due date: 22 February
March 2023
Register and pay for Part 1 Greencap eLearning here
Register for Part 2 DPE webinar/field day here
Field day: 13 March
Field day location: Jesmond Park, Newcastle

Webinar: 15-17 March
Assessment tasks due date: 22 March

Assessors are required to pass a fit and proper person test to become accredited or renewed. They should not be found to have:

  • contravened any relevant legislation, or has held a licence, accreditation or other authority under relevant legislation that has been suspended or revoked under the relevant legislation
  • been a director or other person concerned in the management of a corporation that has contravened any relevant legislation or any licence or other authority under relevant legislation
  • acted in such a manner as to not be regarded to be of good repute, or to bring into question the applicant's character, honesty and integrity, in the opinion of the Environmental Agency Head
  • been a partner or other associate of a person whom the Environmental Agency Head considers is not a fit and proper person to be an accredited person
  • previously falsely claimed that they are an accredited person, or made false claims as to the scope of their accreditation (where the applicant is currently or has previously been an accredited person), in the opinion of the Environmental Agency Head
  • have certified a biodiversity assessment report under section 6.15 of the Act, which in the opinion of the Environmental Agency Head, contained false or misleading information (where the applicant is currently or has previously been an accredited person)
  • provided false or misleading information to the Environmental Agency Head in connection with their application.

Assessors must meet the following obligations under the code of conduct:

  • comply with the conditions of their accreditation
  • notify the department in writing of any changed circumstances affecting the fit and proper declaration submitted with an accreditation application
  • maintain high standards of professional conduct when providing independent, consistent and objective advice on the basis of adequate knowledge
  • provide a truthful opinion on any matter submitted to them for advice or opinion, must not give false or misleading information or statements and must not conceal or omit information on any relevant conservation, market, environmental or scientific matter
  • not state a fact to support a client that will not be capable of support by available data
  • convey accurately to the client formal qualifications, expertise and experience and must not mislead or omit information
  • operate within the fields of their competence and engage with additional and appropriate expertise when required
  • ensure that staff and or contractors completing tasks under their directive are operating within their competencies
  • be personally accountable for the validity of all data collected, analyses performed or reports developed by them, and for the scrutiny of all data collected, analyses performed or reports developed under their direction
  • ensure thorough quality control measures are in place to confirm the correctness and validity of all work prepared by them or by staff or contractors under their direction
  • not conduct professional activities in a manner involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or bias
  • not advertise or conduct themselves in a manner that will bring disrepute to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme or the Minister
  • not act in circumstances where there is actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest
  • cooperate with and provide the necessary and requested information to the Environmental Agency Head during an audit or when otherwise requested
  • maintain ecological or equivalent fieldwork skills, and maintain a truthful written record of continuing professional development during the period of accreditation.

Maintaining accreditation

Accredited assessors must complete a continuing professional development log to demonstrate their continued engagement with the BAM and maintenance of technical skills.

This helps to ensure a high standard of work. 

The accreditation scheme also allows the Department to audit Biodiversity Assessment Reports (BARs) and review application of the BAM by accredited assessors. The Department can also vary, cancel or suspend accreditation. This helps to ensure that assessments comply with the BAM. For example, we may cancel or suspend accreditation where an audit establishes a failure to comply with the requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017, or the BAM.