Applying for assessor accreditation

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

Individuals wanting to become accredited to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) are required to have:

  1. Successfully completed 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. The Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) training provider will inform the Department of the successful completion of the six compulsory modules for accreditation after each training course.

The Department will then send an invitation to submit an application for accreditation, including access to the Biodiversity Assessor Accreditation System (BAAS).

From 2019, the training is current for 6 months and applications for accreditation must be submitted in BAAS within 6 months of completing the training.

An application for assessor accreditation is to be made by submitting a completed and compiled application form.

Download the application form (DOC 117KB).

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 will be required to be paid on submission of your application.

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

Fees are paid via BAAS portal.

See the list of current fees.

Required skills, experience and qualifications

The accredited person's experience and qualifications listed below provide guidance to the type of skills that are required for accreditation.

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 
  • such other qualifications as 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, being experience that includes: 

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. This figure is based on experience of previous assessors. 

Note: There will also be continuing professional development requirements for assessors to carrying out a similar level of field work to maintain their botanical skills once accredited.

The Department has developed an online portal (BAAS) to support the Accreditation Application process, including fee payments. It is also the gateway to the version of Biodiversity Offsets and Agreement Management System (BOAMS) and the credit calculator only accessible by accredited assessors (once they have completed the accreditation process).

The Department will email successful course participants the link for the registration page during the two week period after the completion of a course. Assessor applicants will use the portal to upload application documents, pay fees and track the status of their application.

People interested in undertaking accredited assessor training should submit an Expression of Interest with the training provider.

The training provider will tell you when training courses are being offered.

Training is competency based, with assessment tasks to be completed prior to and during the course. People undertaking the training 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.

More information is available from the training provider Muddy Boots.

We're aware that many companies undertake biodiversity assessments in project teams. This means that there are times where the accredited person who prepares and submits the BAR for a particular project is unlikely to do all the ecological assessment and writing of the BAR.

If an accredited person is working within a project team or using information required by the BAM that was gathered or prepared by another person, the accredited person must:

  • be accountable for correctly applying the BAM and preparing the BAR
  • ensure staff and contractors operating under their direction have adequate skills and knowledge to undertake the field work accurately and in accordance with the BAM 
  • have knowledge and skills (pre-requisite and BAM-training skill competency) required to provide quality control, confirm validity and accuracy of all information used in the assessment, oversee preparation and sign-off on this work 
  • operate within the code of conduct 
  • acknowledge the roles of support team members in the preparation of a BAM report and include it in the BAR write up.

To help ensure the quality of work carried out by non-accredited staff and contractors, the Department recommends they attend the Muddy Boots BAM Field Skills training course.

The Assessor Code of Conduct includes a specific obligation that an assessor 'must not act in circumstances where there is actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest.'

(Note the code of conduct is found in part 3 of the application form (DOC 117KB).)

In deciding if there is any conflict of interest, the following sorts of questions can be asked:

  • Will I or anyone I am associated with benefit from or be detrimentally affected by me carrying out a project?
  • Could there be benefits in future that could influence my objectivity? This could include things like earning capacity, future employment, and gains to friends or associates.
  • Do I have debts to any of the parties or associates of the parties, or commitments to parties?
  • Could association involve a conflict of the interest of one client I have with another client I have?

Managing conflict of interest

It’s important to remember that a conflict of interest does not indicate impropriety. But it does have to be managed.

Accredited assessors must follow the code of conduct. Accredited assessors are responsible for managing any conflicts of interest.

There are strategies for managing conflicts of interest, for example:

  • full disclosure to clients and approving authorities
  • ‘separation of duties’
  • contracting an independent third party to review or complete parts of the work.

It is recommended that a section addressing any conflicts of interest be added to BAM assessment reports.