What Is SSIP and What Are the Benefits of Accreditation?

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: June 24, 2024
  • Updated On: June 24, 2024

Buyer-based organisations request suppliers — or contractors — to demonstrate competence in health and safety before undertaking any work. Buyers will often request contractors to satisfy specific health and safety schemes, which creates a problem: the need for contractors to undergo multiple assessments, resulting in filing duplicate paperwork and incurring substantial costs.

Fortunately, there is a solution: Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP).

SSIP is a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) endorsed risk management framework that simplifies prequalification by combining multiple health and safety schemes into a single certification and ensuring mutual recognition among member schemes.

In practice, a contractor can obtain an SSIP accreditation and fulfil the criteria for all member schemes, streamlining the procurement process, reducing the administrative burden and eliminating additional fees.

How Was SSIP Developed?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, or CDM, have undergone multiple revisions since its introduction in 1994. The latest iteration, approved in 2015 — made substantial changes, particularly regarding the duty holders involved in construction projects and the responsibilities of those individuals. However, the 2007 CDM regulations introduced the Stage 1 Core Criteria for health and safety competence and created the opportunity for separate prequalification schemes to support mutual recognition.

SSIP emerged in 2009 from the Accelerating the SME economic engine through transparent, simple and strategic procurement report published by the UK Government. The report did not mention SSIP by name, but among its various recommendations was that procurers should ensure a flexible approach when relying on a particular accreditation scheme or standard and that businesses should be allowed to “provide evidence that they can meet the contract requirements by reference to other similar equivalent accreditations or standards they may already hold.”

Who Is SSIP for and What Are the Benefits?

Only contractors can acquire SSIP certification, but its value extends to individuals and companies across the supply chain.

For businesses, SSIP streamlines the contractor selection process. SSIP-accredited contractors demonstrate they comply with the most stringent health and safety standards, giving companies peace of mind and protection while eliminating the time and cost of repetitive safety assessments.

Contractors with SSIP certification benefit from enhanced credibility, trustworthiness and marketability. They also enjoy access to more projects, as many buyers highlight SSIP as a prerequisite for bidding on tenders. In any case, the reduced administration of satisfying new health and safety schemes is a boon to businesses bidding for multiple contracts simultaneously.

The SSIP Accreditation Process

The process of gaining SSIP accreditation is designed to be as straightforward as possible for contractors, comprising three steps:

  1. Complete a self-assessment of your health and safety policies and procedures.
  2. Submit your self-assessment to an SSIP member scheme.
  3. Receive accreditation once your compliance is vigorously verified against SSIP standards.

The SSIP standards contractors must comply with derive from the SSIP Core Criteria. There are 15 criteria, with 12 applicable to all organisations, including:

  • Health and Safety policy and organisation for Health and Safety: Companies must implement a health and safety policy relevant to the nature and scale of their work that sets out responsibilities for managing health and safety across the organisation.
  • Arrangements: Organisations must set out the arrangements for managing health and safety, including how duties are discharged in line with current legislation and how such arrangements are communicated to workers. Companies must also verify if drug and alcohol policies, behavioural management programmes and mental health and employee wellbeing arrangements are in place, with copies of relevant policies and arrangements to be submitted as evidence if they are not in the company’s core health and safety policy.
  • Competent advice – corporate and construction-related: Organisations must have access to health and safety advice, either via the HSE or a trade body membership, an internal source or a health and safety consultancy. If the advice source is a member of staff or consultancy, evidence must be provided of their competence.
  • Training and information: Businesses must implement training arrangements to ensure employees have the necessary skills and understanding to perform their duties — these duties extend to the responsibilities held by contractors and designers under the CDM. Evidence supporting this criterion may include training records or copies of training certificates.

Upon meeting the required standards and demonstrating compliance, SSIP certification is valid for 12 months, after which the company must be reassessed to maintain its SSIP status. This renewal process ensures organisations continually comply with health and safety standards and reinforces their commitment to creating a safe working environment.

Meeting the SSIP Core Criteria may prove challenging for businesses without a comprehensively developed health and safety culture. These organisations must invest time and money into consultancy, training and policy development. However, the

long-term benefits and access to a bigger contract pool, combined with SSIP poised to become even more embedded in the procurement landscape, make it a worthwhile — and, arguably, essential — investment.

Contractors can gain SSIP accreditation via a member scheme, indicated by the SSIP logo on a scheme’s website. Some member schemes offer additional benefits, such as trade discounts, free support and software trials.

Author: Alex Minett

Link to Author Image: LinkedIn: Alex Minett

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.