A discussion paper on the accreditation of planners, building certifiers and industry professionals has been released for consultation. Aimed at improving confidence in decision making, the accreditation scheme will be applied to assessment panel members from mid-2019. Other professional accreditation will be introduced in conjunction with new assessment pathways under the PDI Act in 2020.
Minimum standards for accreditation will be established by the scheme with your qualifications and experience determining your accreditation level. While Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) accreditation is referenced strongly, the paper also indicates that regulations will contemplate recognition of other schemes.
It is proposed that there be three main components to the scheme:
- Accrediting Authority –who would assess a person’s skills and qualifications against the minimum requirements and determine the level of accreditation;
- Registering Authority –who will be responsible for managing the public register on the SA Planning Portal; and
- Investigating Authority – an independent arm of government who will be charged with auditing accredited professionals and conducting investigations into serious complaints referred to it by the accrediting authority.
Who will need to be accredited?
It is intended that the following people will need to be accredited:
- Assessment Panel Members (except an elected representative where they have sufficient experience as a member of a panel);
- Assessment Managers (unless of a class prescribed by the Regulations);
- Relevant Authority accredited professionals, acting as a planning authority (unless acting under delegation of an Assessment Manager or Assessment Panel); and
- Land division accredited professionals;
- Building Certifiers (private certifier); and
- Building inspectors.
The existing three levels of building certification under the Development Act 1993 (SA) will be retained. It is proposed that a new building inspector level will be created for building inspections of class 1 or 10 matters undertaken on behalf of a council.
Four new levels of accreditation for planning professionals will be created:
- Level 1 – Assessment Manager;
- Level 2 – Assessment Panel Member;
- Level 3 – Accredited Planning Professional; and
- Level 4 – Land Division Accredited Professional.
The Minister and the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs will be responsible for the scheme which envisages ongoing training and professional development requirements.
Registrations will be valid for one year with the accreditation professional to bear the costs associated with:
- Registration; and
There is no discussion on exactly what those costs will be.
Any person accredited under the scheme will be subject to administrative and technical audits with complaints against a professional to be managed by the investigating authority who will likely be an independent arm of government. The investigating authority will have the power to suspend or cancel accreditation. An appeals process from decisions of the investigating authority will be established.
Importantly, the paper contemplates a change from the current restriction on appeals against decisions of the Minister on registration, suspension, cancellation or conditions imposed on a private certifier. It is proposed that an appeal would lie against a refusal to the accrediting authority and ultimately to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Submissions on the proposed scheme can be made until 30 April 2018.
If you would like assistance preparing a submission in response to the discussion paper, please contact Kathryn Walker or a member of our team.