What is a Competent Person?

A Competent Person is defined as a “person, suitably trained and qualified by knowledge and practical experience, and provided with the necessary instructions, to enable the required work to be carried out safely”.

The specific role, responsibilities and definition for a Competent Person varies with the context of the environment that the person works within, for instance; health & safety, building services, and healthcare estates.

The Competent Person is required to carry out work assigned to them by an Authorised Person.

How do I become a Competent Person?

In the broadest sense a Competent Person requires: -

  • training in the knowledge and skills required to carry out a Competent Person’s tasks 
  • supervised experience in the workplace employing the skills and knowledge in practice
  • to be formally assessed in the work place and authorised as competent by a suitably authorised person
  • regular refresher training and assessment in the skills and knowledge, including on any new or updated regulations and guidance

Competent Person training may be carried out in the workplace or with a third-party training company.

Eastwood Park Training is uniquely placed to provide Competent Person training, with expert trainers who impart the necessary knowledge and skills to learners, either at our purpose-built training centre, or at a customer's premises.

Since 1969 when Eastwood Park estate was acquired by the Department of Health and Social Security and was established as the Hospital Engineering Centre to the present day, Eastwood Park (now a privately owned company) has delivering residential training for National Health Service engineering staff, and also to commercial engineers (link to the history page). Eastwood Park is unique in having on-site practical training facilities covering multiple disciplines and building services all in one place, giving trainees a safe and effective environment for hands-on practical training with no risk to patients. Eastwood Park trains Competent Persons in a range of disciplines where healthcare roles involve contact with substances, or situations, with health risks.

The definitions of a Competent Person for various disciplines from within Health Technical Memorandum or other relevant guidance are listed below.

Competent Person (MGPS)

Medical Gas Competent Person training - HTM 02-01: Medical gas pipeline systems Part B: Operational management

4.40 The Competent Person (MGPS) is the person who carries out the installation and/or maintenance work on the MGPS. A list of his/her responsibilities and duties is set out in paragraph 6.92. The Competent Person (MGPS) should have received appropriate training and should be on a list of Competent Persons (MGPS). In the case of directly employed labour, this list should be held by the Authorised Person (MGPS); in the case of contracted labour, it should be held by the contractor’s Authorised Person (MGPS) or project manager. Assessment of competency of the Competent Person (MGPS)

4.41 The Competent Person (MGPS) may be a member of a specialist contractor’s staff or of the estates department.

4.42 Competent Persons (MGPS) must be able to demonstrate skills in MGPS maintenance and/or installation in accordance with nationally accredited guidelines.

4.43 Where the Competent Person (MGPS) is a member of the estates department, the Authorised Person (MGPS) is responsible for assessing the competency of the Competent Person (MGPS) with respect to work on the MGPS.

4.44 Where Competent Persons (MGPS) are members of a contractor’s staff, the contractor is responsible for assessing the competence of those staff and maintaining a register of Competent Persons (MGPS).

Note The Competent Person as defined in the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 is not the same person as the Competent Person (MGPS) defined in this Health Technical Memorandum. The former is a chartered engineer responsible for drawing up a written scheme of examination for the system. The latter is the person who will carry out installation, maintenance or modifications.

Competent Person (Ventilation)

Competent Person (Ventilation) training – HTM 03-01 Specialised ventilation for healthcare premises Part B: The management, operation, maintenance and routine testing of existing healthcare ventilation systems

2.10 The CP(V) is defined as a person designated by Management to carry out maintenance and periodic testing of ventilation systems.

Competent Person (Fire)

Fire safety Competent Person (installation and maintenance) training - HTM 05-01: Managing healthcare fire safety

Competent Person (Fire): a person who can provide skilled installation and/or maintenance of fire-related services (both passive and active fire safety systems).

Fire safety Competent Person (statutory and firecode provisions) training - HTM 05-02: Firecode Guidance in support of functional provisions (Fire safety in the design of healthcare premises)

A person recognised as having sufficient technical training and actual experience, or technical knowledge and other qualities both to understand fully the dangers involved, and to undertake properly the statutory and Firecode provisions referred to in this Health Technical Memorandum.

Competent Person (Electrical)

Electrical (LV) Competent Person training - HTM 06-02: Electrical safety guidance for low voltage systems

2.7 A Competent Person (LV) is approved and appointed in writing by an Authorised Person (LV) for defined work, possessing the necessary technical knowledge, skill and experience relevant to the nature of the work to be undertaken, who is able to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury, and who is able to accept a permit-to-work from an Authorised Person (LV).

Electrical (HV) Competent Person training - HTM 06-03: Electrical safety guidance for high voltage systems

2.8 A Competent Person (HV) is approved and appointed in writing by the Duty Authorised Person (HV) for defined work, possessing the necessary technical knowledge, skill and experience relevant to the nature of the work to be undertaken, who is able to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury and who is able to accept a safety document from the Duty Authorised Person (HV).

Competent Person (Lifts)

Lifts Competent Person training - HTM 08-02: Lifts

2.22 A Competent Person (Lifts) is a person, suitably trained and qualified by knowledge and practical experience, and provided with the necessary instructions to enable the required work to be carried out safely (from BS 7255).

2.23 It is unlikely that healthcare staff will have the necessary practical experience and theoretical knowledge to carry out this role, and it would normally be carried out by a specialist contractor.  Specialist contractors appointed by management should only use trained and competent persons to carry out the maintenance of lifts. If this person is to carry out electrical work on lifts, they may also need to be authorised to carry out this work by an Authorised Person (Electrical).

Competent Person (Medical Devices)

Although there is no specific role of a Competent Person applicable to medical equipment, awareness that Health & Safety Law places a responsibility on employers should not be overlooked.

Medical equipment training - Managing Medical Devices (Jan 2021)

8.4 Health and safety law require employers to ensure employees are adequately trained. All service staff should be adequately trained and competent on devices and have sufficient work experience of the devices they repair and maintain.

Those without adequate training should not be allowed, nor should they attempt, to repair or maintain medical devices and equipment.

All those undertaking repair and maintenance should be able to produce written evidence of appropriate and up-to-date training, preferably as part of the documentation required by a quality management system. They should also be able to show that they are up to date on new maintenance techniques, consistent with the devices they are servicing.