SWQR COVID-19 UPDATE 23/03/2020
COVID-19 Impact upon Street Works Qualifications Register (SWQR)
We are aware of the increasing difficulties Street Works Operatives and Supervisors are experiencing in renewing Street Works cards owing to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak related closures of assessment centres and other parts of the Street Works accreditation system.
The Street Works Qualifications Register (SWQR) has sought advice from Department for Transport (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) and Transport Scotland. In line with this, the following JAG (UK) statement was issued to all Street Authorities earlier this week:
“It is essential that Street Works do not stop entirely, and some cards will lapse through no fault of the holders. We are, therefore, writing to ask that Street Authorities bear this in mind with regards to card enforcement policy for the next six months or so.
The Department of Transport is aware of this note.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Transport Scotland are consulting with RAUC (Scotland) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Any further guidance provided will be communicated separately to all Awarding Organisations and centres and will appear on the SWQR webpage www.SWQR.org.uk when it becomes available.
SRWC (Angus Carmichael) circulated the following to RAUC(S) members on 19 March 2020:
“As it is essential that road works are allowed to continue, I am writing to ask that road authorities apply a degree of discretion in respect of their card enforcement policy. Clearly, I am not requesting that you accept cards which lapsed some time ago, but more recently and over the next few months.”
To ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff, SWQR has taken contingency measures which has resulted in many of our employees working away from the office. This will impact upon the services we provide in the following way:
The time allowed for card production will increase, and production may eventually cease, impacting on our Service Level Agreement.
In line with the JAG statement issued, SWQR will provide an exemption over the next 6 months to card holders where their card has expired between Tuesday 17 March 2020 and Thursday 17 September 2020.
Candidates in England and Scotland will have the opportunity to re-assess up to 5 years after their card expiry date. However, any candidate outwith this period who have been unable to renew their card due to assessment centre and/or awarding organisation closures during this period, must notify the SWQR in writing and undertake the relevant assessment to renew their card at the earliest possible opportunity.
Please note that we will be unable to consider any card renewal delays for expired cards after Thursday 17 September 2020.
The website will be used as the key method of communicating with all SWQR stakeholders. We will provide regular updates to inform all stakeholders of our current status and service provision.
Our standard telephone support and enquiry service will cease as of Friday 20 March 2020. All enquiries will be dealt with via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide a response as quickly as possible.
We will temporarily be suspending sending backing sheets with invoices. We will resume our normal service of sending both as soon as possible.
We appreciate your support and understanding as we take these steps to protect our staff and make our best efforts to deliver our services.
We hope you, your colleagues and families all remain safe and well during these exceptionally difficult times.