There are a number of ways that legislation and policy can enable or require the use of qualified persons (QP). For example, legislation may specifically require the use of a QP, or it may enable a government official to require the use of a QP. Requirements to use a QP may also be placed in plans, or in tenure conditions.

Types of mechanisms

The requirement to use a qualified person may be general, or may only be triggered by certain circumstances.  The use of a QP may be enabled at a particular stage in a project life cycle.  The choice of how to enable the use of a QP will depend on the nature of the activity and function being considered. 

  • This diagram shows some of the different enabling mechanisms used at different stages in a project life cycle.  

Outcome-based and prescriptive approaches to guidance

The qualified persons framework (QP framework) includes “guidance” as an essential component. Government, or another organization, must provide sufficient guidance to qualified persons for them to be able to conduct their work within, or work toward, parameters that reflect government and project goals, good practice and the public interest. This can be done either by establishing the desired outcomes that the resource user is to achieve, or prescribing standards or procedures for how the qualified person conducts their work. The former approach provides guidance in the form of specifying what is to be achieved (an objective or a standard), and allows latitude for the resource user and QP to determine how to achieve the outcome. The latter focuses on how to conduct the function and provides guidance in the form of best practices, prescribed methodology or something similar. 

  • This diagram shows the roles of government and QPs in prescriptive and outcome-based regimes

Mechanisms and the qualified persons framework

Legal and policy mechanisms can also support the QP framework components of competency and accountability.

For competency, there will usually be a legal foundation for determining the qualifications of a particular type of qualified person. Legislation may directly specify what the qualifications are for a particular qualified person, or may be more indirect such as establishing a self-regulating professional association which then determines what qualifications are needed for work within their area of practice.

For accountability, legislation may be used to establish a professional association having the responsibility for holding its members accountable or, in the case of accredited practitioners, may rely more on government compliance and enforcement measures, and suspension of the accreditation where it is issued by government.