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CPCS Update 184

Demonstration of practical operating ability and Introduction of the CPCS Advanced On Site Assessment

Early in 2020 it was announced that as part of the Agreement with the CPCS Management Committee, CPCS were to introduce a practical element to form part of the requirements to allow CPCS Testers to prove operating ability prior to renewing their CPCS Tester cards.

2020 has been a strange year to say the least and it was planned to hold regional meetings prior to the introduction of the revised renewal requirements to be able to introduce it properly and provide answers to the many questions which will be posed. But due to the Covid-19 Pandemic the introduction of the practical element was delayed until the 4th of January 2021. Due to the issues relating to COVID-19, a 2 year temporary card was made available for those testers whose cards expired during 2020.

From January 2021

The following is the full requirements required to be completed in order to renew a CPCS Tester Card after the 4th January 2021:

  • Hold a CPCS Full Tester Card which is within 12 months of the expiry date.
  • Hold valid in date First Aid certificate.
  • Hold one of the following Health & Safety Qualifications:
  • NEBOSH Construction Certificate within 5years
  • NEBOSH Construction Certificate with IOSH Membership (Tech IOSH Level Membership as a minimum) if older than 5years
  • Site Managers Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
  • Managing and Co-ordinating Plant (MCP) with Refresher were applicable
  • IOSH Managing Safely (within 5years)
  • Level 5 or 6 H&S Qualification accompanied with an in date CSCS card stating the following occupation routes:
  • Construction Health and Safety Manager (with Minimum Tech IOSH Membership)
  • Construction Health and Safety Senior Manager (with Minimum Tech IOSH Membership)

Demonstrate Practical operating ability for the categories held on the CPCS Tester Card. - This can be evidenced by either of the following options:

  • Hold a Valid CPCS Competent Operator Card for the categories held on the tester card or have undertaken an Advanced Technical Test for a category within the last 5 years.
  • Complete and achieve the Advanced on Site Assessment (AOSA) for all categories held on the CPCS Tester Card.

What is the Advanced On Site Assessment (AOSA)?

As testers who hold a Valid CPCS Competent Operator card can use this to demonstrate practical operating ability as part of the renewal process, it would be unreasonable to ask those without this card to undertake a more rigorous process to demonstrate operating ability. Therefore, as the standard On Site Assessment (OSA) can be used to renew the Competent Operator card in lieu of a Logbook, then the same can be used by testers who do not hold a CPCS Competent Operator card.

The AOSA has been developed based on the same content as the standard OSA but does allow some differences in delivery such as the inclusion of a professional discussion element for the activities which cannot be undertaken due to operational restrictions. For use when assessing Off Centre Categories, such as elements within Piling Operations.

For all On Centre categories, it is expected that all elements of the AOSA can be undertaken, so no professional discussions will be allowed for these categories. For example, the Forward Tipping Dumper etc.

The advanced on site assessment are available via the Revision Support Documents page of the NOCN Job Cards web site - Revision Support Documents - NOCN Job Cards

Notification of the AOSA

The AOSA’s are notified in the same manner as the standard OSA using the Test Centre Management System, using the same timings. Centres will only be able to notify AOSA for the categories they are accredited to deliver.

Quality Assurance

Your sector EQA does not need to be notified as the TCM system informs the EQA of all tests being delivered within that sector. The EQA may decide to observe the delivery of the assessment or make a request that the assessment is visually recorded to allow quality assurance to be completed at a later date.

What are the costs?

The AOSA will be charged at the same notification rate as a standard practical test or OSA which is £28 and does not include the cost to produce the card which will be chargeable at the point of submitting the application form to renew the tester card.

How to identify which AOSA are required

As part of the agreement with CPCS Management Committee (MC), concessions have been agreed to reduce the number of AOSA that need to be undertaken in order to demonstrate the required level of practical operating ability to renew their cards.

The concessions are in line with those agreed within the Renewal Test tool, which identify the required Renewal Theory Tests to be undertaken as part of the renewal process for the CPCS Competent Operator Card. In order to reduce the number of theories required, the renewal test tool combines plant categories which are similar in operation or grouped within occupational groupings such as Excavating and Extracting.

For example: if a tester holds A10, A12, A58 & A59 then only the AOSA for the A59 will be required to be undertaken.

To identify the AOSA required, please refer to the following documents located in the Revision Support Documents page of the NOCN Job Cards web site - Revision Support Documents - NOCN Job Cards

· Working Instructions for the Groupings and Concessions for the AOSA

· AOSA Groupings and Concessions

What do I do if I have A68 plant driving?

A concession has been agreed that if you hold the category A68 then as long as the remaining categories have been either renewed on your CPCS Competent Operator Card or the relevant AOSA has been competed this category will automatically be re awarded.

Which AOSA do I do if I hold a A61 Appointed Person?

When it is identified that you require to undertake the A61 AOSA there is a corresponding A61 AOSA but this is based upon the Technical Test / competence renewal Assessment which will be required to be completed by the tester and either the employer or a tester who holds the A61 category.


If you hold the A77, this is seen as the senior of the groupings titled Lift Trucks, this means that should you hold A14, A15, A16, A17, A18 & A77 or any of this group and A77 then only the AOSA for A77 has to be undertaken.

Who can deliver?

Any tester who has a valid CPCS tester Card for the required AOSA can undertake the delivery of the AOSA.

How is the AOSA delivered?

The AOSA is delivered exactly the same as the OSA, with the expectation that any CPCS categories which are delivered on Centre are done so with the AOSA. When undertaking an off centre category, if an element of the assessment cannot be undertaken then it is allowed the candidate and tester should undertake a professional discussion (PD).

The PD should cover the criteria detailed in the sections titled Activity and Additional standards required in the AOSA form.

Should a PD be required to take place, then this should be recorded using the script which will be available on the Revision Support Documents on the NOCN website and in the CPCS ACOD when this is updated early in 2021. Also, comments should be written in the comments section confirming that the element has been recorded and that the standard has been met or not met.

What's the duration?

The duration for an AOSA is set at 40mins on the TCMS which is the same for the OSA, centres are asked to be aware that on occasion the AOSA may take longer than the system allows for and consideration is to be made taking into account the needs of the tester and candidate.

What happens if I don't achieve the AOSA?

Should the situation arise that a candidate does not meet the standard required to achieve the AOSA, then the candidate will be allowed to retake the assessment following a period of training. Should the candidate not be successful on the second attempt then the candidate will be required to undertake a full CPCS Advanced Technical Test, Theory and Practical to be able to retain the category on their CPCS Tester Card.

How long are the AOSA valid for?

As with the other CPCS Technical tests the AOSA will be valid for two years, allowing testers to spread the costs etc. to be able to undertake all the required AOSA prior to renewing their card.

Tester CPD course

Please note we are current;y reviewing the CPCS Tester CPD Course. Therefore, until such times as the review has been completed this will not be a requirement to renew your tester card. 

NOTE - The CPCS Scheme Booklet for Testers is due to be updated to reflect these changes in January 2021

Should Test Centres or Testers have any questions regarding the Advanced On Site Assessment, please email