The National Highways Sector Scheme 12 (NHSS12) is a certification scheme that sets out the quality assurance expectations which includes the requirements for the training and certification of personnel involved in temporary traffic management works on the majority of the UK highway network. This scheme not only includes the route(s) to achieving the qualification(s), but also details the parameters for maintaining those of workers in this field, which in some instances offer a grace period for renewing a qualification, post expiry date.
The renewal process in general, is designed to ensure that workers stay up to date with the latest developments in traffic management and maintain their industry qualifications. The post expiry grace period for renewal of certain skills is a feature of the NHSS12 scheme, and is often an aspect subject to a lot of misinterpretation or misunderstanding. It recognises that individuals may face challenges in completing the renewal process within the strict time frame and allows for a degree of flexibility in meeting these requirements, and is applicable to those who are fully qualified i.e. qualifications with a 5 year validity period, and are registered as ‘Skilled Workers’, (with the exception of the NHSS12d M7, for which the grace period does NOT apply). It provides them with a period of time after their qualification(s) expire, to complete the necessary training in order to renew the qualification(s) without having to begin the route to qualification from the very start. This grace period is six months from the expiry date, and not a day over. If a qualification is not renewed within the grace period, the qualification will be lost, and dispensations outside of the grace period are NO longer available under any circumstances. ‘Trainee’ level qualifications do not fall within the permissions of the post expiry grace period.
During the grace period, workers are NOT permitted to carry out their duties using the expired qualification(s) as those qualifications will NOT be valid, but rather, rendered dormant due to them having expired. Furthermore, if the expired qualification is a prerequisite of any other qualification(s), e.g. M2 is a prerequisite for M3/M4/M5, then the subsequent qualifications, whilst they may be still in date, will also be rendered dormant and will NOT be valid until such time the prerequisite qualification is renewed (with the exception of the 12ab IPV Live Lanes qualification and 12a TSCO Full qualification. The 12ab IPV Live Lanes qualification remains valid if the 12ab Operative Course or 12ab skilled worker qualification expires, and also the 12a TSCO Full qualification remains valid if the H&S and First Aid at Work expire).
As always, best practice is to be organised and renew qualifications in a timely manner, whilst they are still in date. The sector scheme allows learners to renew a qualification at any time during its validity. However, if done so within the 6 months leading up to the expiry date, the qualification will be renewed from the expiry date, meaning that the learner is NOT penalised by losing any time holding the skill, for renewing early. Information on the route(s) to qualification and the renewing skills can be found on the Up To Speed NHSS12 Qualifications Attainment Flowchart