The Future of Competency

As I write this we have just launched iPassport v3.3.4. This adds text answers to competency tests (previously it was only possible to ask a question which required a multiple choice answer). These text answers are then graded by an examiner.

This seems like a good opportunity to introduce you to our vision for the Competency area of the system.

Hopefully you are aware of iPassport’s Skilled Groups feature. This allows a set of users to be assigned to a number of documents. Skilled Groups are really useful for ensuring that all staff members in a particular role have read all the appropriate documents. When a staff member moves into a new role, simply add them to the appropriate skilled group(s) and they’ll receive tasks requiring them to read all necessary documents. If you are not yet using Skilled Groups I’d definitely recommend you take a look at the user guide.

Right now skilled groups only link users with documents. This is an area we are looking to expand over the next year.

We want you to be able to clearly define what it means to be competent in a particular role.

In order to be classed as competent staff may have to:

  • Read documents
  • Pass tests
  • Hold (up-to-date) qualifications
  • Pass assessments

iPassport’s Assessments feature will expand on our competency tests functionality. Rather than asking a staff member to answer a quiz themselves, an assessor will review the staff member’s work (e.g. direct observation of test performance, monitoring the recording and reporting of test results, direct observations of performance of instrument maintenance and function checks etc) and then complete an assessment, which determines whether that member of staff has passed or failed.

We also have plans to introduce a preference option whereby a member of staff is required to sit a competency quiz upon acknowledging the content of a document via a skilled task. When a member of staff says ‘Yes I have read that document’ you will be able to test them and unless they pass they won’t be marked as skilled.

We’re going to make it easy for you to identify where skills are missing, chase them up and demonstrate competency to an auditor.

We’re really excited about what’s in store for Skilled Groups and Competency. If you have any comments or suggestions we’d love to hear them at

All the best,