A day in the life of an AWS assessor is in fact three or at least part of, but more on that later.
There are six assessors appointed by the AWS, and we cover the whole UK. Although independent, each of us manage the assessment process in very much the same way. We all have a wealth of diverse technical engineering experience, spanning decades. In my case it’s special vehicle design and construction, vehicle service and maintenance, accident damage repair and motor insurance claims assessment, along with some motoring journalism and broadcasting thrown in.
I’ve been with the AWS for almost ten years and I still enjoy it very much. I meet some great people and see some wonderful English countryside. One question I’m asked perhaps more than most by AWS members and the public I meet at the Leisure shows and elsewhere is “why is an annual assessment important”. My reply, in short, is. “The assessment is there to ensure that recognised standards and safety practices are continuously maintained. To preserve the integrity of the Approved Workshop Scheme and for the caravan and motorhome owners to have faith in the people who they intrust to service their leisure vehicle.
As I’ve previously mentioned an assessment is completed over three separate days in three phases. The first phase is to make contact by phone or email to the member to agree a date and time for the review to be carried out, which could be up to a month further down the line and for some mobile members that could also be the visit location as well.
Once agreed, I contact a second and third member in the same geographical area and attempt to agree a later time on the same day for their annual review. Bearing in mind that each meeting will take from one and a half hours up to three, dependent on whether the assessment is an application or an annual.
I follow up the initial contact with the member with an email to confirm the time and date and detail the structure of the assessment visit and what I need to view and discuss on the day.
The assessment day itself, phase two, usually involves an early start and some travelling to the three separate locations which can be a round trip of up to 250 miles. At a fixed site the assessment is in most cases carried out with the workshop manager and with a mobile it’s the owner member, but the format is very similar.
There are a series of in-depth questions which we go through, taken from an assessment form provided by the AWS. These questions are graded according to membership compliance. There is also a close visual inspection of a number of past customer habitational service schedules and damp reports to ensure completion accuracy (GDPR rules are observed, and no private information is taken away), along with the Calibration certificates of all the measurement tools used in the service, as well as the workshop premises or mobile workshop vehicle.
Finally, phase three, is the downloading of the hard copy of the completed assessment report details on to the AWS assessor’s webpage. This will take up to forty-five minutes per assessment and is mostly carried out the day after the assessment visit.
From this the AWS management can ascertain the grading of the member to confirm full compliance. If there are any issues that may need addressing the management will make immediate contact the member directly and advise them of any action needed. If workshops do not take the measures required to regain full compliance within a given time frame they risk suspension pending termination from the scheme.
Independent Assessor for the AWS.