In this post I thought that we could look at some good practices with regards to the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management project (known as NDEM2). For this assessment NEBOSH require you to review and critic an organisations environmental management system (EMS). The assignment is required to be approximately 8000 words and must be submitted to NEBOSH electronically. The pass mark is 50%.
Although what NEBOSH requires sounds relatively straight forward to interpret, in practice there is a very specific format with regards to issues that are required to be covered. Therefore, one of the first things you MUST do is to download and thoroughly read the NDEM2 assignment guidance and information for candidate’s publication which is available for free on the NEBOSH website. I will be referring to the publication a fair bit in this post.
The first thing to consider is what organisation you will be using for your project. Ideally this would be your own workplace, or another suitable workplace or part of a workplace if you work at a large organisation. An ideal workplace would be a ‘goldilocks’ one in that it should not be too big, such that it is overly complicated, or not too small such that it will not allow you to collect enough information to complete the report.
After spending a lot of time getting to grips with the guide, I think the best option would be to prepare a questionnaire based on the section that are required to be completed and are discussed in the guide. Carefully work through the guide and write down the key information requirements that NEBOSH require. For example, for the ‘Review and critical analysis of the organisation’s EMS’ NEBOSH provide eight categories of questions that must be answered, for the ‘communication’ category the questions are:
- Does the organisation have a plan on how, what and to whom communications will be sent?
- What issues does the organisation typically communicate on?
- Is there evidence that the communication plan is followed?
Obviously, the above should be a key part of your questionnaire in addition to other information that the guide requires.
Now you have completed your questionnaire you need to develop a plan of how you are going to collect the information. Consider in your plan who you will need to speak to in your organisation, what documents you need to review and what observations that you need to make (for example which parts of the project area will you need to visit). Once completed you will then need collect the information in the way that you have stated in the plan.
Writing the report
At this point you should have all the data you need to get started. Now it is time to put it in the required form and write the report. Quality is certainly better than quantity, so you need to make sure that it meets the required standard.
NEBOSH require that the report consists of the following structure, I have also provided the maximum amount of marks available for each part in brackets
- An executive summary (5).
- An introduction (including background on environmental regulation) (10).
- Review and critical analysis of the organisation’s EMS (40).
- Evaluation of the top three environmental concerns and identification of improvements to be made for each (30).
- Conclusions and recommendations which summarise the main issues identified and lead to justified recommendations (10).
- Bibliography and referencing (0).
- Appendices (0).
An additional 5 marks is available for focus and presentation. The marks available tell us a great deal with regards of the amount and depth of information that is needed.
Start with the introduction. This should clearly state the aims, objectives and methodology of data collection in addition to a description of the organisation and any sensitive receptors nearby such as a conservation area or river. NEBOSH also require that you provide a section on background to regulation. There is very specific guidance on this in the practical guide, so I won’t refer to it here. Don’t write too much for this as it is only worth five marks but do make sure it meets the requirements of the guide.
The next section should be a review and critical analysis of the EMS. This is achieved by providing an answer to all the questions in the eight categories in the guide that I mentioned previously. Make sure that you write in sentences and paragraph. Each question category is worth 5 marks, so don’t write pages and pages on each, but do make sure that you cover them all. This section is very important as it is worth 40% of the marks available overall.
The next phase is to pick three weaknesses from the previous section and consider how they could be improved. For each improvement NEBOSH is very clear in that they want you to consider the following:
- Who will be responsible for implementing the improvements?
- What resources are required?
- Is any training required?
- What are the timescales for improvements?
- How will the effectiveness of the improvements be measured, monitored and reported?
- How will lessons be learnt?
You also need to carry out a cost benefit analysis for each improvement. This does not necessarily have to be quantified. However, you do need to clearly identify what advantages and disadvantages implementing your improvement will bring to the organisation.
The next phase is to complete the conclusion and recommendations. For the conclusion use information from the previous two sections (do not introduce new information at this point). You need to state the strengths and weaknesses that you have discovered and clearly state the moral, legal, and financial reasons as to why the weaknesses should be rectified. You then need to outline some recommendations that are based on the three most important issues that you identified earlier. Make a convincing argument for these by clearly identifying relevant tasks, costings, responsibilities and timescales.
Now, review your report and write the executive summary. This is a summary that should outline the full report not just your key findings.
Now keep checking and improving your draft report until you are reasonably happy with the content. Then insert the appendices at the end and get someone to check it (even if they are a non-specialist).
In this post then we have covered some good practices when it comes to completing your NEBOSH Environment Diploma project. I think with this report planning is key, if you can ensure that you read and understand the NEBOSH guide, collect the correct information, and produce a report to the NEBOSH guidelines, then you should be able to gain a good mark.
John Binns BSc (Hons), MSc, MSc, MIEMA – RRC Lead Tutor Environmental Management