Desktop Assessments: Essential Info


What are Desktop Assessments?


The Desktop Assessments (DTAs) are one of the BSS Office’s Quality Assurance measures.  The main aim is to support BSS Examiners in carrying out Examinations consistently and in line with the Examination Checking Procedures (ECPs) and other BSS guidance/instructions/directions.  They are an activity involving consultant Quality Assurance Assessors, administering contractors and/ or BSS Office staff.

DTAs help Examiners to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and help the BSS Office Team with their ongoing improvement measures, such as improving Examiner training and/or upgrading BSS support material, etc.

The DTA will focus on:

1.       your use of a checklist during Examinations

2.       how you report Examination outcomes to boat owners (your customers)

3.       your recording of Examinations on the BSS Database (Salesforce)

4.       your record keeping. 

However, the Assessor will also review your understanding of the ECP Requirements through how you report non-compliant Checks to boat owners (or their representative) and on the BSS Database (Salesforce).


How often will I have a Desktop Assessment?


It is the BSS Managers wish that all Examiners will participate in a DTA approximately once a year, although the frequency may vary depending on how many Examinations an Examiner undertakes each year and other factors (such as outputs from other BSS Office Quality Assurance measures).


Do I have to pay for the Desktop Assessment?


No, there are no additional fees for participating in an Assessment as DTAs are provided by the BSS Office as part of our in-house Examiner support and Quality Assurance measures.

Examiners have to cover their own costs in participating in all BSS Quality Assurance processes of which a Desktop Assessment is one. 


How will the three boats be chosen that I’m asked to submit documentation for?


The Assessor will choose the 3 boats based on a number of factors including boats/Examinations where:

-      there was a ‘Yes, but some Advice Checks did not pass’ Examination outcome, and/or

-      there was a ‘No’ Examination outcome, and/or

-      a Warning Notice was issued.


How much time will I have to allocate for the Desktop Assessments?


This is a difficult question to answer as for the most part it will depend on how efficiently you can retrieve the Examination documents from your files requested by the Assessor.

You should allow up to one and a half hours for the feedback meeting, but many meetings are significantly shorter than this.


How long can I expect the Desktop Assessment process to take?


It is difficult to say exactly how long the DTA process will go on for, but you and the Assessor are asked to complete each step within a set number of days, although this can be subject to change under certain circumstances.

Following receipt of the initial email you are asked to have provided your documentation to the Assessor within 14 days.

The Assessor will confirm receipt of your documents and will endeavour to have completed their assessment within 14 days. If further details or documents are required, you will be contacted and asked to provide such items. They will then make contact to arrange a feedback meeting.  

Once you’ve had the feedback meeting  the Assessor will write their report and submit this to the BSS office. The office will endeavour to send you a final report within 14 days of your feedback meeting.


What happens if I have a concern regarding the assigned Assessor or the start time for the DTA?


Don’t delay, get in touch with the Assessor or the BSS Office Team (as appropriate) immediately you realise there might be a problem.

It’s your responsibility to also help make the assessment process work and that includes reporting any concerns or predicaments ahead of time.


How will I know the Assessor has received my documentation for the 3 boats?


The Assessor will contact you to let you know the required documentation has been received.

The preferred method to send your documents is by email in the form of one single PDF file for each boat selected. One way of achieving this is scanning your documents using the Adobe Scan app, which is available for free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Alternatively, if this method is not possible then you can send them to the Assessor by post. You will need to contact the Assessor to obtain their postal address. If you send your documents by post, the Assessor will make copies and send the originals back to you.


Should I send my customer’s name and contact information to the Assessor?


No, you should not send any personal information to the Assessor.  Remember, your business arrangements with your customers are covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

When submitting Section 1 (Boat details and customer contact information) of the BSS Examination Record Form to the Assessor, and/or any other documents with personal customer information recorded upon it, you should blank out the personal customer contact information.


What will the Assessor be reviewing during the Desktop Assessment?


The Assessor will undertake a review of your submitted documents and your use of the BSS Database.

The Assessor will review your records against the following questions:

  • Are the relative number of ‘Yes’, ‘Yes, but..’ and ‘No’ Examination results comparable with those of the Examiner population as a whole?
  • Are ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes, but..’ Examination results being recorded on the Database within the required time period?
  • Are fault comments being added to the Database for ‘Yes, but..’ Examinations?
  • Are fault comments being added to the Database for ‘No’ Examinations?
  • Is the ‘Boat details’ section on the Database being completed appropriately for each boat/Examination?
  • Are BSS Warning Notices being issued and recorded against the correct non-compliant ‘trigger’ Checks?
  • Are Examination fault comments at Check 8.9.1 in line with the guidance set out in BSS online training module Professional Practice 1b?
  • Are general Examination fault comments (excluding Check 8.9.1) in line with the guidance set out in BSS online training module Professional Practice 1b?
  • Is Section 1 of the BSS Examination Record Form being completed correctly?
  • Is Section 2 of the BSS Examination Record Form being completed correctly?
  • Is Section 3 of the BSS Examination Record Form being completed correctly?
  • Where used, is the Customer Report Form being completed correctly?
  • Where used, is the Database Appliance Record being completed correctly?
  • Are BSS CO awareness leaflets being issued and recorded correctly?

The Assessor may also provide feedback regarding any other Examination or recording procedures as discovered during the course of the DTA.


What happens if the relationship between the Examiner and the Assessor breaks down during the Desktop Assessment?


If the situation cannot be retrieved the Assessor will terminate the DTA and report the circumstances to a BSS Manager who will consider what action can be taken to ensure you have another DTA opportunity under different circumstances.


What happens to the Assessor’s feedback report?


The Assessor’s feedback report will be used by the BSS Office in two main ways:

1.      To evaluate whether you are conducting Examinations in line with the Examination Checking Procedures (ECP), Examiner Conditions of Registration and other BSS guidance/instructions/directions.  In cases where Examiners are found not to be performing correctly the BSS office will evaluate whether other Quality Assurance measures such as a Field Assessment,  Personnel Improvement Plan (PIP) or further improvement measures such as training would be appropriate.

2.       To develop and implement Examiner-wide improvement measures.  For example, if a particular Check List Item is routinely misapplied by Examiners the BSS Office will review the ECP, Examiner training material, and BSS Office support material, and then alter these accordingly to improve Examiners’ knowledge and understanding.