Become Accredited

 

“Integrated Vegetation Management” (IVM) is the phrase that has been used by the electric utility industry and other allied rights-of-way industries and institutions (such as roadside, railroad and pipeline) to describe the processes and procedures to manage right-of-way (ROW) vegetation. The phrase reflects a systems approach to vegetation management, where a variety of management components – those processes and procedures needed to perform vegetation management – are integrated together to produce desired, sustainable changes in the managed right-of-way. (see resource IVM History)

 

The question arose as to, “how do we know that utility right-of-way managers are following IVM principles and what will it look like when we see it?” As a result, through a multi-year process the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council steering committee drew deeply from IVM principles in the development of Accreditation Standards for Assessing IVM Excellence. The purpose was to provide a baseline for evaluating utility performance with the goal of publicly accrediting those utility right-of-way managers as “Right-of-Way Utility Stewards” based on their meeting or exceeding these standards of excellence. A team of experts in IVM accreditation provides an extensive on-site assessment of prospective utility companies, referred to as “Applicants.”

 

 

The process has four phases:

 

Inquiry: The prospective utility completes a preliminary application (see resources Accreditation Application Form and Auditing Process Detail) and pays the application fee. The utility then participates in a conference call with the program administrator and audit committee chair to discuss process and to estimate costs. Prospective utility is now referred to as “Applicant.”

 

Statement of Work: A lead auditor is assigned and a statement of work (estimate of time, schedule, and cost) is developed after the gap analysis. Applicant participates in a conference call with lead auditor to do a gap analysis of Applicant’s readiness and qualification for a full assessment. Applicant provides lead auditor with any pre-audit documentation requested (see resource Document Submittal Form). Based on statement of work the Applicant determines go/no-go or deferral of full assessment.

 

On-site Assessment: The lead auditor forms an auditing team and coordinates with the Applicant to minimize time and cost while ensuring a comprehensive and objective evaluation of the Applicant’s conformance with Right-of-Way Stewardship Council Accreditation Standards. The auditing team(s) will inspect both random and representative sites as well as Applicant documentation, equipment and interview staff. Applicant may provide on-site travel to reduce expense of the audit process.

 

Report Development: The final report process has three phases: initial draft development by the auditing team, sharing and review by Administrator and Applicant with feedback, and Final Report and recommendations completed by the Lead Auditor. The auditing team’s recommendations go to the full Right-of-Way Stewardship Council for final accreditation. The Council does not rule on the substance of the report but rather on the sufficiency of the process by the auditing team.

 

 

The amount of time required for this process varies greatly dependent on size of the utility involved; size is dominantly dictated by miles of right-of-ways managed. In general, a prospective utility should anticipate at least 90 days for the full process and 6 months for large utilities. Much of this time is predicated on the time and responsiveness of the Applicant to auditor requests for information. A great deal of documentation is required in this process and the clearer and better organized this information is, the shorter the time and the cheaper the process (to some degree).

 

For further information on Right-of-Way accreditation contact Dovetail Partners, Inc. Program Administrator at 612-333-0430 or info@rowstewardship.org.