Competency Standards

Training and Competence

In a nutshell, these competency standards detail what a person needs to know and do in order to perform a particular job role to the highest level. Competent people are essential to business success and we support you in the recruitment, management and development of your staff by producing a suite of industry competency standards, known as National Occupational Standards (NOS), which provide you with valuable answers to:

  • What are the competencies required for a specific job role?
  • What are the exact skills and knowledge that an employee needs in order to perform their job well?
  • Can we measure if performance is relevant, of a high standard and achieving the intended results?

We have developed occupational standards for a range of financial related roles, including accountancy and finance; general insurance; financial advice; and paraplanning – find your role in the full suite of occupational standards, by visiting and searching for Financial & Legal Skills Partnership.

Within each unit the required standards of performance, related knowledge and skills for that activity is described in the form of outcomes of effective performance and statements of required knowledge and understanding. Some units also feature a range of typical behaviours underpinning effective performance. Each unit help you by:

  • Identifying skills in recruitment and selection by creating your own job profiles and putting together competence-based interviews
  • Assessing performance in appraisals
  • Auditing organisational performance to meet business objectives
  • Identifying individual and organisational training needs
  • Identifying changes in knowledge, skills and performance required for career development

Examples of successful usage


Recruitment can be a complex and time-consuming process, which requires careful consideration and planning. Ideally, recruitment leads from job profile, recruitment specification and advertisement to selection processes, assessment and final selections. It is important that, at each stage, consistent messages are given to selectors and candidates. If job competences, job profiles and recruitment specifications are vague, imprecise or inadequate, time and resources might be wasted. At worst, the wrong candidate might be selected.

Designing competence-based recruitment and selection systems using NOS enables you to clarify the requirements of the job and attract the best candidates. NOS have several levels of detail, so they can be used to extract information for different audiences.

Working to a standard and appraising performance

Everyone works to a standard of some sort – their own, their company’s, their profession’s. What most firms and most individuals want is a sense of what a quality standard is, i.e., a level of attainment which means that individuals make best use of their knowledge and skills, and their employers get value for money.

NOS are quality standards. They tell you not only what someone should achieve, but also how well they must perform if they are to achieve it satisfactorily (the outcomes of performance).

Assessment of performance and competence is evidence-based. The evidence comes from an individual’s performance in their job. This means looking at what the individual has achieved in terms of:

  • technical or professional competence
  • their ability to deal with contingencies – variations from the norm
  • their ability to manage themselves and their work
  • their ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships
  • their competence in meeting company requirements, working within rules and (where applicable) regulatory requirements
  • their ability to take the responsibility that comes with the job

NOS are therefore a natural starting point for appraising people’s performance, ensuring they understand what they are supposed to achieve, giving them feedback on how well they are doing, setting fresh challenges and determining improvement or development needs.


Competency standards detail what a person needs to know and do in order to perform a particular job role to the highest level, and we’ve worked for you to provide financial services specific national Occupational Standards. Find your roles in the full suite of occupational standards, by visiting and searching for Financial & Legal Skills Partnership.


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