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Spain

Ingeniero de montes (Spain)


  • Proportionality information

    1. Have you examined whether the requirements under your national legal system are
    directly or indirectly discriminatory on the basis of nationality or residence?
       

    There are neither discriminatory laws under the national legal system nor have there been notifications of claims or reclamations made by any professional in that sense.




    2. Which of the following overriding reasons relating to the general interest justifies the measure(s)?
         
    • Protection of consumers and recipients of services
    •    
    • Protection of the environment and the urban environment, including town and country planning

    3. What specific risks or benefits have you identified that your measure(s) is designed to, respectively, minimise or maximise?

       Please try to be specific in describing the nature of the risks/benefits you have identified
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       


    A = Academic qualification (6-year university degree) and reserved activities // B = Professional association membership

    A: It guarantees safety of humans and goods alike and the protection of the environment by minimizing general risks of malpractice (which could lead to serious consequences for current and future welfare). This measure is backed up by Spanish legislation and jurisprudence (STS 3-12-2010; SSTS 10-11-2008, 22-4-2009 y 3-12-2010; STS 20-2-2012).

     

    B: Free professional association membership, as a delegated authority function of the Spanish State, aims at regulating requirements of the profession and the professionals themselves through the implementation of a code of conduct and best practice to ensure an ethically sound and independent treatment for consumers and engineering service end-users. It also prevents intrusion from other sectors and provides continuous training for professionals to constantly help improve service quality. 


    4. How specifically do your measures operate to minimise the risk(s) or maximise the benefit(s) identified in question 3?

       When addressing this question please try to explain how the measures prevent the risks or guarantee the benefits.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       

    With equal respect to A and B, our measures ensure access to professional activities carried out with know-how, skills and sufficient competence to protect general interests on the basis of freedom of choice. The RD 1456/1990 and the Order CIN/326/2009 establish the required knowledge of Forest Engineers to design, lead, develop, implement and interpret plans and projects safely, given their intrinsic importance (ONU-1997, Law 43/2003; Law 81/1968, Law 38/1999; etc.)

     

    B guarantees that consumers and end-users who contract services meet independence and quality requirements needed to properly implement such services (Law 2/1974 and Law 25/2009). It also protects them against "information asymmetry". Engineering services are characterized by their complexity and severe economic impact; therefore, incorrect or inadequate practice could lead to high risks to the economy and cause serious damage to the environment.



    5. In so far as you are able, please provide information that you have gathered regarding the concrete effects of the measure(s).

       For example, through impact assessments or information gathered during implementation or review of a measure. Member States who have recently undergone reforms may in particular be able to contribute helpfully to this field. Where you are able to provide cost-benefit analyses this would be particularly valuable.
       Information on whether the measures indeed successfully prevented risks from being realised (e.g. the number of sanctions imposed, a drop in transgressions since the measure was introduced or consequences from previous modifications of the regulation) would equally be helpful.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. You may also wish to include evidence on consumer satisfaction or other measurements of the impact.

       

    The measures (A and B) have minimised risks, as to a total of 3500 insured members,  of whom only nine liability claims were asserted in the last five years, ending without conviction.  Forests managed under a sustainable project basis compared to those which are not (Law 43/2003-reservation to Forest Engineering, IM = Forest Engineer) show better results with regards to conservation, biodiversity, contribution to rural development, firefighting, etc. (source: IFN = Inventario Forestal Nacional (National Forest Inventory)).

     

    The control of best practice and ethics provided by B has several effects: it is a preventive element to deter unwanted or fraudulent behaviour by service providers (e.g. phishing in projects); society in general identifies the professional corporation as a guarantee of excellence and best practice of their professionals (mediation and complaints procedure) and its correct qualification; continuous and lifelong training also contributes to the improvement of A.



    6. Is the general interest objective you indicated in question 2 pursued in a consistent and systematic manner?.

       In approaching your response to this question please consider examples where you have addressed similar risks for comparable professions, not necessarily within the same sector. Is the approach you have adopted in this particular profession comparable or distinct from such similar cases and why?

       

    The objective is pursued systematically and consistently. Professions, whose activities could seriously and directly affect the general public interest, require this type of regulation. Managerial, industrial, building or civil engineering activities of Forest Engineers have a direct impact on environmental protection and the physical integrity and safety of people. Their association is an efficient means to control and protect clients (end-users, stakeholders) (Law 25/2009, RD 1000/2010). As the Association exclusively represents the profession at a national level (Law 2/1974), it facilitates communication with the various administrations and citizens alike. It also establishes a point of contact and simplifies the mediation process once issues arise, enhancing their final resolution, the result being that professional associations are widely accepted and respected in Spanish society. The same criteria also apply to other professions such as Medical, Legal, Architecture and other Engineering sectors. 


    7. Please explain in how far the degree of complexity or the nature of the activities
    which are reserved justify that these activities can be exclusively performed by professionals possessing a specific professional qualification?

       For example: when the tasks are essentially of a straightforward nature (such as preparing and printing pay slips etc.), or involve essentially the execution of instructions, specific professional aptitudes should not be required.

       

    Spanish legislation and jurisprudence link professional activities to qualifications awarded by a university degree (A). It also establishes a causal link to the public interest to be protected. It is clear that the activities of Forest Engineers have a high social impact, as they are complex actions that modify the natural environment: forest management, industrial development, building of infrastructures, etc., all of those in return affecting the natural environment, rural economy, air and water quality, etc. Some of those impacts are difficult to detect in a short-term perspective and impossible to repair long-term. It is therefore essential to establish control measures prior to carrying out proposed activities, in order to guarantee that the professionals involved have sufficient know-how and skills to successfully perform such activities. 


    8. Where you have indicated several measures in place in the screening tab,
    have you reviewed the cumulative effect of all these measures on professional activities?

       If not, why not?
       If yes, please outline for us how you approached assessing this issue as well as the results and conclusions or any learning you drew from this. Where possible please include evidence.

       

    Qualification and reserved activities are measures that work together proactively to ensure that professional activities offer maximum protection to public safety, the environment, as well as of consumers’ and end-users’ rights. This makes the following possible: 1 / to answer/solve any question or complaint or gather information about the profession upon enquiry of citizens,  institutions or administrations; 2 / to save time and resources for the Spanish State that would otherwise mean allocating money and resources for this purpose which are presently not needed; 3 / to ensure that engineers act  in accordance with ethics code and independence under the criteria of freedom of choice; 4 / to mitigate information asymmetry, etc. These measures have been reviewed by the Spanish State in 2009 and have remained in place for Forest Engineers on the basis of proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination criteria. 


    9. Have you considered the use of alternative mechanisms to achieve your objective(s)?
         
    • Use of voluntary certification schemes

       Please briefly explain. Where you have selected more than one option, please be sure to address each of these in your response.

       

    As the existing system is already implemented and validated and meeting proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination criteria at no cost to the Spanish State or citizens, there is no need of replacing the current one, although voluntary certification schemes can be a useful tool. It is currently on-going as an effective and common complementary measure to other engineering professions according to the UNE -EN ISO / IEC 17024.



    10. Conclusion

       Following your internal examination of this regulated profession, which of the following have you concluded?

    •    Maintain current system

       Explain where relevant:

       

    Taking into account the analysis undertaken, the main conclusion is that established measures on the required qualification level must be maintained, fostering the following:

     

    -  Continuous and lifelong learning throughout a professional’s career.

    -  Professional association membership.

    - Reserved activities, but not exclusively under the criteria of freedom of choice in cases already based on law and jurisprudence (when reasons of public interest are at stake).

     

    It has been proven that these measures are the most efficient means to guarantee best practice for the protection of service recipients and the environment, thus justified by Spanish State legislation. Since the implementation of the above mentioned measures, there have not been identified obstacles, difficulties and discrimination to the exercise of the regulated profession.



    11. Any other comments?
       

    No further comments.

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