The IRSE Licensing Scheme provides assurance about the competence of individuals to carry out technical safety-critical or safety-related work on signalling and railway telecommunications equipment and systems. 

It provides a cross industry accepted benchmark of competence for personnel carrying out a range of activities from maintenance through design, installation, testing, project engineering and senior technical management. All licence holders must abide by the Obligations of Licence Holders, which set out the professional standards expected.

The scheme has been designed to meet the requirements of the international standard for personnel certification, ISO17024, and is accredited to that standard within the UK.

Competence standards and checklists

Competence standards for a wide range of signalling and telecommunications activities have been prepared by a number of expert working groups comprised of users of the scheme and these standards are available to all employers. The competence assessment checklists (CACs) list the specific skills and underpinning knowledge needed to carry out any particular category or type of work.  For example, the licence categories for signalling maintenance include assistant maintainer, maintainer, fault finder and maintenance manager.  These are available for download via our licensing documentation pages.


Individuals are assessed against the competence standards using a two-stage assessment process to ensure impartial collection and review of evidence and, on successful completion of the process, a licence for those specific categories of work is issued by the IRSE.  Learn more about the assessment process


A logbook is used to record details of training, qualifications and work experience. Licence holders are required to maintain their logbook and assessors will want to see it to provide evidence during the assessment process. Logbooks can be bought from the IRSE or provided by an employer.

Buy a logbook

Download logbook pages


People doing work may make errors, so there is a facility to record any significant complaints about workmanship in the log book. If a complaint has been made, the results of any subsequent investigations and/or remedial actions taken are also recorded. This enables the licence holder to demonstrate how a competent level of performance has been regained so that it can be reviewed in subsequent assessments. In more serious cases, a recommendation to revoke a licence may be made to the IRSE. A licence is only revoked after an independent review of the circumstances and there is also an appeals process.

Learn more about the complaints process