Beauty | It's Habia vs. BABTAC When It Comes To Professional Registers


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The Ed.

Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2011
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SalonGeek HQ
Habia will be launching three new registers at Pro Beauty North in Manchester this weekend in an effort to regulate the industry and ensure that consumers can enjoy treatments without concerns regarding safety or the ability of the therapist. However, these registers have been controversial and elicited some criticism from other industry bodies, especially BABTAC.

According to Habia, the three new registers will aim to ensure "the beauty nail and spa industry will no longer be the home of unskilled workers who put clients at risk." The Register of Nail Professionals, the Register of Beauty Professionals and the Register of Spa Professionals will be run by SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Well-Being in partnership with Habia.

But BABTAC have conveyed serious concerns regarding the validity of these registers, "expressing disappointment in and distrust of the new Habia registers launching later this month."

Habia state that they work, "with all corners of the beauty industry. Integrity, quality and ethics must be upheld within the industry. Consumers can also play their part by carefully checking the qualifications of beauty treatment workers." While the theory is sound, no register of any kind is worth anything if consumers don't know about it.

When asked what Habia's plans were for promoting the registers amongst the consumers, Habia responded by saying, "A key feature of the Registers is that the public can quickly and easily search the database to verify the competence of their therapist or technician. The registration fees paid by eligible professionals will go towards both administrating the scheme and ongoing marketing and PR activities aimed raising awareness among paying consumers. We understand the importance of public awareness and hope that this approach, coupled with promotion from reputable and qualified professionals will help us achieve our objectives."

Habia argue that the money raised from the registers will be for promotion and administration but BABTAC aren't convinced. BABTAC fear that the need for revenue to ensure the programme can be maintained effectively will undermine any rigorous checks.

"BABTAC is aware that Habia is not for profit, as are they, but additional income means a more stable and effective system, hence the potential need for more eligible registrants."

Habia have been quick to respond to the controversy simply stating that, "Habia are a not-for-profit organisation and our parent organisation SkillsActive is a charity, any money raised is re-invested in to raising standards in industry."

But BABTAC believe that the annual fee has the potential to undermine the industry and could be viewed as a simple money-making scheme. They argue this leads to a conflict of interests with existing services offered by HABIA.

At present, HABIA is responsible for the standard-setting of qualifications and training, maintaining the National Occupational Standards and BABTAC believe that introducing a fee-paying register has the potential to negatively impact on standards, reducing them in order to facilitate more ‘eligible’ registrants. BABTAC also argue that at this stage, no outlines have been given for the policing of either the standards or the registers which according to them, "is great cause for concern."

Greg Small, Operations Manager for SkillsActive Registers says, "The registers will raise professional standards by allowing employers to identify qualified employees with the necessary standards to work in these specialised industries. Consumers will be reassured they are in the best possible hands for their nail, beauty and spa treatments."

While BABTAC don't deny that the principle of regulating the industry is crucial, they believe that the registers about to be launched by Habia do not conform to an industry-wide task force that recommended that any regulation would need to be independent of all existing bodies and include a collaborative approach from a variety of industry partners. BABTAC claims that their initial offer to Habia of help and consultation was "swiftly denied" leading them to argue that, "this suggests a vested interest in the financial status of the registers and not in the development of a sustainable and progressive industry standard."

So, all is not well amongst the industry bodies regarding regulation especially when it comes to who should manage the registers and how they should be run. Habia do have support from some in the industry including Gina Akers, a TV beauty expert who has been named an ambassador for the new registers. "The creation of these registers is great news for customers because accredited professionals give an assurance of quality."

Jo Harris, Group Head of Beauty at Urban Retreat, also supports the registers. "The development is well overdue and will bring some much needed clarity in our industry."

But despite this, BABTAC are not to be swayed. At the end of the day they accuse the registers of suffering from a serious lack of credibility stating that "the checks advocated are less than those carried out by the major membership organisations including BABTAC and therefore they work to simply undermine existing standards and processes."

The registers will launch at Professional Beauty in Manchester this weekend and only time will tell whether the professional community will jump on board. Without their support, the registers are rendered useless - however they are created and by whomever they are run and, aside from the in-fighting going on, the only thing professionals will care about is: will the consumer know about them?

Whatever happens to the money, professionals aren't going to hand it over to anyone unless they know that consumers will know about and use the registers.

Until then...geek on!

The Ed.


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Hmmm I was hoping this May set some sort of standards, after an email from babtac and reading this, maybe not!!
I'm not sure a voluntary register that consumers won't know about will do much to raise standards.

The only way we an ensure standards are raised and consumers aren't put at risk is a legally enforced license / qualification standard.

But unfortunately because we don't actually pay associations very much they don't have the finances to lobby enough in this matter.
I'm a little worried that babtac has decided they don't like these registers. Yes it will take time for consumers to know about them and I don't think we should pay a fee but I can fully understand why they are being introduced. I think I will wait and see how they take off before I invest my hard earned £35 per year....

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If I don't pay to be on these registers, do I not come up as an industry professional?

Some years ago my husband tried to join the REPs register for personal trainers, but his nationwide qualification wasn't recognised by them. When I looked into it, most recognised qualifications were private. It turned out that his awarding body weren't prepared to pay to be recognised by REPs. He would have to do case studies etc to prove his competence, so he didn't bother. He obviously had full insurance and was always busy, so I don't think it affected him in the end.

I'm afraid I believe that the majority of the public don't look at these things, and especially won't if there is not universal agreement. If I am full qualified and insured, I'm slightly puzzled as to the benefits, except for the public to see I'm fully qualified and insured!!!

Most members of the public will go on recommendations or some will go for the cheapest option. Will this change anything, except for costing genuine bona fide therapists yet more money?
Although I don't always agree with Habia and find some of their points contradict others and are therefore not clear, I don't feel that any company that offers accreditation should be in charge of this sort of thing either.

Habia are in charge of setting standards in training and it therefore fits that they should hold the register, if indeed, there is to be one.

It doesn't matter that they are both non profit making organisations at all what matters is that the industry, including every company offering insurance, and I do mean every company, etc, has someone else making sure the standards are adhered to.

I don't quite understand why BABTAC have come out so strongly against this, even before it has gotten off the ground, and would be interested in what the other companies think about it.

We cry out every day for some sort of regulation but when the standards body offer to get this going for us there is an outcry? I just don't understand what is going on. There will be mistakes made at the beginning but we have to begin somewhere.

I am inclined to agree with BABTAC to a certain extent.
However my issue would not be with a registration fee, after all other professions have to do this, but more the integrity of said register. How about an independent non biased, can't be bought, government run register and regulatory body, that actually issues a license to practise once criteria has been met, ie qualifications. And the routes to obtain these qualifications be slightly less free for all? Money money money.
So Babtac thought it was a good enough idea to want to get involved but once they were rebuked they decide to slate the scheme instead!
I think it's about time that someone did something to regulate the industry but it does need to be done properly. I would have no problem at all if I had to pat to register but everyone should be made to register otherwise they won't be allowed to trade. Yes some may slip through the net like some mobile therapists but I think it would be hard for salons to slip through the net and I'm glad Habia are at least trying. As long as it's all done properly then I'm all for it.
I can't find any official information regarding this from an independent source. From what I can see however it is a voluntary scheme, maybe better than nothing but is doesn't mention requirements so seems a bit like the good salon guide type of register. Can anyone explain why there is no government legislation? Or independent council in the beauty sector. Is it politics and too much money to be lost in certain areas by doing so?
Initially a good idea however I think it will be a mind field to regulate as not all industry sing from the same song sheet as some ( not all) companies train anyone as long as they cough up the money in some cases without a fully accredited qualification under their belts. I have even come across salon taking on unqualified girls and still getting insurance - not sure how this happens or how it works but it's out there and worries me very much how are Habia going to regulate this when they can't even return a phone call.
It's my view that registers mean very little. For example, most of my builders were fully qualified and belonged to various associations and were on Trust a Trader but some of their work was appalling.

My concern is that registers are just another money making idea that do not safeguard the public in any way shape or form but just penalise the therapist.

If it was an annual fee and the therapist had to be tested then that's a different matter, but if we are paying just to go on a register, that proves nothing.
It's my view that registers mean very little. For example, most of my builders were fully qualified and belonged to various associations and were on Trust a Trader but some of their work was appalling.

My concern is that registers are just another money making idea that do not safeguard the public in any way shape or form but just penalise the therapist.

If it was an annual fee and the therapist had to be tested then that's a different matter, but if we are paying just to go on a register, that proves nothing.

The problem with things like Trust a Trader is that you have to pay to be on it. It must also be pretty easy to blag a few email addresses and write your own reviews :D.

Being tested regularly to be on the register will be expensive and may become too prescriptive like the Gold Salon Award.

Just tried to pre register on Habia, the only options for qualifications appear to be NVQs, I hope they don't insist on this for the nail industry as I think the majority of us haven't been down that route.

Unfortunately, without proper regulation and publicity to increase client awareness, all the quality salons can pay to be on the register but the usual cowboys will just carry on regardless, unaffected and save £35.
I've just seen this and if the only qualifications they are going to accept are nvqs as the previous poster has said then what about people like me who went down the btec route instead. I studied for 2 years for this qualification then went on to do lots of courses with various companies. I think there needs to be some sort of register/licence but what needs to be looked at is all the different ways there are to enter the beauty industry and all the different qualifications but still have some sort of minimum requirements.

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It does say they will accept equivalent qualifications or manufacturer and a certain numbers of continued experience.
I'm not convinced it will help regulate the industry, it does seem like a bit of a money maker, but I guess it's a start x
So at the moment as a professional I can pay for Beauty Guild Membership, BABTAC Membership and the PHAB Standard for £234 for the first year and then £144 a year (including full insurance) - really not that much.

All of these are supposed to show I am a competent qualified therapist. All of these I believe have directories / referral mechanisms in place that the public can use to find or verify a member. And how often is this ever done?

One of the questions I have about the HABIA register is how are they enforcing / checking the training standard? Unless they accredit and verify each training course individually then how can they confidently say that the therapist is trained to a sufficient level?

Do the training courses need to be taught in accordance with HABIA treatment policies and standards? Again, how are they verifying this? And how are they verifying 'work experience'?

And most importantly if the public don't know about it what is the point of the register?

Personally the £35 a year annual fee doesn't come into it, it's £35 a year! That is less then an hours work. I think there are bigger issues with it.
Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead anyone. I wasn't saying they would not accept anything but NVQs (I don't know), its just that drop down menu list on the application form only shows NVQs.
Personally the £35 a year annual fee doesn't come into it, it's £35 a year! That is less then an hours work. I think there are bigger issues with it.
That may not sound a lot to you but to many people that is a lot of money. There are people struggling to make ends meet out there and I don't feel that they should be put under anymore financial pressure.

It's the job of our insurance companies to make sure that they only insure people who are qualified to do the job.

How far can you go? Being qualified doesn't make someone good or have high standards.........that's life and you get that in every trade. Being on a register doesn't guarantee that.

This register will do nothing apart from cause more financial outlay for the therapist.
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I don't think it fixes anything. Any therapist worth their salt has their qualifications and insurance etc. available to view by any client who cares to see it.

What the industry needs is to stop unqualified and uninsured therapists. That requires a body or agency with powers. A voluntary register has no teeth and so is not going to solve the problem.

Having said that, I suppose it's a start ...... I won't be signing up though. Any client who wants to check that I am legit need only ask to see my paperwork. I don't need to pay £35 for that !

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