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ONR's vision and strategy

02 November 2011

Nick Baldwin (pictured), Chair of ONR, has this week launched a new strategy detailing ONR’s vision in the light of the challenges and opportunities of the nuclear sector.

Nick Baldwin, Chair of ONR
Nick Baldwin, Chair of ONR

As Chair of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), I am pleased to introduce our new Strategy. As required by the ONR Framework Document, under which ONR operates as an agency of the Health and Safety Executive, the Strategy sets out ONR’s broad medium to long term vision. However, it is sufficiently flexible to be adapted to the requirements of any future Board created when ONR becomes a Statutory Corporation, expected in April 2013.

ONR’s purpose as described in our mission statement is "Securing the protection of people and society from the hazards of the nuclear industry". Our core activities to achieve our mission are presented simply in our ‘Plan-on-a-Page’. Our vision to be "Universally respected for securing confidence in nuclear safety and security" and the Strategy that underpins it is similarly succinct and simple.

It is our intention that the Strategy will inform the ONR Corporate Plan, published in August 2011, which will be revised shortly to reflect our strategic direction and recent changes to our organisational structure. In addition, ONR will produce an Operating Plan for 2012/13 to provide more detail about what we aim to deliver during the year. As the nuclear industry worldwide is undergoing rapid change, it is our intention to review our strategy regularly to ensure it remains relevant to the environment in which we operate.

We want the strategy to provide all of our stakeholders with an accessible picture of ONR’s vision in the light of the challenges and opportunities of the nuclear sector going forward. In summary, we see ONR’s priorities as being to improve our efficiency and effectiveness as a regulator; to lead the nuclear industry towards greater openness and transparency by being an exemplar in this area; and using our international credibility to influence improvement in global nuclear safety and security standards.

As you will see, these threads run throughout the strategy and I hope you will welcome it.
Nick Baldwin
Chair of ONR

Strategic context
The nuclear industry, in this country and internationally, is changing rapidly which presents a number of challenges for ONR. These include:
· The assessment of safety cases for potential new nuclear power stations and their subsequent licensing, construction, operation and decommissioning
· The changing requirements of ageing nuclear power reactors and the generating companies’ aim to keep them producing electricity safely, reliably and economically to meet current and anticipated energy demands
· The delivery of the decommissioning programme and active management of legacy nuclear plants including high hazard facilities, both of which impact on the success of nuclear new build

· The drive from the international nuclear industry for greater co-operation between regulators, leading to a convergence and harmonisation of regulatory requirements for new and existing nuclear facilities
· The need to improve the regulation of civil nuclear security while acquiring the capability to do so
· The increasingly competitive global nuclear skills market, which affects our ability to recruit the highly-qualified and experienced staff we require, something which is important given that a significant proportion of our existing inspectors are approaching retirement age.

Overlaying all of these challenges is the public and wider society’s concern about the safety, security and health impacts of nuclear power, as well as the potential threats from terrorism and radiation risks.

This concern was brought into sharp focus by the events at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan in March 2011. The concerns of the public and society are reflected in changes in their expectations and interests, and their desire for greater openness and transparency.

ONR’s Strategy shows how we aim to address each of these challenges.

Our mission
ONR’s mission is "Securing the protection of people and society from the hazards of the nuclear industry"
To do this we seek three outcomes:
· A nuclear industry that has a culture of continuous improvement and sustained excellence in operations
· All our stakeholders value our work
· A nuclear industry that controls its hazards effectively

ONR’s Plan-on-a-page shows the core activities we must excel at to achieve these outcomes and the key performance enablers we must have in place to facilitate the core activities.

Our vision and strategy describes the type of organisation ONR needs to be to deliver our mission successfully.

Our vision
ONR’s vision is simple and straightforward – that in all that we do we are:
"Universally respected for securing confidence in nuclear safety and security".

This means that:
· Our work recognises that people want to feel safe and secure from the hazards of the nuclear industry whether they stem from the physical operation of nuclear facilities or issues about the security of those facilities
· We want everyone, regardless of their views on nuclear power, to feel that the we regulate the nuclear industry appropriately and in proportion to the hazards it presents. We also want to be a trusted source of objective information and advice about the risks and potential consequences of all aspects of civil nuclear activities
· We have a positive influence on UK and international nuclear safety and security standards. The hazards presented by nuclear power are possibly more in people’s thoughts now than they have been at any time for the last 25 years. ONR has an important job to do to ensure nuclear operators in the UK achieve sustained excellence in nuclear safety and security performance, and to take a leading role in securing global nuclear safety and security
· As an organisation, our own standards of performance are high and, in carrying out our responsibilities, we are as effective and efficient as we can be. It is particularly important in the current economic climate that we demonstrate our value to our stakeholders. To achieve high standards of performance ONR must have a full complement of highly competent, committed people at all levels, who feel part of the corporate journey and are proud of our organisation.

Achieving our vision
We will build on our record of accomplishment to achieve our vision through three key activities:
· Transforming our organisation
· Focusing on delivery
· Influencing nuclear safety and security

Transforming our organisation
This involves not only changing the legal identity of ONR from a civil service agency to an independent statutory corporation, but also to improving our effectiveness and efficiency by changing our business philosophy.

We want to be a modern organisation that is aligned strategically to the environment in which we operate. In transforming what we do, we want our staff to be world leading in their expertise and proud to be recognised for that.

Focusing on delivery
Having a greater impact on nuclear safety and security through the delivery of our outcomes. These include being more open and transparent in our engagement with all our stakeholders, particularly in the dialogue we have with the public and wider society, those we regulate and our regulatory partners; changing and improving our working practices to ensure our stakeholders’ experience ONR as an integrated, balanced, proportionate and consistent nuclear regulator; influencing the nuclear industry successfully to improve nuclear safety and security; and, ensuring the nuclear industry complies with relevant legislation, which includes taking proportionate enforcement action when necessary.

Influencing nuclear safety and security
Build on our existing international reputation to ensure ONR influences the development of nuclear safety and security standards in the UK and around the world. We will influence those we regulate to encourage the achievement sustained excellence in nuclear safety and security.

We will also enable those who will become nuclear regulators in the future to benefit from the expertise we have a acquired from 50 years of regulatory experience.

By these means we believe ONR will transform into a modern, even more dynamic organisation, which is delivery focused and responsive to the challenges and demands we expect to encounter.

Transforming our organisation
The key to ONR’s future success relies on having the right people in the right places, doing the right things. In doing so, we will become the best that we can be and create an organisation that is resilient and fit for the future.

ONR will complete its transition to a statutory corporation as intended by the UK Government (Ministerial Statement by the Minister for Employment, February 2011). This will provide the degree of independence we need to operate more effectively and efficiently while still being accountable for our decisions, actions and achievements.

We will put the necessary structure, governance, processes and procedures in place. This includes changing our organisational structure from one where we work in separate Divisions, to a ‘delivery-focused’ model, in which our work is grouped into programmes that reflect nuclear industry sectors.

This will provide greater flexibility enabling resources to be moved quickly in response to changes in demand and priority.

We will become an employer of choice in the nuclear sector by developing a reward package that will attract new talent and expertise, and retain that which we have already. This is essential if we are to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global market for nuclear skills, particularly given that a significant proportion of our existing inspectors are approaching retirement age.

In addition, we will invest in the development of everybody who works for us by providing opportunities for professional and personal development, so they have the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required by a delivery focussed, stakeholder centric organisation.

In this way, ONR will achieve a full complement of highly competent, committed people at all levels who feel part of the corporate journey, and are proud of our organisation.

ONR will have a ‘one organisation’ ethos in which we recognise each other’s skills, knowledge, expertise and experience, and value the contribution of every person who works for us.

We will provide a clear purpose and direction to ensure everybody knows what is expected of them; are focused on ONR’s goals, and are willing to be held accountable for their part in delivering them.

Focusing on delivery
ONR has a wide variety of stakeholders including Government; other regulators, national and international; the public; special interest groups; the nuclear industry, and society in the widest sense. We want all our stakeholders to respect, trust and have confidence in ONR as an effective regulator of the nuclear industry, regardless of their view of nuclear power.
To do this ONR will take an open, transparent and honest approach to its engagement with all stakeholders. We will make as much information as possible available to the public and ensure that it is presented in plain language.

ONR has listened, and will continue to listen, to our stakeholders views about what they want from a nuclear regulator.

In response to those views, we will seek ways to improve and to deliver more effective and efficient regulation. We will do this by implementing new working practices, developed through our Transformation Programme, which will ensure:

ONR’s resources are allocated to areas of greatest need within a defined regulatory programme to ensure our regulation is proportionate, targeted primarily on those activities giving rise to the most serious risks, or where the hazards are least well controlled; our regulatory decisions are balanced, consistent, transparent, substantiated and evidence-based; and that the programmes are managed in a way that is most efficient and delivers the most effective results.

We will have an inclusive approach to regulation and be as open and transparent with all our stakeholders as we can be. We want to lead the nuclear industry in this as we believe success is essential to achieving our vision of securing confidence in nuclear safety and security.

We have a culture in which everyone is responsible and accountable for delivering to agreed performance levels in line with ONR’s vision, mission and corporate priorities.

We want to make continuous performance improvement a way of life in ONR.

Influencing nuclear safety and security
ONR has an international reputation for excellence and a robust regulatory framework which is built on 50 years of experience of regulating nuclear safety. We are recognised by the International Atomic Energy Agency as having a mature, transparent and independent regulatory system, an advanced review process, and highly trained and experienced nuclear inspectors (IAEA cited in the Ministerial Statement, May 2011).

We must continue to build on this reputation, to improve our ability to secure nuclear safety and security in the UK and to be a positive influence on the world stage.

ONR will use its reputation and credibility to influence the development of global nuclear safety and security standards by sharing expertise. This will enable the UK Government to fulfil its responsibility to protect its citizens wherever they are in the world. It will also help to secure the protection of the global society from the hazards of the nuclear industry.

We will engage with the UK nuclear industry strategically to influence improvement so that it creates and sustains an excellent safety and security culture, and has the processes and measures in place to demonstrate compliance and assurance.

ONR will work closely with international regulators and other bodies to achieve co-operation, convergence and harmonisation in our approach to international nuclear safety.

To ensure ONR continuously improves its own regulatory effectiveness we will actively seek opportunities to learn from others. To do this we will willingly recognise and adopt best practice wherever we find it.

This strategy sets out ONR’s vision for the medium to long term. The Corporate Plan published in August 2011, which will be revised in the light of the strategy, shows the resources and budgets for each of ONR’s Operational Programmes.

Responses to this statement are being welcomed until 17 November 2011
ONR - Communications Team
Health and Safety Executive
4S.3 Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS


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