Nuclear regulation has existed for decades and those who have influenced it during this time will have experienced great change. The collective mission of all regulators remains critical to a safe and secure industry at home and abroad.
With new technical challenges, technological opportunities, and increasing recognition of the importance of diversity of thinking, strong leadership and impeccable teamwork has never been more necessary for success.
So I want to pause for a moment to thank all of the staff of ONR – past and present – who helped us reach our fifth birthday in good shape. They impress me every single day with their dedication to public service, appetite for change and sheer professionalism and competence. And I know from your feedback that they impress you too and that is a huge motivator for us all.
Since launching in 2014 – and separating from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – we’ve overcome some inevitable teething issues and coped with a lot of flux in our operating environment. We’ve influenced industry to reduce and avoid significant hazards, from the design of new reactors to our operating facilities and across the decommissioning, fuel and waste portfolio. You’d expect that.
What you might not have expected is the nature and pace of internal change that we’ve chosen to pursue, so that we can serve you better, sooner. And as we’re five years’ old, I’d like to share my personal favourite five:
- Seriously addressing the demographic challenge – leading to a new syllabus that supports every colleague in every grade, role and location, to achieve their potential and perform to their best though the new ONR Academy.
- Becoming exemplars in openness and transparency – stakeholder survey results that recognise an organisation that seeks feedback, wants to improve, and better explains what we do and how we work.
- Making ONR a great place to work – demonstrating strong collective leadership, greater staff engagement, and becoming more diverse and compassionate as highlighted in our latest staff survey.
- Modernising to become more consistent and proportionate – embedding Enabling Regulation across our purposes, a clearer enforcement management model, introducing world-first Security Assessment Principles, developing a new Safeguards function and beginning to develop new processes and ways of working that will lead to a system that allows us all to work better together.
- Seeking greater learning from others – within the global nuclear regulatory family, other high hazard regulators, and wider stakeholders such as Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and academics.
All of this has taken significant focus by our Board and Senior Leadership Team. I am privileged to consider them supportive colleagues working together to position ONR as a modern, future-focussed and outward-looking organisation that is curious about how to be even better and avoids any shred of complacency.
I have asked a great deal of all of our staff, and they have continued to exceed my high expectations. They have stepped out of their comfort zones. They have learned from mistakes and built on successes. And they have done all of us proud.
One of my peers asked me: “Adriènne, what on earth did you do this year?” when our stakeholder survey results showed over 80% believe us to be “independent”, “trusted”, “based on evidence” and “fair” and a third felt more confident in us in just a year.
I answered “The same as I’ve been doing since 2016. My job is to create the environment for ONR success by listening, challenging and supporting. There’s no magic – the big stuff just takes determination and a little time.”
And on that note, I expect you to see ONR continue to improve. I promise you that we are working on that. I already know from my first month with our new Chair, the ambitious teamwork will continue!
As we look ahead, I invite you to help shape our Strategy for 2020-25. You can be confident we will listen.