We are here to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations, and that means we must build and maintain trust and confidence in what we do. It is why inspiring stakeholder confidence is one of one of the four strategic themes set out in our Strategy 2020-25.
The results show we remain positively viewed as professional (93%), independent (88%) and trusted (84%), which your feedback and insight has consistently told us are important to inspiring confidence: that is why we have prioritised them in our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy 2020-25, which underpins our organisational strategy.
What did this year’s results tell us?
As well as maintaining or improving our reputation as professional, independent and trusted, 86% of respondents agreed that our regulation is ‘based on evidence’ and a significant majority (88%) indicated they had effective working relationships with our staff.
A strong 88% also reported feeling confident that we were delivering our mission, and more than 80% believed that we were influential in improving nuclear safety and security culture. We cannot deliver our mission without constructive working relationships and a clear understanding of our role by those we engage with, so stakeholder confidence in these areas helps us know we are being effective in our vitally important work.
The restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have meant we’ve had to adapt how we work and regulate the industry over the last year, to continue to protect workers and the public. We’re particularly pleased to see that 72% of our stakeholders believed that our regulation has been effective during the pandemic, with a number of stakeholders very complimentary about how we’ve adapted as an organisation, and how we’ve utilised technology to conduct remote inspections, where possible.
While the results were largely very positive, the survey highlighted some areas that we recognise require our continued focus and attention. We prioritised those when we published our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy last autumn, and are committed to turning that action into intent over the next four years to make a difference.
67% of stakeholders agreed we were ‘proportionate’ – a 9% improvement on our 2019 survey but still lower than we would like. This is an area that we will continue to focus on to drive further improvements in our regulation.
And while 84% of respondents said our information, guidance and advice was accessible, they asked we make in our reports clearer.
The survey also highlighted that we need to do more to improve our efficiency, with just 38% of those surveyed agreeing we have efficient ways of working. Modernising how we work is another of our key strategic priorities in our Strategy 2020-25, and we are on a journey of streamlining our processes and introducing technology to help us work better and more efficiently.
For example, last year we separated our legacy IT systems from the Health and Safety Executive’s infrastructure and began implementation of our Well-Informed Regulatory Decisions (WIReD) project to modernise our knowledge management and regulatory processes.
Over the next 12 months, we are building on this work to modernise our IT systems, and so enable new, more efficient ways of working within ONR and with our stakeholders in the future. These modernisation programmes, many aspects of which have been informed by your feedback, will drive internal efficiencies and also improve experience for our stakeholders, be it in regular or occasional interactions with us.
Katie Day, our Policy and Communications Director, said:
“This is a really strong set of results and it’s encouraging to see that so many of our stakeholders continue to trust ONR and have confidence in our ability to regulate the industry effectively.
“Our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy sets out our intentions to address the weaker areas identified in the survey, such as improving accessibility of our technical reports with better use of plain English and making our website easier to navigate and more user centric. We are already updating our web content and will begin development of a new website next year. The rollout of WIReD will improve stakeholder experiences and perceptions of our efficiency and ways of working. We are also doing work to ensure we foster a healthy organisational culture that supports and sustains these ambitions and enables us to be more transparent.
“Thank you to those who took part in year’s survey. Your insight and views are invaluable to us – they help us to shape our regulation and our organisation
How to find out more?
This year’s survey was conducted by YouGov and drew 262 responses from a range of different organisations including nuclear site operators, government, public bodies/agencies, NGOs and academic institutions. As part of our commitment to listening to and understanding the views of our stakeholders, we undertake a survey on an annual basis to enable us to monitor trends and patterns over time.