Office for Nuclear Regulation

Devonport Royal Dockyard – Inspection ID: 52037

Executive summary

Date(s) of inspection:

  • May 2023

Aim of inspection

To examine the effectiveness of DRDL’s internal assurance arrangements against a sample of the relevant good practice and regulatory expectations identified within ONR’s NS-TAST-GD-080: Nuclear Safety Advice and Independent Challenge, Issue 5.

This will be an unrated LMfS style inspection but the executive summary will be published on the ONR website.

Subject(s) of inspection

  • Leadership & Management for Safety – Rating: Not Rated

Key findings, inspector’s opinions and reasons for judgement made

This planned inspection was carried out on 18 May 2023 on the DRDL site. During the inspection we sampled evidence of internal assurance and challenge focusing on how DRDL gives and receives internal challenge. Specifically, we sampled:

The DRDL Internal Nuclear Oversight (INO) function.

  • The Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC).
  • The Management Safety Committee (MSC).
  • The Organisational Capability Committee (OCC).
  • The Safety, Health & Environment Committee (SHEC).

Relevant good practice for this inspection is in ONR’s Technical Assessment Guide NS-TAST-GD-080 (Issue 5). This was not a compliance inspection.

I found evidence of areas of good practice and also areas that DRDL should consider strengthening.

Good practice in my sampling included:

  1. INO Concerns Sheets.
  2. Some early engagement with INO.
  3. Monthly INO reports to the DRDL Executive Committee and Managing Director.
  4. Self-awareness of opportunities for improvement in INO and the safety committees sampled.
  5. A common theme of reviewing the effectiveness of the safety committees and embracing continual improvement.
  6. The system of obtaining, collating and communicating members comments in advance of the safety committees.
  7. Safety committee Chairs managing the challenge of giving committee members sufficient time to read and comment on safety documentation balanced against safe delivery of programme.
  8. Safety committee Chairs collating members comments into themes prior to committee meetings.
  9. Timely pre-committee communications between the MSC Chair and the Internal Peer Review Manager.
  10. OCC Chair management of the first and second levels of assurance to help ensure that safety documentation submitted to committee will be adequate.
  11. Committee members challenged constructively during committee sessions observed. Presenters and chairs welcomed these challenges during these meetings.

Opportunities in my sampling that DRDL should consider strengthening included:

  1. Reviewing arrangements to ensure that practice is adequately documented should assist in delivering an outcome of  sustainable improvement.
  2. Timely delivery of adequate safety documentation to support timely and safe programme delivery.
  3. To be consistently more pro-active in asking for INO advice.
  4. To demonstrate consistent, timely response to INO and safety committee concerns.

Overall, I judge that relevant good practice was met in the sample inspected with some areas of good practice and some areas that DRDL should consider strengthening.


Overall, I judge that relevant good practice was met in the sample inspected with some areas of good practice and some areas that DRDL should consider strengthening.