Closing the Loop
Learning and Feedback
You will be familiar with many organisational learning and improvement models, such as Plan-Do-Check-Act and the related ISO Management Frameworks.
In theory, these models all have their merit.
What do your own experiences tell you? Are you confident that your organisation learns from events, incidents, audit, assurance?
From our experiences we see the most significant challenge and opportunity is effectively connecting all the elements to close the loop.
The feedback loops essential for connecting the various parts of the organisational system often get stuck. Senge’s ‘The Fifth Discipline’ provides great insight to the importance of effective feedback and reflecting on actual performance.
Scapa Energy Assessment Model
At Scapa Energy, we use a practical framework to assess and help improve overall performance of Operators to manage Major Accident and High Hazard Hazard risk;
It starts with effective leadership. Setting expectations and setting a healthy context for teams to operate is essential.
Managing high hazardous operations requires aware, competent and experienced teams. A strong management framework and clear procedures that are followed in practice must be in place.
We need to contain hazardous fluids through effective hardware, maintenance and integrity management controls.
This all must be done with effective co-ordination, planning and communication.
Audit and assurance must be effective, incident investigation must assess systemic issues.
And finally, closing the loop requires tangible action with leadership commitment.
If these interconnected elements are in place and working effectively, there is a powerful reinforcing feedback loop.
Conversely, if any one of these elements or their connections are not working performance will be affected. This could be for example;
- Ineffective learning from audits and incidents. This could be influenced by audit or investigation effectiveness, or by inadequate communication of learning, and ineffective management of actions.
- Actions that are not clear, or not part of an overall improvement strategy
- Not checking in at the right times to ensure improvement actions are making the right impact
Using the Model in our Practice
The Scapa model has proved effective for a range of activities, for example;
- Assessing overall Operator capability to meet regulatory requirements, including ‘Regulation 5’ Audits
- Independent audit and assurance activities of Operational Risk Management Controls, Integrity Management or Competence Management
- Assessing the effectiveness of Performance Management
- Independent investigations, or peer review of operator investigations
- Developing operator and duty holder strategic improvement plans
- Leadership coaching in an MAH context
It is our aim to create valuable insight that creates purposeful action using these approaches. In turn, these actions improve performance and reduce the risk of unplanned events.
The UK Regulator understand the importance of effective monitor, audit and review. They have recently published Inspection Guidance (available from https://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/ed-audit-monitoring-review.pdf). Expect the HSE to include this topic in upcoming inspection activity.
OGUK have also published industry guidance to help operators get organised for effective internal assurance (https://oguk.org.uk/product/assurance-toolkit/). This provides a flexible toolkit to help operators design and implement internal assurance activities.
If you are interested in discussing how Scapa Energy can support you to manage risk and improve performance, just drop a note to any of the team.
You may also be interested in reading our recent post on our Remote Working Engagement Model (https://www.scapaenergy.uk/remote-resilience/).
Featured image: ‘Ascending and Descending’, M.C. Escher, 1960