Groundhog Day?

Well, it’s more or less a year since we all had to make major adjustments to our daily lives. Little did any of us believe we would still be working with our lives significantly restricted by the continued fight against Covid-19.

All this is a minor inconvenience when we think of the millions of people who have been infected, severely ill, or sadly passed because of this modern disaster.

In the context of our daily work, everyone I know has embraced these circumstances with humility, professionalism, and of course a little light-heartedness to keep us smiling. We are all now pretty much expert on Teams and the more adventurous among us have built a nice collection of background themes, including borrowing sets from Star Wars…


Source: Star Wars Backgrounds

Thankfully the industry’s control rooms are not quite like this. Thinking of the dedicated site-based teams and those supporting them, they have shown great resilience to maintain safe operations whilst minimising Covid-19 risks and delivering on business results. This has indeed been an arduous and unrelenting challenge.

Innovation by Necessity

We are also not in a Groundhog Day scenario. Individuals, teams and organisations have innovated and adapted remarkably well.

In my previous post, I talked of two key questions;

  • How long will the Covid-19 tail be i.e. how long will the impact on working patterns persist?
  • What structural changes will be introduced, or remain in place, for the foreseeable future?

I think the first question is answered. This will be a very long tail.

On the second question, I can only talk directly to Scapa Energy experiences. We quickly adapted our way of working, which has also created positive outcomes in surprising ways.

Before Covid, our business activities were driven by face-to-face engagement – at site locations, at our client’s offices, and in our own offices. When this came to a juddering halt, we very quickly developed and implemented a remote assurance process.

This remote approach required us to;

  • Be more stringent with planning and co-ordination with our clients
  • Prepare more rigorous Terms of Reference and pre-engagement question sets
  • Request the client to complete these question sets before engagement discussions
  • Embrace remote working technology
  • Apply Systems Thinking from a remote perspective


Scapa Energy Remote Engagement Process©


This provided structure to work remotely. We recognise this wasn’t a substitute for ‘boots on the ground’. But after successful delivery of this approach for close to a year, we have found;

  • Clients are better prepared by reviewing and responding to the question sets
  • Client engagements are more focussed  during the engagement and there are less distractions
  • More focussed analysis of information and documents through pre-read and screen-share
  • More thorough data analysis with provision of remote access to software applications
  • Using remote communications is not a barrier to active engagement
  • Our principles of partnering with clients to reduce risk and improve performance continue to be met

Collectively, these benefits bring an overall value-add that we had not anticipated.


We have seen these benefits in the range of remote independent assurance services we provide, for example;

  • Safety Case Regulation 5 Audits
  • Offshore focussed Control of Work Audits
  • Maintenance Effectiveness Review
  • Process Integrity Audits
  • Technical Professional Competence Assessments (West Africa)
  • Independent Incident Investigation

These services also provide a key option to meet regulator and industry expectations, reinforced with the recently published OGUK Assurance Toolkit (

Scapa Energy are grateful for the ongoing support from our existing and new clients to enable the delivery of these range of remote services. This has not been possible without the resilience and professionalism of the Scapa Energy team.

We have already committed to maintaining a mixed blend of delivery, getting the best of both worlds as we move into a state of new normal.


Featured image: ‘Bright Side’, courtesy Michael Luinig (