ONR NSS Overarching Procedure for the letting of work packages under the Technical Service Framework
RES/002 - Issue 4
- Issue date:
- Review date:
- Open Government Status:
- Fully open
- Approved By:
- Peter Storey
The Nuclear Safety Studies (NSS) Programme is provided to ensure that there is suitable and timely external support for ONR assessors and inspectors. This support can take a variety of forms but is usually considered to cover the following:
- required expertise not available in ONR
- independent or eminent opinion required
- generic research which in part or in full can be recovered from non-licensees by Fees Regulations
- research topics not covered by scope of levy research programme (such as improvement of regulatory methods)
- attending meetings on behalf of ONR
An NSS Technical Support Framework (TSF) comprising of 31 technical support contractors (TSCs) has been set up to provide access to pre-tendered external contractors. This framework will complement support offered through the current HSE Framework Programme (TSD) (which terminates December 2010) and from the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL). The TSF will provide GDA assessors and inspectors with ready access to contractors who have been assessed as meeting ONR defined standards in the 15 defined technical areas. See Annex 1 for a list of contractors in each of the 15 technical areas.
The creation of the TSF does not preclude the use of HSL or non-TSF contractors, though it is presumed that the TSF and HSL will handle the majority of NSS work packages and justification and sign off from Head of Division will be required for work not placed under the TSF.
The hierarchy of contractors is:
HSL or TSF =>TSD (while extant) => Other contractors [with suitable HoD justification and sign-off]
The TSF is expected to be used by non-GDA related work, through the standard NSS1 arrangements.
In these procedures references to the TSF includes HSL, as the procurement procedures are the same for the TSF contractors and HSL. Any differences in procedures are clearly stated.
Roles and responsibilities
Head of directorate (CI and DCIs)
ONR's Head of Directorate is ultimately responsible to HSE for the appropriate use of programme budget and signing off projects with a total value over 150,000. DCIs are responsible for approving their divisional programmes and signing off projects above 50,000.
Heads of division
Heads of Division are responsible for bidding annually for a programme of external support to meet defined business needs. Heads of Division should provide Division 6 Admin with an update on predicted out-turn at critical times during the annual cycle.
Finance manager (FM)
ONR's Finance Manager is responsible to the Head of Directorate for budgets and for advising on changes to the forecast outturn and budget profiles. As appropriate the FM may provide temporary support to NSS Admin Team on certain aspects of NSS budgetary management.
ONR Research Unit
ONR Research Unit is responsible for policy on external procurement.
ONR Research Unit:
- sets the policies, and confirms the resulting procedures, under which the NSS programme is managed including:
- defining the nature and quality of information required by the NSS/NSR Administrative Team on individual and groups of projects
- defining outputs to successfully manage the programmes overall budget
- quality audit of existing systems
- ensuring new systems are fit for purpose
- agreeing a service level agreement (SLA) with Chief Scientist Advisory Group (CSAG) and Research Procurement Unit (RPU)
- relationship management with large contractors
- provide a suitable and proportionately robust challenge function at key stages to ensure that the NSS process can be demonstrated to be fair and transparent and subsequently can withstand external challenge, this to include:
- confirmation that projects appear on divisional plans, or suitable justification for inclusion on the plans
- proposals and initiation documents are suitably detailed and include information required for accurate recovery of spend from licensees and requesting parties
- advising the Management Board on project priorities when there are budget constraints.
NSS admin team
NSS admin team have responsibility for managing the invoicing of the work.
NSS admin team:
- Have devolved responsibility for the management of the budget.
- Provide confirmation, through final signatory authorisation to RPU that the work placed is suitable to be undertaken under the NSS budget.
- Provide confirmation, through final signatory authorisation, that budgetary and other considerations have been made and addressed.
- Manage the contracts and invoice log for all contracts raised in ONR for NSS and Nuclear Safety Research (NSR).
- Work closely with Divisional teams to ensure regular progress reports are received on how the contracts are progressing. Maintain all other relevant databases and regularly liaise with RPU (over contracts) and CSAG (over invoices). Manage contract documentation including contract initiation documents, amendments and invoices, in accordance with the NSS Service Level Agreement.
- Liaise with Technical Customers and contractors to ensure current profiles are accurate. Work closely with main budget holder, providing regular feedback on how budgets are progressing. Work closely with the ONR finance team on reviewing NSS accruals and licensee spreads.
- Liaise with contractors on project delivery issues and budget spend and invoicing
- Produce, review, and manage the budget information for NSS/NSR. Analyse the budget outturns each month and monitor overspend and underspend. Provide monthly updates to the DCI on budget spends and current profiles.
- Carry out Quality Assurance of contracts, the invoice log and associated databases on a regular basis.
- Ensure requests for external support will assist in progressing the business plan and are an efficient use of programme funds
- Are responsible for considering their Unit's requirements under the NSS Programme and providing information on financial / technical changes or delays to existing projects, cancellation of expected projects and advance warning of any future projects being developed
- Are required to forecast their likely demands on the programme over the next 12 months
- Have a responsibility to ensure that all projects are managed effectively
Technical customer (divisions 1 5 inspectors)
The Technical Customer is normally the ONR Inspector who initiates the NSS project. Technical Customers are responsible for:
- ensuring that security issues relating to the work being let and the contractor are considered and appropriate action, if needed, is taken before the contract is let
- ensuring that NTLs are aware of the project, and that necessary linkages have been made to other projects or programmes of work
- submitting suitably completed requests for contracts to be let
- managing the project, contractor and funding
- overseeing the technical content
- monitoring the performance of a contractor
- disseminating the results of the work within ONR
- authorising invoices arising from the contract
- providing timely updates on project progress and any issues affecting spend or delivery (via divisional mechanisms)
- evaluating the contract after completion
NB: Division 5 (OCNS) contracts operate under a different charging regime, although the letting mechanism is the same. Advice should be sought on expenses heads etc that need to be invoiced.
Nuclear topic groups and nuclear topic leads
The Nuclear Topic Groups (NTG), each led by a Nuclear Topic Lead (NTL), are to provide robust scrutiny of proposed work package specifications and ensure due consideration is given to the applicability of the proposed work across all of ONR Divisions.
Procedures (see Annex 2 for flow diagram):
Work package specification:
- The Technical Customer writes the work package specification. The specification is to include clear business case (project justification) project objectives and deliverables and timescales. For NSS projects, the specification is to be reviewed by the Nuclear Topic Group to ensure it is relevant to the current research objectives of ONR, and there are no conflicts/overlaps with existing or planned projects initiated by each of the Divisions in ONR.
- The Lead Assessor (GDA) or Head of Unit (NSS projects) will sign-off the Work Package Specification.
- The Technical Customer is to consult the TSF Capability Matrix to identify suitable Technical Support Contractors (TSCs). Since all TSCs have been pre-tendered, a Technical Customer may request a single TSC to submit a proposal. In choosing a TSC, its technical capability and familiarity with the work package area and ONR's operations is important, but due consideration must be made with regard to potential conflicts of interest.
- For more detailed information about Approved Contractors, contact NSS Admin Team.
- The Technical Customer can seek proposals from more than one TSC and can select the one that offers the right level of innovation and value for money.
- A Technical Contractors Assessment (TCA) meeting may be arranged to assess the TSCs capability to deliver the work package. The Technical Customer should record any decision regarding the selection of the contractor and outcome of the TCA meeting or justification for not arranging a TCA meeting.
- In exceptional circumstances, contracts to be let with other contractors outside the TSF need justification and Head of Division approval for doing so. Contracts placed outside the TSF with a projected value >50k will be required to be let as a competitive tender see RPU for further advice.
- The Technical Customer will request a proposal of work from the TSC based on the approved work package specification.
- Once received from the Contractor, the Technical Customer and/or Nuclear Topic Group will assess the proposal against the work package specification. If acceptable, the proposal is authorised by the following, depending on its value:
<50k approval by Superintending Inspector
50k - 150k approval by Deputy Chief Inspector (or SCS)
>150k approval by Chief Inspector or Division 6 Director.
- The Technical Customer completes sections 1-4 of the NSS1 form. For work placed with HSL, completed sections 1-3 of the HSL1 form.
Identification of security and commercial issues:
- Due consideration must be made of any security implications of placing contracts involving Sensitive Nuclear Information (SNI) with contractors, or placing contracts which will be executed outside the UK (regardless of whether the contractor has UK-based operations).
- If the work involves SNI or contractors based outside the UK, please see Security Procedures BMS [2009/253073 Guidance for Meeting the Security & Commercial Requirements in the Procurement of TSC Serivces to Provide Assessment Support].
- If the work will be executed overseas, please see Export Control Procedures BMS [2009/251013 Generic Design Assessment Export Control Procedure Version B.
- Due consideration must be made with regard to potential issues in relation to disclosure of proprietary information or intellectual property to potential contractors. If this is the case, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) should be in place prior to the contract being let. Please see the Security Procedures BMS for more details [2009/253073 Guidance for Meeting the Security & Commercial Requirements in the Procurement of TSC Serivces to Provide Assessment Support]
- The Technical Customer completes the NSS1 form (sections 5-7) (sections 4-5 of HSL1 form for work placed with HSL).
- A copy of the completed and authorised NSS1 or HSL1 form should be kept in the project file.
- The NSS Admin Team send the signed-off proposal to RPU. RPU will prepare and send the contract to the contractor. For GDA work, this will also include the Commissioning Letter prepared by the GDA Project Management Office.
Work package execution:
- RPU notify the Technical Customer and NSS Admin Team of receipt of the signed contract from the contractor.
- Technical Customer to receive and accept the project deliverables against the agreed project specification.
- In the event the deliverables are considered not acceptable, the Technical Customer should liaise with the NSS Admin Team to resolve the issue with the contractor.
Work package closeout:
- The Technical Customer notifies the NSS Admin Team for final invoicing and project closeout.