Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Assurance, Policy and International Directorate

The Assurance, Policy and International Directorate delivers independent operational oversight across all of ONR's regulatory functions. The aim of the programme is to secure the confidence of stakeholders, including Government and the ONR Board/Executive, in the robustness of ONR's regulatory processes and decision making. Regulatory assurance is delivered through ONR's Assurance Framework following international good practice and HM Treasury's three lines of defence model. Continuous improvement is a key driver and the evidence-based intelligence and prioritised findings from risk-informed assurance activities are used to inform business priorities and further improve ONR's regulatory effectiveness.

Regulatory Assurance Review and Oversight (RARO)

RARO provides an independent view of ONR's regulatory performance through oversight and review of regulatory processes across all ONR's delivery programmes. This contributes to the overall assurance view as to ONR's effectiveness and efficiency as a regulator; in particular in respect of:

  • ONR's compliance with the Regulators' Code (April 2013) and consistency with IAEA International Regulatory Standards;
  • ONR's delivery programmes consistency in the regulation of dutyholders;
  • The proportionality and targeting of ONR's regulatory interventions to influence improvement and secure compliance;
  • The justification and strategic alignment of ONR's regulatory decision-making and its alignment with our enforcement policy;
  • ONR's adherence to its internal processes and guidance;
  • The mechanisms emplaced for identifying and sharing of good practices and continuous improvement opportunities; and that such practices and opportunities are implemented appropriately.

The RARO team provides a range of assurance reports to meet the ONR Board and Executive Management Team's needs. The team also shares its assurance reports with ONR's key operational programmes/functions, professional leads and delivery leads, to inform decision-making and highlight learning and continuous improvement opportunities.

Where appropriate, the RARO team will identify risks and advise on potential mitigation in the form of advice notes.

While the RARO team may be asked to advise ONR programmes on regulatory strategy and plans, and regulatory decisions, it remains independent of operational decision-making and ONR programme governance.

Knowledge management

Ensuring ONR develops and maintains the necessary regulatory culture and appropriate understanding of standards, competency and regulatory history needed to regulate effectively and efficiently.

Regulatory and technical core training, learning and development

Beginning with effective and timely staff induction and backed by a busy portfolio of both legal core training and specialist technical courses, the Learning and Development team delivers a professional capability development programme to all ONR inspectors. From recent recruits undertaking their initial legal training, to regular test-backed competence demonstration required to maintain a full ONR warrant, the ONR Learning and Development team ensures that ONR embeds the ethos of a learning organisation and promotes a consistent approach to regulatory and technical challenges.

Regulatory and technical standards

Reviewing and developing standards and guidance, ensuring they are embedded within ONR's business processes. This includes regulatory decision-making and the management of processes for the resolution of any professional disagreement.

Regulatory research

The Assurance, Policy and International Directorate manages the research identified through the Professional Leads which supports the strategic aims of effective regulation and effective regulators.