On 1 April 2014, Office for Nuclear Regulation ONR will be established as a Public Corporation under the Energy Act 2013. As a result of our change in status, you can expect to see some further changes to the way that we operate.
Setting us up in law
There have been a number of stages leading to 1 April 2014 that will establish ONR in law, with the powers to discharge our responsibilities as an independent organisation.
The Energy Act 2013 provides the framework of responsibilities and the powers of the organisation, and this cleared the final stages of Parliamentary scrutiny late last year, receiving Royal Assent on 18 December 2013. ONR is formally established by Part 3 of the Energy Act, and a Commencement Order will bring the relevant sections, and therefore the organisation, fully into being on 1 April 2014.
In addition, a number of changes were required to health and safety legislation to give ONR the powers to regulate conventional health and safety. This suite of legislation will give us the necessary powers to continue to provide efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public.
Accountability and reporting arrangements
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Secretary of State will continue to have principal responsibility for ONR governance, finance and performance in relation to conventional health and safety. A number of other Secretaries of State are answerable in Parliament for aspects of ONR’s activity, such as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (as nuclear policy lead in the UK) and Secretary of State for Defence (in respect of ONR’s work with MoD sites).
There will be a new framework agreement between ONR and DWP and a number of Memoranda of Understanding in place with various key stakeholder bodies, to ensure that roles and responsibilities are preserved. These will be published on the new ONR website www.onr.org.uk from 1 April 2014.
As the Chief Executive, John Jenkins will continue to be responsible to Parliament for safeguarding the public funds and the day-to-day operations and management of ONR.
The ONR Board must ensure that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on governance, risk management and internal control. The Chair, Nick Baldwin is responsible to the Secretary of State for ensuring that policies and actions support the responsible Minister’s and the Government’s wider strategic policies, and that the ONR Board’s affairs are conducted with probity and propriety.
The Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Andy Hall is solely responsible for regulatory decisions within ONR.
New ONR brand
To support the launch of ONR as a Public Corporation, ONR will introduce a new logo on 1 April 2014. The new logo will not be released until the day itself, but will be used on all external communication channels, and corporate publications including letters, email signatures, the new website, e-bulletin and Quarterly News.
New enforcement policy statement
From 1 April, ONR will publish a new enforcement policy statement, providing clarity to nuclear site licensees on what is expected of them in order to maintain high standards of safety and security at their sites.
A new ONR website www.onr.org.uk will launch on 1 April, separate to that of HSE. The website will include the new ONR brand, and will broadly contain the same information and structure as the current website, but there will be some subtle changes, including a larger news presence on the home page and improved navigation to key pages. You can continue to access the current website until 31 March 2014, after which all pages will be redirected to the new website address.
New Annual Plan 2014/15
We are required by the Energy Act 2013 to publish an Annual Plan setting out our priorities for nuclear regulation for the year ahead. ONR’s first plan as a Public Corporation will be published on 1 April. It sets out how ONR intends to demonstrate our value to the public in regulating the nuclear sector in 2014/15.
New inspector warrants
ONR inspectors will carry new ONR legal warrants, which they are required to have as a written instrument of their appointment. The new warrants will account for the additional legislation of the Energy Act 2013, whilst maintaining powers under the Health and Safety at Work Act. All warrant holders have received training briefings on the Energy Act and interview panels to confirm their regulatory competence in advance of ONR becoming a Public Corporation.
New personal protective equipment
ONR inspectors will wear new personal protective equipment when visiting nuclear licensed sites after 1 April. The new equipment, including high visibility jackets, vests and hard hats, incorporates the new ONR brand.
Changes to contact points
All email addresses within ONR will change from @hse.gsi.gov.uk to @onr.gsi.gov.uk, in order to reinforce ONR’s Public Corporation status. If you email ONR contacts regularly, you should not notice any disruption following the transfer, as any emails directed to the old @hse addresses will automatically redirect to the new @onr email address. ONR will continue to operate from its established locations in Bootle, Cheltenham and London offices and all contact telephone numbers will remain in place.
In order to prepare for our first year as a Public Corporation, we need to ensure that we have the right people in place to carry out various roles across the organisation. The next recruitment campaign will launch in April and will be advertised on the ONR website.