ICE backed review commits to further improving safety culture

The tragedy of Grenfell Tower prompted an ICE-led industry review of how infrastructure is delivered and operated.

The report makes nine recommendations in three key areas
The report makes nine recommendations in three key areas

The review was led by past president Peter Hansford who convened a panel of experts which identified the need to strengthen lines of defence in terms of knowledge, applications and assurances throughout the lifetime of infrastructure assets.

The report In plain sight – reducing the risk of infrastructure failure makes nine recommendations in three key areas:

Lesson sharing: ICE should work with other infrastructure organisations to improve how the sector shares information from safety reviews, accidents, failures and near misses.

Competence: ICE should investigate the robustness of its continuing professional development (CPD) regime and professional code of conduct. ICE should also review the effectiveness of arrangements for professional oversight of assets in different sub-sectors of infrastructure.

Governance: ICE should work with other infrastructure organisations to identify if improvements can be made to the role played by governance in the development and management of assets. This should include the competence of boards, scrutiny systems and the presence of a technically competent engineering voice in safety critical decisions.

Panel chair and lead-author Peter Hansford said:

"The review that we have conducted has been to consider whether we fully understand vulnerabilities that lie behind the risks of serious failure in our economic infrastructure.

"The panel and I have identified a model for lines of defence against failures in infrastructure. The recommendations we make to ICE are aimed at validating and then protecting against the potential blind spots in plain sight that we have discovered in the process of compiling the report.

"There is no suggestion that there is an unacceptable risk of infrastructure failure but it is the duty of a responsible industry and professional body to take reasonable steps to protect against risk as far as possible."

In response to the independent review ICE has committed to establishing three Task and Finish groups that will take the recommendations forward. These groups will mirror the recommendations within the report and will further investigate lesson sharing, competence, and governance. It is expected that these groups will conclude their work in the Spring of 2018.

ICE president Professor Tim Broyd said:

"The country witnessed a major tragedy during the Grenfell Tower fire and it is beholden on our industry that delivers major economic infrastructure to make sure that we are fully aware of the risks of potential failure. That is why I commissioned this report and why I have asked the director general of ICE to take a series of actions in light of the recommendations.

"I would like to thank the Panel for all their work in producing this interim report in a short period of time and for helping the industry to respond appropriately to a public tragedy."