UK debuts performance readiness tool

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has launched a first-of-its-kind, Performance-Based Regulation (PBR) Maturity Assessment, designed to help aviation regulators establish their readiness to adopt a performance-based approach.

Available through CAA International (CAAi), a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK CAA, the Maturity Assessment involves a two-week, on-site “health-check” of a national aviation authority. Conducted by specially trained UK CAA assessors, the assessment focuses on 16-core regulatory areas via a series of interviews, focus groups and surveys with regulatory personnel at all seniority levels.

UK CAA analysts then review the results and prepare a high-level report, highlighting strengths and areas that require further attention to support a performance-based approach. These areas could include what the UK CAA refers to as “essential elements” – items that must be resolved before PBR transformation can commence.

John Clark, safety programme manager for the UK CAA said, “Regulators looking to adopt PBR almost always start by asking ‘Where do I begin?’. Regulators need a baseline to work from and next-step priorities. The UK CAA Maturity Assessment allows regulators to establish this in a matter of weeks – something that without guidance, took the UK almost two years to achieve.”

Since the transition to PBR in the UK, the CAA and industry have seen safety information actively used to promote an open and challenging risk-based discussion between the regulator and the regulated. A performance-based approach has allowed the UK CAA to make more informed decisions on how the aviation industry is managing risk. The adoption of PBR in the UK involved many transformational changes across the UK CAA involving people, processes, systems, industry, engagement and cultural mindsets. Regulators will benefit from establishing their PBR readiness as early as possible and by utilising the UK CAA’s experiences and lessons learnt, will be able to plan an effective PBR transformation programme.

The UK CAA advocates that all regulators can start adopting PBR principles, regardless of their maturity, industry size or level of effective implementation with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). Inevitably every regulator will face unique opportunities and challenges. The UK CAA recognises there is no “right” or “wrong” way to implement PBR but hopes by sharing its experiences, know-how and lesson learnt, the UK can help fellow aviation regulators commence their journey to PBR and ultimately, benefit from the safety and efficiency improvements seen from PBR in the UK.

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