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«Managing Regulatory Body Competence IAEA SAFETY STANDARDS AND RELATED PUBLICATIONS IAEA SAFETY STANDARDS Under the terms of Article III of its ...»

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— Ability to examine and to identify the need for new regulations and guides or the amendment of existing regulations and guides (e.g. based on feedback on the implementation of existing regulations, emerging technologies, changing standards and new laws);

— Ability to identify and to address appropriately interfaces with other laws, regulations and guides;

— Ability to draft regulations and guides to meet technical and legal requirements in ways which are thorough, consistent, understandable and practicable;

— Ability in drafting to adequately assess and incorporate, as applicable, comments received by interested parties.

3.1.4. Quadrant 4: Personal and behavioural competences Analytical thinking and problem solving This competence area is about approaching problems objectively, gathering and integrating information, and developing a comprehensive understanding to reach conclusions.

Examples of KSAs could be:

— Ability to assimilate and to synthesize information gathered from various sources (such as interviewing, observation and examining documentation);

— Ability to analyse information and to identify key issues related to safety in facilities or activities;

— Ability to analyse problems;

— Ability to arrive at sound conclusions and to make sound judgements;

— Ability to assimilate information and data gathered from several sources and to give written recommendations to the regulatory body management. Personal effectiveness and self-management

This competence area can be divided into three categories:

Information technology competence: This competence is using technology (1) to create, gather, manipulate, communicate or share information.

Planning and organization of work competence: This competence is (2) effective and efficient coordination of tasks to achieve a desired objective.

Self-management competence: This competence is working independently, (3) exercising judgement and exhibiting flexibility in the completion of activities, especially during difficult or challenging situations.

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(a) Information technology competence:

(i) Ability to use computer software for word processing, spread sheets, Internet communication and data storage.

(b) Planning and organization of work competence:

(i) Ability to set priorities, organize work and meet scheduled objectives;

(ii) Ability to find more effective ways of achieving objectives.

(c) Self-management competence:

(i) Ability to adapt behaviour to accommodate the sensitivities of others, cope with stressful situations and sustain mental effort to achieve objectives;

(ii) Ability to recognize one’s own strengths and weaknesses and to plan accordingly for personal training;

(iii) Ability to assess periodically one’s own performance and to work towards improvement. Communication

This competence area is engaging in effective dialogue, representation and interaction with others (i.e. licensees, colleagues and the public) through committed listening, speaking, writing or delivery of presentations, understanding the true interests of people and delivering meaningful messages.

Examples of KSAs could be:

— Ability to talk effectively in small groups and to large audiences;

— Appreciation of the needs, interests and expectations of various groups;

— Ability to respond appropriately to questions and to provide factual answers consistent with regulatory body policy;

— Ability to communicate complex issues clearly;

— Ability to inform duty holders, employee and safety representatives and others of the outcome of investigations and actions proposed or required. Team work This competence area is working collaboratively with others to achieve common objectives.

Examples of KSAs could be:

— Ability to cooperate well with other team members and to maintain a positive and productive atmosphere;

— Ability to show flexibility in response to change and to maintain commitment to team objectives even when one’s own ideas are not supported. Managerial and leadership competences

This competence area can be divided into four categories:

Strategic management competence: This competence area is a deep (1) understanding of an organization, its strategies and high level goals, planning, work organization, follow-up activities and decision making.

Leadership competence: This competence area is exemplified by the (2) practice of tolerance, objectivity, openness, fairness and ability to inspire others.

Negotiation competence: This competence area is to reconcile different (3) views and to persuade others to accept a resolution.

Project management competence: This competence area is completing a (4) set of complex tasks in a coordinated manner to a pre-set time, scope and budget.

Examples of KSAs could be:

(a) Strategic management competence:

(i) Ability to develop a viable strategic plan;

(ii) Ability to develop sound policies for the organization;

(iii) Ability to recognize the need to change policies and strategies;

(iv) Appreciation of external factors, and environmental and social issues.

(b) Leadership competence:

(i) Ability to adjust the level of authority and support to suit individual circumstances;

(ii) Ability to convey confidence in others’ abilities, give constructive feedback and coaching, and inspire enthusiasm;

(iii) Ability to be approachable and open to suggestions from others.

(c) Negotiation competence:

(i) Ability to resolve differences by encouraging alternative proposals, taking into account the positions of all interested parties and facilitating open discussion.

(d) Project management competence:

(i) Ability to develop project plans, establish deliverables and success criteria, and schedule activities;

(ii) Appreciation of potential problems, and ability to allocate resources and to identify alternative strategies;

(iii) Ability to provide accurate, complete and timely project status reports;

(iv) Ability to establish a strategy appropriate to the circumstance and to provide advice on measures to mitigate any immediate risk. Safety culture competence This competence area is the necessary KSAs to promote and to support a strong safety culture effectively (see Ref. [2]).

Examples of KSAs could be:

— Comprehension of the key aspects of safety culture within the organization;

— Comprehension of the ITO concepts (individuals, technology and organization) in the regulatory body;

— Learning and questioning attitude;

— Comprehension of the importance to provide means by which the organization continually seeks to develop and to improve its safety culture.


The competence analysis can be used for different purposes. In this case, the competence model described in Section 3 suggests a basis for assessing competence needs for both the near and the medium future. Managers of the regulatory body need to estimate existing competences. By comparing the existing with required competences, a gap analysis can be conducted and priorities for action developed (see Fig. 2).

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The functions of the regulatory body are described in IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 1 (see Refs [1, 7]). The main regulatory functions


— Review and assessment;

— Authorization;

— Inspection;

— Enforcement;

— Development of regulations and guides.

Additional regulatory functions are, for example:

— Research and development;

— Emergency preparedness and response;

— International cooperation;

— Communication with the public and interested parties.

Regulatory functions have associated tasks which require certain sets of KSAs. Managers determine the necessary tasks to accomplish the function of the organizational unit. This may be done through a collective judgement by the manager and others involved. Appendix I provides examples of tasks and associated competence areas for the main regulatory functions.

Before going into the detailed analysis, it could be useful to develop an initial overview of the main quadrant competence areas required to perform the functions of the regulatory body. Appendix II provides an example of the quadrant competence areas required for a hypothetical regulatory body, according to its functions.


Each of the tasks identified above requires a certain competence (KSAs).

Managers have the responsibility to identify the KSAs associated with each task and to determine the level of competence necessary for a specific task, taking into account the functions and structure of the organization. When determining the current needs, future needs and aspirations of the organization can also be considered.

In the present model, the level of competence is rated high, medium or basic. However, a regulatory body may opt for using more than three levels and

might choose different definitions. The levels can be defined as:

Basic: General competence in the area concerned;

(a) Medium: A competence level sufficient in routine cases;

(b) High: A competence level required for more sophisticated cases or at the (c) strategic level within the regulatory body.

4.3. ANALYSING COMPETENCE GAPS The following steps are to enable staff perform self-assessment. The self-assessment can be done by each individual or as the consolidated results of a team if there are various members performing similar tasks. A source of information to estimate the existing competence is personal performance reviews, as they examine each individual’s competence and discuss proposed competence development.

The next step is to review and to evaluate the existing competences and to carry out gap analysis, taking into account the required competences. The competence gaps can be accumulated to reflect the staff’s competence gaps at any organizational level or for the organization as a whole. In addition, knowledge gaps for the organization as a whole can be identified and remedied through knowledge management processes.


Managers, with the necessary help and support from those involved in competence management, need to prioritize the gaps, taking into account their importance to the regulatory functions. The prioritization decided needs to impact the planning process.


The IAEA has produced a methodology1 accompanied by a software based tool called SARCoN, which assists in the implementation of the approach See http://www-ns.iaea.org/training/ni/tools-networking.asp?s=9&l=75.

described above. It helps in the gathering and analysing of information on competence needs, existing competences and the implementation of gap analyses.

The software tool includes a comprehensive question set to identify KSA gaps in each of the quadrant competence areas of the four-quadrant model outlined in Section 3. Additionally, it automates the gathering and processing of data.


Having established a gap analysis and the associated short and long term priorities, the regulatory body now has to implement its programme for addressing the competence gaps. Managers may decide to acquire competence by training and developing existing staff, by reallocating existing competence within the organization to fill gaps, by recruiting or by outsourcing. Each regulatory body will have differing views on the exact composition to use. In modern society, the availability of information through electronic media and the ability to communicate widely and effectively throughout the world — either through direct personal interaction or through available media — mean that much knowledge can be gained from other regulators through networking.

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