The agenda 14 behind the screens - Day 3

"Left a little bit" said David, "no right a bit" said Kevin. Screen positioning is a delicate business but as with the balancing of the audio across the speakers absolutely key to good presentation. Being part of The agenda team was proving to be so much more than talking about information security I am finding out. Is interplay like this between management giving me insight into our market positioning and a view on top management discussions?

Having arrived late the night before in Newcastle following a long drive south from Perth there was a sense of urgency in the room as again a morning set up was needed before the delegates arrive. Today's audio visual lesson then was about fine lines and margins. You need to be in control of the straight lines on the screen, but often face the challenge, as in this case, of whether to use our screen and projector or the hotel’s. We are pretty flexible and Giles has most things covered with different configurations for front and rear projection.

The agenda 14, like all those that have gone before has a simple structure. A welcome from David, then Kevin with an overview of latest news on standards. This year ISO 55001 (asset management) is a major talking point, did you know you can do a degree in Terotechnology?

Keith and I complete the morning session before Richard takes the delegates through all the potential changes to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 in the afternoon. Given that the majority of delegates are quality, health and safety or environment managers, the afternoon session is eagerly awaited and is clearly popular from the feedback we've received.

So having established yesterday the need to understand organisational context, a requirement that crosses all the Annex SL based standards, we turn our attention to scope. For many this starts with the scope that appears on the certificate. As an assessor I spend a fair bit of time on this, as part of an initial assessment visit is how companies want to present themselves through the delivery of their products and services and is clearly critical for their operation and submission as part of bids to opportunities. But scope for all standards now is about ensuring that the external and internal issues identified in the context are referred to so that it’s clear who’s in, who’s out (I leave the shaking it all about to Richard [for international readers please refer to the text of the Hokey Cokey]).

From an assessors point of view scope is often the first element of documentation we see, a record that establishes the boundary for what we are going to assess. There are many aspects to a good scope, but for me fundamentally it helps me to understand two things. What resources does the management system draw on and what is the practical framework for the risk method.

Where my reflections on Perth were about getting the basics right, Newcastle proved to be more about the specifics and details. Discussions on appropriate technologies and relationships with the supply chain seemed to be the topics that attendees wanted to talk about. What or whether to share those details with the supply chain or customer, perhaps you have some experience on this topic?

So back to The agenda and structure of the day’s end. Claire and Amanda always start the packing to make sure we get away in good time. Experience has taught them that once lunch is over all the hand-out material can be boxed and the reception packed away. So when David closes the day, the process of taking everything down and loading the van is aided by having an extra two pairs of hands. The drive to Leeds was uneventful and we got there in good time to meet some other colleagues and do the majority of the set-up. Perhaps a Friday lie-in will be possible . . .