The agenda 14 behind the screens - Day 9

As great people have said before me “And now, the end is near And so I face the final curtain”, well actually it would be a bit pointless to face our final curtain and rather rude to the audience but hopefully you get my point. It’s been a journey as they say, both geographically, educationally and hopefully for you a little insight into the requirements of Annex SL through the eyes of an assessor.

I was going to call this last blog “Packing the van”, but whilst the van doors have closed for the last time, the ideas and discussions will go on. The questions asked and points raised will hopefully give the attendees something to think about as they plan their transitions to the Annex SL versions for their respective management systems.

When I started this diary of my days on The agenda 14, I expected at some point for the title to evolve into “Behind the Screams” as living in the agenda bubble drove us slightly mad. Yes Kevin did try and take Claire out with a light fitting and I nearly missed my slot at the National Motorcycle Museum, but as a team we’ve stuck together and there have been far far more laughs than tears.

The last clause, clause 10 Improvement, brings us back to the beginning of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, or at least to the Act bit. For many Annex SL is bringing very significant changes to this clause. Preventive action has gone completely and we are left with corrective action and a simple statement to continually improvement. I’m sure that this is absolutely right. It will help organisations to focus on corrective action, hopefully give them the space to think beyond correction and avoid any confusion about whether preventing reoccurrence is preventive or corrective action. In case you’ve not followed all these blogs and were wondering where good old clause 8.3 has gone you now need to look to the beginning of the standard and risk management as part of planning.

If you didn’t get to The agenda 14 this year, you missed a good one, it remains to be seen whether Rob and Keith will be brought together again, but if there’s the demand perhaps we might be brought out of retirement, perhaps a festival special.

What did I get from The agenda?

A great deal, personally and professionally. It’s been fun and informative. It’s been good to get a chance to talk to clients outside of the framework of the assessment and not have to write up a report at the end of the day. A wise client/friend of mine over the last 7 years had demonstrated to me in the past that often the best way to learn about something is to set yourself a goal, a deadline, it really helps to focus the mind. So The agenda proved for me, the chance to read and research areas that often get pushed to the bottom of the pile.

What will I take away with me and why I would recommend attending The agenda. For me it’s about inspiring others. It’s easy to get stuck in your own familiar context and standard, but, and especially true of the move of all standards to Annex SL, increasingly there are opportunities to get ideas and answers from other management systems. That’s why although I set myself several objectives for the two weeks some of them got dropped so I could seize the moment to engage in an interesting discussion. We all work in organisations with our own culture, policies and processes, but that should not stop us stepping away for a day and asking “how do you do this?” Sometimes we conclude that it’s better or easier to stick with what we know, but occasionally you get a moment, when you think “you know what? That’s amazing, why don’t we do it that way”. The agenda won’t guarantee those moments, but with over 1,000 people attending over the 2 weeks you’ll increase your chances of getting one.


Finally I’d like to give my thanks David for giving me the opportunity and to Keith for sharing over 10 hours on the stage with me and perhaps most importantly to Kevin, Richard, Claire, Giles and Amanda, you’ve been my inspiration.