Based upon the (assigned) priorities, the inspecting authority sets targets and objectives. In order to establish whether these objectives and targets can be and will be met, the output and the outcome must be monitored. This is generally done by using performance indicators. Examples of performance indicators on outcome that may be useful are:
- The amount of incidents or complaints occurring;
- The level of compliance;
- The actual achievement of reduction targets for certain pollutants or certain risks at the sites that are directly regulated or enforced by the inspection authority;
- Improvement of air, land and water quality through the actions of the inspectorate to improve compliance.
The inspecting authority may want to link its objectives with certain inspection strategies to ensure that these objectives can be met in both an effective and efficient manner, causing minimal burdens for the company and the authority. It may furthermore want to adopt and use certain communication strategies for exchanging information internally and with other competent authorities.
Subjects that can be addressed are:
- co-operation and information exchange between inspecting organisations and other authorities;
- the character and form of inspection;
- the effect of the operator’s behaviour on the inspection frequency;
- the path of administrative and/or criminal follow-up upon non-compliance, which must be firm, fair and unambiguous in case of non-compliance.
The term strategy in this document refers to the way objectives are to be reached.
Objectives and measurable targets
The priorities that we have set in the previous chapter tell us what activities/installations need our attention. Having set these priorities it is now time to define the objectives and targets.
The objectives that we define here should not be confused with the overall goals that inspecting authorities have to take into account as part of the context and that are input for the risk assessment.
Setting targets on inputs and outputs
Over recent years inspectorates have become increasingly interested in steering and assessing their performance.
At its most straightforward, an inspectorate can assess its performance against targets on inputs and outputs. Targets on inputs could for example relate to a certain amount of staff time to be allocated to specific supervision activities. Targets on outputs could, for example, relate to the number of site inspections to be carried out, or the number of emission reports to be validated within a certain time period. These indicators help to steer the timely delivery of the planned activities without exceeding the allocated resources. These targets can be periodically adjusted to increase the amount of activity for a set level of resource or to maintain the level of activity against a reduction in available resource. Managing performance against input and output targets in this way encourages an inspectorate to carry out its work in a planned and efficient way. However, that’s not to say that the activities that the inspectorate has chosen to undertake and measure will necessarily be the most effective in terms of achieving Policy or environmental outcomes. Using appropriate input and output targets can be useful but inspection authorities need to recognise the risks and limitations of over-reliance on them. If used without any reference to outcomes they can simply lead to an inspectorate doing ineffective activity more efficiently. See factsheet 3.05 on how targets on outcome should be set.
Inspection strategies to ensure compliance
In order to actually achieve a certain target we need to determine what inspection activities in that particular case have the greatest positive effect on compliance. By doing so we can further determine the resources needed and use our resources in the most effective and efficient way. In many cases a mix of activities is the most appropriate strategy. In some cases however an inspecting authority may be limited in its choices because it is obliged to perform specific inspection activities, based on national legislation.
An inspection strategy to help ensure compliance may include:
- specific ways of compliance checking (e.g. certain routine and non-routine inspections, in-depth investigations, verification of self monitoring data;
- specific compliance promotion activities;
- specific approaches and ways to remedy and sanction (repeated) non-compliances.
See factsheet 3.06 on how to determine the best inspection strategy.
Output: Objectives and measurable targets and inspection and communication strategies