Oldham Council achieved accreditation to UKAS ISO14001 in 2012 and it’s the policy team that got it there, with a helping hand from us. Efforts to get it going had been underway for many years but staff changes, cut backs and different layers of complexity and style, had started to turn it into a bit of trial. We were brought in to get it on track.
Starting out: A first task was to glean data and knowledge from the work that had gone before. Effort focussed on clarifying legislation and its relevance, understanding and prioritising impacts in scope, checking actions from previous reviews and audits, and building a leadership team and capacity around it.
Leaps & bounds: Over a period of time the system’s modest paperwork was developed in tandem with on-the-job support of practical environmental improvements. A principal goal was to develop the skills of the Policy Team so they had the capacity and competency to lead on the commitments drawn from priorities, and more importantly extol the benefits and exploit opportunities that come out of a well-managed system. The involvement of councillors, senior executives, porters, managers and others, across all services and functions, moved things along. External audits can seem intimidating but as confidence and knowledge grew, the Team soon learned to turn them to their own advantage. Bespoke internal audit software, core business performance management, pollution training, awareness workshops, were all part of the package agreed, reviewed and modified on an ongoing basis.
The future: As the Policy Team take the Council’s EMS into its next 3 year cycle and without external help, the focus now is on further integration and achieving ambitious commitments against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges, environmental, financial, internal and external. The Team and the council as a whole should be very proud of achievements to date, they are fully deserved. They are certainly equipped to take things to new levels and we will be checking in from time to time.