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Case Study

Behavioural Science for Leadership in Safety Eddie Stevens, DCIS Area Assurance Lead, Environment Agency Case Study

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Eddie Stevens is a DCIS Area Assurance Lead at the Environment Agency. You can read his personal review of our Behavioural Science programme, here.

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Fifteen months ago, we developed a new role within the business called Area Assurance Lead – and I’m one of those, covering Devon and Cornwall. In all, there are fourteen of us covering a different area within England. Our role is to make sure that the work we do is done safely, which is why we were put on the Behavioural Science training programme as part of our induction.

The training was so beneficial that I encouraged others within my leadership team to take part. Initially eighteen colleagues completed it, and the feedback was very good. Now, a further twenty-five are progressing through it.

The Environment Agency, like any other business, is fast paced. That’s why the training is so good – it enables the leadership team to take time out to develop themselves, to think about the most effective leadership styles and how to lead a safe team. The content really stops and makes you think – especially performance versus results. The training is making a noticeable difference.

The biggest takeaway for me personally, is Darren’s view that you don’t have to wait ten-years to change a culture. You can start straight away by doing something small each day to try and influence someone to act safer and to behave differently. There tends to be a bit of an ethos out there that you can’t shift a culture for years – but you can. I’ve been in my role for fifteen months and we’ve seen significant changes to our management information around how people behave. The volume and quantity of active monitoring reports that people submit, the amount of lone usage working – I’ve got all sorts of information that demonstrates during this time, our performance has improved.

Behavioural Science also tends to have a domino effect whereby the people who’ve finished the training are encouraging others to do it or implementing what they’ve learnt as a result of it. Now, when we have our safety meetings we start with a health, safety and wellbeing theme – and that becomes our focus. We do a lot of in-house training, so people regularly hear my voice, that’s why it’s so refreshing to have Darren come in to deliver the programme.

The number one priority for Devon and Cornwall is the health, safety and wellbeing of the people who work here and making sure they go home safe and well – every single day. I believe we can do that through improving our culture. It boils down to people being proud and wanting to be safe as opposed to being told to be safe and not really understanding why.

Eddie Stevens

DCIS Area Assurance Lead, Environment Agency

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