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CAS has been working with clients to help them leverage competence and culture to manage risk since 1997 when we started trading.

For 10 years or so we operated mainly in the UK rail industry working with train operators, civil engineers, systems engineers, regulators, government agencies, Network Rail and its precursor. In those years, the rail industry was still dealing with the aftermath of its privatisation in the mid-1990s and a series of major multi fatality accidents. Competence management systems were heralded as an essential plank of risk mitigation but a narrow focus on compliance meant they came to be seen as a cost of operation than a source of opportunity and hardly touched the managers or professionals running things. This reflected organisational cultures where short termism, an obsession with output, insular thinking and authoritarianism were norms. We found our way to like-minded clients which shared this perspective and wanted to do something. The Strategic Safety Management Programme we developed for Rail Safety 1998-2004 was an early breakthrough. It brought competence assessment into the Boardroom emphasising the collective responsibility for risk management and the inseparability of safety from operations. Good practice guides were published, 50 or so executive teams were assessed, benchmarks were identified. More importantly, it was clear from the results how joined at the hip are competence and culture. What we learned from this found its way into the CAS Culture Management Model that was developed in the mid-2000s. This underpinned the many Safety Culture assessments we have undertaken since.

Around the same time CAS was branching out from the rail industry in two main directions.

The first being a global audience of businesses adopting Asset Management as a strategic approach to improving their performance. CAS has been at the forefront of efforts to articulate and address the competence management and culture change implications of this in the boardroom, workplace and supply chain and has a worldwide reputation in this domain. This included leading the development of the IAM Competences Framework and Professional Qualifications, now adopted internationally.

The second saw us take our knowledge of competence management in highly regulated industries and apply it to modernising the training, testing and licensing of all categories of vehicle drivers. CAS is now a recognised authority on these matters with an unrivalled track record of projects and international clients.

Through the years CAS has been associated with forecasting the future, from the workforce predictions we produced for the ERTMS Concept and the competence management scenarios we explored for RSSB, through the many foresight exercises we conducted for Local Government, Highways Agency and West Coast Mainline, to the ten year professional development vision for the IAM in 2016 and the report we produced on autonomous vehicles for RAC Foundation in 2017.

“Our future clients stand to benefit greatly from this combination of hands-on experience, best practice reviews and predictions”, says Chris Lloyd, Chairman of CAS.

“The main thing we learned from the last 20 years? Clients need to do it for themselves. They don’t need advice as much as they need model processes, tools and independent assurance.”

CAS Managing Director Chen Chen adds, “the third party assurance we provide to compulsory training and licensing programmes come with great provenance. Clients benefit from accelerated improvement, better risk management and great learner engagement”.