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James Stewart on Health, Safety & Quality

- 18/11/20

Following the launch of our Sustainable Standard framework, we wanted to dive a bit deeper into the different initiatives that underpin it. James Stewart is our Health, Safety and Environmental Manager and is going to tell us about some of the projects that he is working on.

You have been with Rye for just under a year. Why did you join and what are your priorities?

James: It is easy in some organisations for Health and Safety and Quality management to be a tick box exercise but I really wanted to join an organisation that takes it seriously and that wants to drive initiatives forward. When I met Simon (Managing Director) to discuss the role I instantly understood that what he wanted done wasn’t just a matter of routine, that he takes these areas seriously and wants to drive the organisation forward, so that was really interesting to me.

In terms of priorities, it is evolving. First of all I am ensuring the processes and communication channels support safe day to day operations and that I can be available if necessary. Beyond that I am on a continual cycle of audits to review and improve our operational practices and, in addition, I have a list of projects that we are seeking to implement.

These will take time but are aligned with the vision of making sure Rye sets the standard and delivers service excellence whilst positively impacting the whole of society.

James Stewart
Tom Barlow

Can you give some examples of these projects and what you hope to achieve through them?

James: There is a long list but, I’ll share a couple of key examples.

First, retention of our three ISO accreditations that cover quality management, environmental practices and health and safety. Retention of these standards are vital for us for a couple of reasons. They are a stamp of approval that demonstrates our competence to clients but, beyond that, in order to retain the accreditations, we must demonstrate that we are reviewing and improving how we work. So retention of the certification is a sign of continual improvement, meaning we are always upping our game.

In addition, we are working on a renewed approach to training and development for all employed staff. We see this as important, as it means that, not only are we able to deliver better services, but we are helping develop individuals’ careers. Helping people develop will make them more productive, safer and more committed to delivering excellent services.

One final initiative I’ll highlight now is the introduction of consistent satisfaction reporting. We have open and collaborative relationships with clients and we discuss challenges throughout a project. To ensure we maintain a focus on continuous improvement however, we want to have a record of client satisfaction against which to measure performance, so we’ll be rolling this out in the coming weeks and months.

How do you see this impacting the team and company as a whole over the coming years?

James: I see it as an evolution. Simon has always been hot on ensuring the whole team operates safely and delivers the best possible solution but I think that, with additional people on board looking at these areas and resource behind these initiatives we will see the pace of improvement pick up.

I expect the impact to be positive for the company but, more importantly for our clients as we will be better placed to deliver projects to an increasing standard whilst protecting their reputations as we enhance our operational practices.

The goal is to set the industry standard and I firmly believe we can achieve that. Though the battle never stops!

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