A survey commissioned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) into stakeholder perceptions of its work shows positive progress in mission to clean-up the UK’s nuclear legacy sites.
A survey commissioned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) into stakeholder perceptions of its work shows the non-departmental body is making positive progress in its mission to clean-up the UK’s nuclear legacy sites.
The results showed an increase in positive perception, and a ringing endorsement of NDA staff’s professionalism and integrity.
The work, conducted by Opinion Research Services (ORS) during the summer of 2022, saw a record 829 external stakeholders offer their views on the NDA’s performance – around 200 more than the previous survey in 2020.
As in 2020, two groups of stakeholders took part. Key stakeholders well-known to the NDA, interacting on a regular basis, took part in telephone interviews. Subscribers to NDA digital communications who might not be known to the NDA, including people who labelled themselves as “general public”, completed an online survey.
The percentage of key stakeholders who said the NDA acts in an open and transparent manner rose significantly to 89% – compared to 78% back in 2020. Among digital stakeholders less familiar with the NDA the figure rose to 54% from 52%.
Almost all key stakeholders (98%) believe NDA is essential for the successful clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy, and this was backed by 84% of digital stakeholders who also believe the NDA is essential to the success of the mission.
There was a substantial rise in the percentage of key stakeholders who would speak positively of the NDA – with 64% agreeing, compared to 45% two years ago.
The NDA’s leadership was also given a vote of confidence by key stakeholders – rising to 88% approval this year, compared to 64% in 2020. There was also a 10% point increase in confidence among other digital stakeholders. Their approval rating of NDA’s leadership increased to 45%, up from 35% in 2020.
Another feature of the survey from key stakeholders who interact regularly with the NDA were positive descriptions and feedback of their personal engagements with NDA staff – with many paying tribute to NDA staff’s professionalism, integrity, openness and kindness.
John McNamara, the NDA’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement, said the improving results were testament to the commitment and hard work of NDA staff who engage with external stakeholders.
The results reveal a fascinating collection of viewpoints on how we engage, and how others see us. But they particularly point towards a professional yet open manner of engagement which our key stakeholders are clearly appreciative of.
The work of the NDA depends to a large extent on the “social licence” afforded to us by external stakeholders, and this research, carried out every two years, gives us independent feedback on how stakeholders perceive our progress, on how we engage, and on what the NDA could do better.
Working closely with stakeholders to co-create our strategy is just one reason why these results are improving. It is about involving our stakeholders too, and above all listening to their viewpoints.
Approval ratings are much higher among key stakeholders close to the NDA’s work, but it was noticeable that positive results were achieved in both stakeholder groups. Of particular significance to the NDA is that approval ratings among key stakeholders working closely with NDA showed very positive increases compared to the previous survey in 2020.
All stakeholders who took part were asked about the NDA’s role and reputation, its performance, culture and leadership, and thoughts on the NDA’s mission progress.
The survey was anonymised, but those taking part identified themselves as community representatives, regulators, UK Government and devolved administrations, NGOs, academia, supply chain, and almost 400 people who classed themselves “members of the public.”
Other highlights of the survey include:
- the percentage of key stakeholders who understand the work of the NDA stands at 96% – the highest level recorded over the past decade. Among digital stakeholders it stands at 78%
- some 80% of key stakeholders say they trust the NDA, while 52% of digital stakeholders trust the NDA – but it should be noted this figure is rising and is the highest recorded in the past four surveys
- key stakeholders who believe the NDA is making good mission progress is up to 85% from 82% back in 2020. The figure for other stakeholders stands at 52%
- key stakeholders who believe NDA is positively helping to create sustainable communities has risen to 87% this year from 75% in 2020. Among digital stakeholders it has also increased to 59% from 56% in 2020
- the percentage of key stakeholders who believe the NDA reports effectively to them has increased to 89% from 75% in 2020. Among digital stakeholders it stands at 62%.
The research also highlights areas where stakeholders feel NDA could be doing better including:
- the challenge for NDA to reach a wider, more diverse set of stakeholders
- more communication from the NDA around the technical challenges faced in dealing with high-hazard materials
- reservations about NDA achieving value for money – though they do see the “One NDA” approach as a step forward
- stakeholders in other parts of the country seeing the NDA as too focussed on their operations in West Cumbria.
For more information contact the NDA Head of Stakeholder Relations [email protected].