OPERATIONAL AUDITS AND ASSURANCE PROGRAMS

Know your risks are being managed with effective Operational Audits and an integrated Assurance Program

 

SPAN has an in-house team of assurance specialists and auditors that have first hand experience in designing and implementing assurance programs and conducting operational audits for large and small organizations with high risk operations. SPAN provides an end-to-end solution for auditing and assurance that drives efficiency and maximizes value of your limited resources, making sure you provide assurance on the most important parts of your business and get the "biggest bang for the buck". 

 

SPAN'S ASSURANCE SERVICES 

SPAN caters for each company's specific needs by tailoring the following services: 

Corporate Assurance Programs

Audit Program Management

Audits and Assessments

  • Aligning and integrating assurance activities across the organization to maximize value and reduce duplication 
  • Incorporating and prioritizing operational risk, compliance and due diligence obligations
  • Ensuring responsibilities and accountabilities are clearly defined and that assurance quality is being achieved, so nothing gets missed 
  • Audit program standards, processes, procedures, training and competency requirements
  • Internal auditor training development and delivery
  • Annual audit scoping, planning, scheduling and resource estimating
  • Audit program oversight, support and review
  • Lead Auditor services including leading, coaching and supporting internal and external audit personnel
  • Certified auditors who are independent, professional and experienced, and have the combined technical and audit capabilities to suit any audit situation
  • Independent and objective audit reporting and presentations for Boards and Executives 

 

 

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WHY IS OPERATIONAL ASSURANCE IMPORTANT?

Our business environment is becoming more and more complex. We are doing a good job of preventing failures with advanced engineering and technology solutions but we still have incidents. Major incident investigations continually identify the root causes to be breakdowns in processes and human interactions over a period of time leading up to an incident. The "swiss-cheese" model of multiple barriers failing, and therefore causing an incident, is still relevant, but experts agree that the relationships between processes and people are much more complex than that, and the only way to prevent incidents is to be doing everything well, all the time. 

A cornerstone of any top performing company is the ability to verify operational performance and management system effectiveness over time and continually root out gaps in operational processes that can lead to failures. An effective assurance program is a critical component of your management system to identify failures, mitigate risks and drive continuous improvement. 

“A number of past CSB investigations have found companies focusing on personal injury rates while virtually overlooking looming process safety issues – like the effectiveness of barriers against hazardous releases, automatic shutoff system failures, activation of pressure relief devices, and loss of containment of liquids and gases. Furthermore, we have found failures by companies to implement their own recommendations from previous accidents involving, for example, leaks of flammable materials.”

Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chairperson, US Chemical Safety Board

 

THE RIGHT APPROACH, EXPERIENCE AND TOOLS TO DO THE JOB

SPAN's operational assurance approach, experience and tools have been built up over years of first hand experience as internal audit group leads as well as through the provision of audit and consulting services.  

The Right Approach

SPAN has honed its approach to operational assurance into a practical and efficient model for companies to use. At the highest level we believe that assurance has to be embedded into operations to extract the greatest level of value. This means making sure all inspection, monitoring, assessment and audit activities that provide assurance are identified, managed and working effectively.  

SPAN has a flexible approach to conducting Current State Evaluations to identify any assurance gaps and then make sure they get addressed as part of the program design and implementation.This means identifying critical assurance practices that already exist throughout the organization and testing their effectiveness at providing reliable assurance. At this time we also identify any low value or duplicated processes and make recommendations to redeploy or save valuable resources.

At the top of the assurance pyramid is the formal audit program that provides independent and objective management system and compliance assurance. These activities are very resource intensive and we make sure they are designed and implemented in the most efficient manner, meanwhile making sure they are providing the Board and Executive with the assurance they need.  

 

The Right Experience

SPAN has decades of experience designing and implementing in-house assurance programs, and conducting management system and compliance audits. Our Assurance Practice Lead, Evan Baker, has worked in-house for large upstream and pipeline Oil and Gas companies leading their compliance and management system audit programs, as well as consulting to numerous companies for a total of over 30 years. Tom Lofthouse has spent over 15 years as an auditor and consultant, working across North America for numerous large scale upstream, midstream, pipeline companies as well as other high risk operations.  

Our team prides itself on continuously learning and getting better, so we stay at the forefront of emerging standards, regulations and techniques. We then pass them onto our clients through the design and implementation audit and assurance programs, auditor and specialist training, coaching and other knowledge sharing activities.   

 

The Right Tools

SPAN has built up an Assurance Program Tool-Kit that we use for all of our projects. the Tool-Kit includes templates for assurance programs, procedures, and checklists, audit protocols, concordance mappings between multiple sets of standards and regulations, and our Octane software for conducting audits, capturing data and reporting on results and action plans.    

Having a proven Tool-Kit with our approaches and experience built in, means we can work more efficiently and get results faster, while maintaining a high quality standard of care.

 

Ultimately, SPAN's assurance services are risk-based, resource-optimized and aligned with stakeholder needs. This integrated approach, from field operations to corporate, validates and verifies that operational performance is being achieved, risks are being mitigated and commitments are being met. Boards and Executives and Board Members demand a clear line of sight into your organization, and SPAN designs, implements and embeds operational audit and assurance programs to meet their needs.

 

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

Our assurance and audit services are flexible and efficient to cater to your needs. We have the right experience, approach, tools and certifications to enhance your assurance practices and help you drive continuous improvement.

Evan Baker, Assurance Practice Lead, SPAN

What our clients say

"Our member companies were concerned that their information could be unsecure, and we were concerned we couldn't scale up our systems as our programs grow; we are solving both by implementing Octane."

PATRICK SMYTH

VP Performance, CEPA - Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

"Our clients are often shy to speak publicly, but I can say that they commonly rave about our people and how easy we are to work with. As an owner I am proud to claim that we have a 100% client satisfaction rate and I encourage you to ask for references to hear those stories for yourself."

ALEX EDDINGTON

Principal and Owner, SPAN Consulting

"I'm glad we have Octane. I can't imagine doing these assessments with a spreadsheet."

MARK GORMAN

EVP - Plains All American Pipeline

Case studies and resources

Plains All American Management System Implementation

Plains All American uses Octane to accelerate implementation of its API RP 1173 Pipeline Safety Management System.

Download Case Study



SPAN's Top 10 Gap Assessment Best Practices for API
RP 1173

We have created a list of best practices to make sure you get the maximum value out of your API RP 1173 Gap Assessment.

Read More



Whitepaper: Management System Auditing with ISO 19011:2018

Our Assurance Practice Lead Evan Baker provides insights into the updated auditing standard for Management Systems

Download Whitepaper

Whitepaper: Implementing API RP 1173 - How to get started

We have created this introductory Whitepaper to explain the basics of API RP 1173 and enable you to get started.

Download Whitepaper

A sample of our specialists

Evan Baker

Assurance Practice Lead

Evan Baker

Assurance Practice Lead

Evan Baker - Assurance Practice Lead, Auditor, Senior Consultant

 

An Environmental, Regulatory and Assurance Systems specialist with 30 years experience developing and managing audit and assurance programs, management systems, environmental impact assessments and applications, and leading environmental teams, programs and projects.

 

His work has included oil and gas, pipelines, water and wastewater plants, rail, power plants, wind energy, and chemical industries in Canada, the US, Europe and South America.

Tom Lofthouse

Assurance Specialist | Senior Consultant

Tom Lofthouse

Assurance Specialist | Senior Consultant

Tom Lofthouse - Assurance Specialist, Program Design Lead, Senior Consultant

 

Tom is an Operational risk and assurance specialist with 20 years of experience developing and managing EH&S assurance programs, management systems and compliance projects.

 

Industry experience includes pipeline, midstream and upstream oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, power generation and major construction projects across the United States and Canada.

Alex Eddington

Principal

Alex Eddington

Principal

Alex Eddington - Principal, Co-Founder, Management System Expert

 

Alex has spent his career of over twenty years designing, implementing and auditing management systems in pipelines, midstream and upstream oil and gas, along with utilities and municipal operations.

 

Alex has led the design and implementation of multiple Pipeline Safety Management System and Operations Management System implementations and supporting processes such as risk management, regulatory management, Health & Safety, Asset Integrity, Process Safety and Safety Culture to name a few. Alex is also a certified management system auditor and typically supports most SPAN projects as a technical expert and advisor.  

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