1. Introduction to ASEMS

System Revision ID ASEMS Document Version Effective From State
4669 3.2 13/12/2021 - 00:15 Extant

1.1. Introduction to ASEMS

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a duty to protect its employees, those that may be affected by its activities and the environment.  Effective Health, Safety and Environmental Protection is crucial to force protection and maximising operational capability.

Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) is a bespoke trading entity and arm’s length body of the MOD.  DE&S manage a range of complex projects to buy and support all the Products, Systems or Services that the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force need to operate effectively.  It is incumbent on the MOD to ensure that such Products, Systems or Services are acceptably safe and do not impact significantly on the environment.  It is important that the MOD has effective management systems in place in order to achieve this.

1.2. Applicability and Scope

The use of the Acquisition Safety and Environmental Management System (ASEMS) is mandated for all DE&S projects. The Chief Executive Officer is personally responsible to the Permanent Secretary for implementing MOD policy for safety and environmental protection, within DE&S.  The Chief Executive Officer delegates authority to specific safety-competent individuals to carry out this responsibility.  By applying the policy, instructions and guidance described in ASEMS, projects will be able to demonstrate the implementation of effective and efficient safety and environmental management process which satisfies legislation, Defence Regulators and departmental policy.  The aim is to ensure that all appropriate precautions are taken to prevent harm to personnel and protect the environment, consistent with providing the operational capability required by the Front Line Command (FLC) customers.

When acquiring Products, Systems or Services, safety and environmental management, including sustainable development, are to begin at the requirements definition stage and continue through service to disposal/termination.  Furthermore, all aspects of maintenance, operation (including military service) and disposal (including through-life disposal of consumables or damaged equipment) are to be taken into account.

The instruction, procedures and support set out in Part 2 of ASEMS shall be followed by all DE&S staff associated with the procurement and support of Products, Systems or Services.  They apply to all Products, Systems or Services acquired by Government, supported and managed through DE&S either directly or by organisations operating on its behalf.  ASEMS should be considered good practice by organisations outside of DE&S for acquisition safety and environmental protection.

ASEMS is not intended to:

Address Occupational Health and Safety requirements that is necessary within the department.  This is managed in accordance with JSP 375 Management of Health and Safety in Defence;

The Acronyms and Definitions that are used throughout this publication are, wherever possible, aligned with Def Stan 00-056 and other MOD publications.

1.3. ASEMS Clauses

Satisfying the requirements of the ASEMS policy clauses will ensure compliance with the Secretary of State for Defence’s Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Policy.  It should be remembered that UK legislation, Health and Safety Executive Approved Codes of Practice, Defence Regulations and other MOD Policy may require further specific requirements that shall be performed in addition to the clauses set out here.

These Clauses represent the minimum safety and environmental protection standards that DE&S shall attain for Products, Systems or Services that it procures; adherence to them is mandatory.  The Clauses should be considered good practice for organisations outside of DE&S.

There are two key definitions that apply to the use of ASEMS:

  1. The term shall describes a requirement conveying the criteria to be fulfilled if compliance with the document is to be claimed and from which no deviation is permitted;
  2. The term should within a procedure describes an activity that is considered to be good practice and will only appear in an Instruction in ASEMS Part 2 - Instructions, Procedures and Support.  It is recommended that the instruction is followed and as such this will be considered sufficient to demonstrate compliance with ASEMS Clauses.

Where an Instruction allows an alternative method of compliance with a Clause to be used, any alternative approaches may only be utilised where this produces an outcome of at least the same standard as that required by a Clause; the Quality, Safety and Environmental Protection Team from DE&S Audit and Assurance activity will measure performance against these Clauses.

ASEMS Part 2 - Instructions, Procedures and Support provide a good practice methodology that should be followed.  When determining what procedure to use to adhere to a particular Clause, there may be more than one procedure that relates to a clause and more than one Clause can be linked to more than one procedure; the relationship between Clauses and procedures is not 1-2-1.  Likewise, the supporting tools and techniques can apply to more than one Clause but in all instances, the user can tailor what they see in order to make adherence more manageable.

1.4. Governance

1.4.1. Roles and Responsibilities

The policy described in ASEMS aims to ensure that through effective and efficient safety and environmental management, all appropriate precautions are taken to prevent unintentional harm to personnel and damage to equipment or the environment.  This must be consistent with providing the operational capability and cost-effective solutions required by DE&S customers in compliance with legislation, Defence Regulations and MOD Policy.

Secretary of State.  The Secretary of State for Defence has responsibility for, and is answerable to Parliament on matters of Safety and Environmental Protection within the MOD.

Permanent Secretary.  The Permanent Secretary is the senior civilian adviser on defence and MOD’s Principal Accounting Officer.  The Permanent Secretary delegates the Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for effective management of financial, contractual, safety and environmental protection, pay and personnel aspects of DE&S’ operation.

Chief Executive Officer.  The Chief Executive Officer is directly responsible to Parliament for the stewardship of DE&S’ and has delegated authority from the Permanent Secretary to lead and manage DE&S.  The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for DE&S adherence to MOD’s policies on Health, Safety, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Security. The Chief Executive Officer provides direction, sets objectives, monitors, reviews and reports on performance.  The CEO is supported and advised by the DE&S Owner’s Council on the review and setting of DE&S’ strategic objectives, the approval of the Corporate Plan and novel or contentious decisions, and on performance.  The DE&S Owner’s Council is an internal MOD committee, comprising a majority of ex officio members.

The Chief Executive Officer delegates authority to senior officers within DE&S to carry this responsibility.

Directors in each Operating Center must ensure that safety and environmental protection responsibilities are defined in Joint Business Agreements or CASPS - Command Acquisition Support Plans with each command.

Operating Centre Directors.  Authority for the carrying out of these responsibilities is delegated to DE&S Team Leaders. The Directors are responsible for ensuring that the resource is available to allow the Team Leaders to use this authority and meet the required safety and environmental performance level.

Director Engineering & Safety.  Director Engineering & Safety is the process owner for Safety and Environmental Protection within DE&S.  In performing this duty Director Engineering & Safety:

  1. Issues policy instructions, processes and guidance;
  2. Provides an assurance framework to monitor the organisation’s performance in managing health, safety and environmental protection.

DE&S Team Leaders.  As a minimum, DE&S Team Leaders are responsible for ensuring that adequate resources are dedicated to the management of safety and environmental protection within their area of responsibility, and that suitable arrangements are in place to discharge their safety responsibilities in compliance with extant policy.  Additional safety and environmental responsibilities may be formally delegated to those DE&S Team Leaders who are able to demonstrate appropriate levels of competence.

Project Safety & Environmental Delegation Holders.  Within all DE&S Project and Delivery Teams there shall be individuals with formally delegated responsibility for safety and environmental management.  Their responsibilities shall be defined in formal Letters of Delegation, and competence assessed and documented prior to delegations being issued.  Their responsibilities may include: 

  1. Providing effective management to control the safety risks and environmental impacts presented by the products, systems and services they manage; 

  2. Ensuring products, systems and services meet their Safety and Environmental requirements and comply with Safety and Environmental legislation and policy.

DE&S Balanced Matrix.  The balanced matrix approach being introduced as part of DE&S Transformation will see responsibilities shared between Functions and Delivery Teams.  The Functions will own the processes and provide the people with the specialist skills that Delivery Teams need, whilst the Delivery Teams are responsible for agreeing the scope and schedule of their work with the customer, managing the supply chain and managing performance.   

1.4.2. Safety and Environmental Documentation Hierarchy

MOD produces publications on Health, Safety and Environmental Protection in a hierarchy of four levels:

  1. Level 1 – Departmental Policy.   Departmental (MOD) policy, e.g. DSA01.1 Defence Policy for Health, Safety and Environmental Protection is a Level 1 publication which contains the Secretary of State for Defence’s policy statement and describes in high-level terms the corporate system for the management of environmental protection and safety in the MOD.  It also provides strategic direction to Defence Regulators charged with developing environment and safety policy and Top Level Budget holders and Trading Fund Agency / Bespoke Trading Entity Chief Executives responsible for implementing it;
  2. Level 2 – Defence Regulations.  MOD Regulations owned by Defence Regulators. These MOD wide, domain specific publications expand upon the requirements of DSA01.1 Defence Policy for Health, Safety and Environmental Protection to enable the MOD and those responsible to demonstrate that acceptable levels of safety and environmental protection are achieved;
  3. Level 3 – Guidance.  MOD Guidance (including, where appropriate, Defence Codes of Practice) provided by Defence Regulators on legislation and Defence Regulations; they provide practical advice on how to comply with a Regulation;
  4. Level 4 – Procedures and Arrangements.  ASEMS is a Level 4 Defence publication.  It provides generic policy, instructions and guidance on how implementation of Levels 1-3 can be achieved for DE&S.

1.4.3. Safety and Environmental Committee Hierarchy

Defence Environment and Safety Committee.  The Defence Environment and Safety Committee is chaired by the Director General Defence Safety Authority and is part of MOD corporate governance structure.  It supports the Permanent Secretary in carrying out his duties for ensuring that effective organizational structures and management arrangements are in place for ensuring compliance with the Secretary of State for Defence’s Policy Statement.

The DE&S Health, Safety & Environmental Committee (SHEC).  The DE&S SHEC is the DE&S’ senior safety leadership group.  It:

  1. Provides support and advice to the Chief Executive in his role as the Senior Duty Holder in the discharge of his delegations and responsibilities as set out in his Letter of Authority from the Permanent Secretary;
  2. Ensures DE&S has suitable arrangements in place to protect employees, those who may be affected by DE&S activities, the users of infrastructure, equipment, platforms and services procured for the Armed Forces and the environment from unintentional harm;
  3. The DE&S SHEC reports to the Defence Environment and Safety Committee, in accordance with its terms of reference and:
    1. Acts as the senior safety leadership for DE&S, including the leadership of a health, safety and environmental protection communications strategy and tactical plan by overseeing, directing and leading the embedding of the Key Safety Messages into DE&S so that they describe ‘the way we do business around here’;
    2. Oversees, directs, contributes to and monitors delivery of all work to make DE&S the ‘best in class’ organisation;
    3. Monitors, reviews and directs work against the Delivery Plan, including an auditing programme;
    4. Reports to the DE&S Main Board and Executive Committee assessment of health, safety and environmental protection performance, including achievements and challenges.

1.5. Version History

1.5.1. Version 2.3 to 3.0 Uplift

Major uplift from the Acquisition System Guidance (ASG) to online version. 

1.5.2. Version 3.0 to 3.1 Uplift

Minor text changes to align with ASP taxonomy.

1.5.3. Version 3.1 to 3.2 Uplift

Update to MOD Safety and Environmental Protection Document Hierarchy diagram.