Moderating a seminar: Independent assessment authorities

Dear readers, today I have a pause in the thesis writing. Instead I am heading for Norrköping, where I will take part in moderating a discussion at the Swedish Civil Aviation Department regarding their role as an assessor of the civil aviation actors. This seminar is one in a series of seminars arranged by the Swedish Society for Risk Sciences (where I am part of the board). In this series of seminars we visit five Swedish  authorities to ask them what role the tendency to establish independent assessment functions for various societal activities has had in their area of interest. This tendency (which is having  that we are interested in can be labelled "the arm length principle"and implies that any stakeholder with the task to assess any societal activity (like the one of transporting people through the sky) should be located at least an arm length of distance from the stakeholders being assessed.

In the case of the Swedish Civil Aviation Department the bureaucratic solution for how that function is maintained is quite clear, but how does it work in practice? The authority has even taken the step further than seeing their task to be one of assessing, they explicitly state that they want to encourage and maintain a safety culture in the organisations that they assess. Is that idea compatible with being an independent assessor of regulations? Does it mean getting closer than an arm length? Does the authority have the knowledge required to encourage and facilitate a safety culture in aviation stakeholders operating in Sweden? Such questions we want to dig deeper into together with the authority today.

I am moderating this discussion together with Urban Strandberg, an Associate Professor and political scientist from the University in Gothenburg and we are having lots of fun planning and executing this serie of seminars.

The following five authorities are part of our series:

After having visited all the five authorities the series will end with a big one-day seminar taking a holistic approach to the issue of independent assessment of activities involving risk. Fore more information about the series, please visit the website of the Swedish Society for Risk Sciences


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