ICAO’s Critical Elements of a safety oversight system

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States that are signatories of the International Civil Aviation Convention of 1944 (“Contracting States”) are subjected to regular oversight by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). In 1999, the ICAO launched a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). USOAP audits focused on a State’s capability to conduct safety oversight by assessing whether the State has effectively and consistently implemented all eight of the critical elements (CEs) of a safety oversight system. The effective fulfiment of these CEs enables the State to ensure the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and associated procedures and guidance material.

In 2013, the ICAO introduced a new approach based on the concept of continuous monitoring and incorporating the analysis of safety risk factors. The systematic and more proactive conduct of monitoring activities in the new USOAP Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) enables the more effective and efficient use of ICAO resources and reduces the burden on States caused by repetitive audits. Nevertheless, the CMA concept requires States continuously to monitor their compliance with SARPs, which are amended and updated on a regular basis to reflect new operational and technological advances.

The Systemmatic compliance management tool covers all eight of the critical elements and enables States continuously and reliably to manage their answers to the 1000+ protocol questions that ICAO asks as part of its assessment of a State’s compliance with ICAO SARPs. The tool also helps State’s accurately to maintain compliance with the SARPs, and other regional and national regulations, with minimal demand upon resources.

CE-1. Primary aviation legislation

States implement aviation regulations in their national legislation. Such legislation must comply with the provisions of the ICAO convention of 1944 (e.g. SARPs).

CE-2. Specific operating regulations

The national aviation system covers a broad range of domains, such as aerodromes, personnel licensing, continuing airworthiness, air traffic management, etc. Specific operating regulations are necessary for each domain. These regulations will have to comply with the ICAO SARPs contained in the Annexes to the 1944 convention.

Systemmatic’s compliance management tool contains all 24 compliance checklists covering the full range of ICAO Annexes.

CE-3. State civil aviation system and safety oversight functions

The State’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) objective is to regulate and oversee the national aviation system. The ICAO requires the CAA to have regulatory functions and safety objectives in place, and to have implemented policies and procedures.

With the Systemmatic compliance manager policies, procedures, manuals and other documents can easily be organised to demonstrate compliance with protocol questions and compliance checklists. Questions are tagged according to their critical element to facilitate navigating the questions. Custom tags can be created for each item of evidence.

CE-4. Technical personnel qualification and training

Technical personnel performing safety critical functions include inspectors, technical officers, flight examiners, pilots, air traffic controllers and engineers. Each of these jobs requires a job description along with the applicable qualifications, experience, skills, competence, training and the State’s requirements for all of which can be logged and traced in the Systemmatic compliance manager tool.

CE-5. Technical guidance, tools and the provision of safety-critical information

It is critical that technical personnel have access to:

  • processes, procedures and other technical guidance,
  • safety critical information such as safety bulletins, airworthiness directives, Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), occurence reports etc., and
  • (computer) tools, facilities and equipment.

The systems used to coordinate, produce, publish and maintain all of this information and tooling can be linked to the Systemmatic compliance manager tool so that any changes are incorporated into the compliance evidence which is updated automatically.

It is the mission of Systemmatic to make aviation safety oversight in every State in full continuous compliance with ICAO standards by leveraging the capabilities of modern IT solutions.

CE-6. Licensing, certification, authorization and approval obligations

Personnel and organisations need to meet established requirements before they are allowed to participate in the national aviation system. The procedures, manuals, and associated forms etc. used to manage these applications and approvals can be linked to the Systemmatic compliance manager tool so that any changes are incorporated into the compliance evidence which is automatically updated.

CE-7. Surveillance obligations

Surveillance activities include inspections, audits, document reviews, postholder assessments, and other proactive approaches to ensuring licenses, certificates, authorisations and/or approvals stay compliant.

The Systemmatic compliance manager can contain any custom compliance checklist as needed. Examples of such checklists include EASA regulatory requirements, e.g. Authority Requirements (AR) and Operator Requirements.

Contact us about your specific requirement set and how we can implement it as part of a continuous compliance management cycle.

CE-8. Resolution of safety concerns

In case of safety concerns, policies, processes and procedures need to be implemented to ensure identified deficiencies are resolved. The Systemmatic compliance manager enables the systems used to identify, and manage and resolve safety concerns to be included as part of the routine compliance management process.

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