Southeastern – Human Performance for Investigators


The Southeastern senior management had noted that their incident investigations, whilst technically competent, often lacked Human Performance and wider organisational learning outcomes. Southeastern have a long term ambition to develop a 'Just and Fair ' safety culture and recognised that to achieve this they needed to broaden the scope of their investigations. Southeastern commissioned PPWD to design and deliver a Human Performance for Investigators course.


It was important that the course complemented current Southeastern investigation processes, procedures and policy. Therefore, its focus was on shifting the culture from being ‘Person’ centric to one which encompassed the ‘System’. This cultural shift also formed part of the moves to establish a 'Just and Fair' safety culture within Southeastern.

PPWD looked at where Human Performance in investigations is regarded as having best practice. The aviation industry is widely regarded as leading in this area and three PPWD facilitators with previous RAF investigation experience, attended the Cranfield University Investigating Human Performance Course.

PPWD then designed a course pulling best practice from a number of areas. The work of Sidney Dekker proved foundational and the ideas of making sense of incidents from the participants point of view became fundamental in shifting the ideas of ‘blame’ to ones of causal and contributory factors.


The course has been extremely well received by Southeastern investigators, with particular impact on their ability to make ‘sense’ of incidents from the participants point of view. A reduction in hindsight bias and blame, has altered the reports, such that causal factors and more importantly recommendations which reach deep into the organisation are now having an effect throughout Southeastern.  An additional benefit is an increasing belief amongst frontline staff that investigations are now fairer which in turn has improved engagement. PPWD now delivers this course to a number of clients.

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