Openreach Service Delivery Transformation

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Review of Critical Defect Process

17 September 2009

As part of the Service Delivery Transformation programme a revised Defects Process is being implemented as a result of a joint review carried out between Openreach and the CWU.


The existing process was assessed in discussions with field engineers, coaches, independent auditors, Operations Managers and CWU branch officials. The joint review focused on action taken by Openreach managers as a result of ten- and five-point quality and safety defects being identified. It concentrated on whether there was a consistent agreed process and whether this was being implemented fairly by work type, in particular volume and complex.

The review has now been completed and agreement reached that the current process needs to be improved as follows:

  • Ensuring consistency in the way ten-point and multiple five-point defects are handled across Openreach,
  • Defining the range of defects as network critical; health and safety critical or job standard issues,
  • Differentiating between types of defects and ensuring that a level of discretion is applied.

In particular, the CWU took the view that the discipline process was operated inflexibly. The new process will involve a step at which a ten-point failure would be categorised as follows:

  • Lack of Skill or Knowledge,
  • Oversight,
  • Negligence.

It is only in the last category (i.e. Negligence) that discipline will be contemplated and at the fact finding stage this may be mitigated into either of the other categories. Where multiple five-point defects occur, either on one job or across a rolling six months, this will be treated as a Job Standard issue. Additionally, a number of current ten-point defects have been either deleted or classified as five-point to reflect the change to a job standard requirement.