Open and close mobile menu


Insights A work-life balance with Integrity

As part of our #PeopleDriveResults campaign, this week we have caught up with James Foreman, our Operations & Integration Manager based in Bristol, UK.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I’m James Foreman, a Principal Engineer working in Design & Advanced Technology (D&AT) in the Atkins, A member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, Infrastructure group, based in Bristol. My team specializes in ‘heavy civil’ infrastructure projects which typically include design of ports, power stations, water treatment works and similar industrial structures.

I’m currently seconded as Operations & Integration Manager, leading the systems engineering design integration for upgrade of a submarine dry-dock.

I am also now a proud father to a 9-week-old daughter named Iris!

How what led you to become an advocate for integrity in your professional life?

Whilst working with Atkins, A member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, I’ve been very aware of the constant drive for integrity, which is not something I have seen promoted to the same level in other organizations. There are some really good resources available within the business, and as a line manager, I have a duty to understand these and lead by example within the team.

How would you define integrity in your own words?

One phrase used a lot in the nuclear industry is ‘Doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’ I think this very neatly sums up my attitude toward integrity and what a good integrity culture looks like.

Can you give us an example of when our integrity program made a real-life difference in a project?

I am currently seconded as part of a large Atkins multi-disciplinary team working within a client organization. When I found myself managing a work package for which Atkins were bidding, I referred to the Business Conflict of Interest policies on the intranet. The guidance available helped me to escalate my concerns and implement mitigating actions, ensuring that Atkins remained competitive and were able to win this strategically important package, without any threat of challenge regarding due process.

AtkinsRéalis has had a fascinating integrity journey. What part would you say you are the proudest of?

I have been heavily involved with the Hinkley Point C project for a number of years, and during this time have seen Atkins’ scope grow exponentially, thanks to the trust and confidence which has been built with the client. By always striving for quality, and demonstrating accountability at every level, Atkins have become the go-to delivery partner for their most complex challenges.

As a recipient of an Integrity Award in 2021, what advice would you give to your colleagues who wish to foster a culture of integrity?

My integrity award was related to mitigating Conflict of Interest issues. My key advice would be that conflict of interest is all about perception rather than reality. You have to step back and consider if there could be any room for perception of wrongdoing, in which case mitigating actions are required. Tread carefully because the consequences of getting it wrong can be severe!