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The purpose of rating control effectiveness is to highlight areas of strength and weakness
within the bowtie, potentially using this information as a basis for a matrix-based risk
The results are typically displayed according to a colour code (e.g. red for very poor through to
green at the good end of the scale).
This makes the results very easy to interpret even for users with little prior exposure to the
When creating your effectiveness scale consider the usefulness of allocating “average” as a
score. What does an average control tell you and how does it prioritise action areas?
The two main considerations for rating control effectiveness of individual controls are adequacy
This describes to what extent a properly functioning control will interrupt a particular
For example: a handheld fire extinguisher may be very effective for fighting small fires (such
as a galley oven fire) however its effectiveness in a large fuel spill fire would be
This is the main reason why care must be taken if copy / pasting a control into a different area
of the diagram or a different bowtie e.g. it could be that the effectiveness is different, because
the adequacy is different in the new scenario.
Other terms sometimes used are validity or impact.
Having a satisfactory control is not enough though; it needs to actually work when required.
Assurance refers to the level of certainty that the control will function as intended when it is
Other terms sometimes used are availability or reliability.
Assessing the above factors requires consideration of the escalation factors.
Before assigning an effectiveness rating to a control, you will first need to decide:
Following this process you are then able to make an informed decision as to the control
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