Office of Rail and Road Update - December 2018
Welcome to ORR's December Newsletter.
In the last month we have published a number of important documents in relation to our role as the economic regulator of Network Rail: our Final Determination on Network Rail for CP6, our consultation on how we will hold Network Rail to account in CP6, the Network Rail Monitor - our regular assessment of how the company is doing - and a provisional order taking action against Network Rail to require improvements in its capability to deliver better performance
Our Final Determination on Network Rail’s CP6 plans to make Britain’s railway more reliable and focused on passengers’ needs was published on 31 October. We continue to focus on monitoring Network Rail’s preparedness for the start of these plans. Earlier this month, I spoke on our findings in the Final Determination and what we are doing to assess whether Network Rail are ready for the start of CP6. You can read my presentation and we have published our initial findings in our Network Rail Monitor.
We have also announced that we are taking formal action against Network Rail to require improvements in its capability to deliver better performance. Based on our own monitoring, and a series of additional independent reviews, we consider that Network Rail is in breach of the Network Management conditions of its licence and we have issued a provisional order. We want to see evidence that Network Rail is acting now on the remedies suggested by those reviews.
But whilst we are, and will continue, taking action on current issues, we are also committed to ensuring ORR’s regulation evolves to meet the changing context facing the railways; helping Network Rail realise the opportunities of greater route devolution and setting out how we will respond when the company does not meet requirements, as set out in our Final Determination for CP6.
So earlier this week, we launched a consultation on our updated enforcement and monitoring policy. Our new approach puts passengers and other railway users firmly at the centre of concerns while placing strong emphasis on Network Rail working together with its customers to solve problems. It sets out how our routine monitoring and assessment will support investigations and early resolutions of concerns, and also how we will revise our enforcement options to ensure that they make a difference, without diverting funding from the operation or maintenance of the railways. The consultation runs until January 25th, and I urge stakeholders to contribute.
Finally, I’m pleased to announce that the Transport Select Committee has confirmed Declan Collier in his appointment as the new Chair of ORR, taking over from Stephen Glaister. Declan will commence his new role on 1st January, and I and the rest of the ORR’s executive look forward to working with him. Stephen will remain on the Board as a non-executive director.
ORR continuously looks at how new approaches and technology can enhance our monitoring and assessment of performance and delivery on the railway. HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser, recently spoke on how our work with Hack Partners has informed our use of data analysis in monitoring project delivery.
Protecting the interests of rail passengers is central to our work. We have launched a consultation on proposals to significantly revise guidance for train and station operators to make the railway more accessible for all. These wide-ranging reforms to the Disabled People's Protection Policy (DPPP) are designed to bring greater quality, consistency and reliability to Assisted Travel for disabled passengers. We’ve also welcomed progress on the establishment of an ombudsman for the Rail Industry; it is essential that passengers have access to a body that ensures complaints are dealt with efficiently and fairly, and we are introducing a provision to require companies to join if they decide not to do so.
As part of our commitment to protecting passengers and promoting competition on the railways, we’ve also launched a market review into the role played by Delay Repay claims companies in helping passengers claim compensation when journeys are delayed, and, in helping train operators deal with claims more efficiently. This review will assess whether or not Delay Repay claims companies are working well for passengers and businesses, and the likely impact of increasing their role in the system.
ORR is the monitor of Highways England, which manages and maintains England’s Strategic Road Network - the motorways and main A roads. ORR’s Chair, Stephen Glaister, spoke recently on how our work supports the per-formance and efficiency of the network by holding Highways England to account for delivery of the current KPIs, and providing advice on the development of the next Road Investment Strategy.
Iain Ritchie, Performance Analyst in our Highways team, has also written a blog on how we use in-depth research, benchmarking and reviews to look closely at Highways England’s work and performance, generating insight and identifying opportunities for efficiency and improved outcomes.
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