A decade as a non-executive director - Tracey Barlow

30 April 2019

By Tracey Barlow, non-executive member of the ORR board who retires from the board today after 10 years' service.

Tracey Barlow, non-executive member of the ORR boardThree Chairs, three Chief Execs, five Secretaries of State; the past 10 years has been everything but static.

It all began with a 3in thick stack of board papers landing on the doormat and, I’m happy to say, got better and better. Although I have not discovered a latent desire to memorise engine numbers, my passion for being part of a service with a unique blend of social and economic priorities has most definitely been fuelled.

Our roads and railway service will continue to be vital elements of social mobility and economic growth way beyond my lifetime, and I will always be proud to have played a tiny part of its history, and, of course, I will still be following future developments with an especially keen eye on service, innovation, integration and technological advances.

I joined ORR with a much better understanding of roads than railways and was delighted to be part of the decision to expand our role into Highways, a step on ORR’s journey that I firmly believe will be crucial to our successful future. My desire for promoting integrated transport thinking, at all levels, is no secret to my board colleagues and I’m convinced this is now developing well in our organisational psyche.

I’m also pleased that the ORR is increasingly considering user experience as being absolutely vital in doing the best job we can - I’ve seen an impressive transition from prizing safety and engineering capability to a culture where we openly and passionately promote service and experience outcomes that are underpinned by the wealth of our specialisms.

A couple of observations from the past decade: we have made great strides in building up our offices outside London - in Glasgow, York, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol - and they are now vital to our work; and honestly critiquing our work and seeing what we could have done better has also become part of our DNA, and we’re all the better for that.

I’ll end on spilling a little secret from board meetings; chocolate ginger biscuits are by far the most popular treat… but my waistline misses the fruit.