2020 Vision: ORR’s consumer expert panel

12 February 2020

By Bryan Little, Consumer Policy Team.

Bryan LittleBefore we look forward, let’s look back at 2019, in what was another challenging, yet positive year for ORR’s consumer team. New Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) Guidance for train and station operators was published in the summer, with work now ongoing to approve all of these ATPs and bring about real improvements to passenger journeys. The team also published its annual consumer report - Measuring Up - and provided valuable input to the Government’s Rail Review chaired by Keith Williams on both delay compensation and accessibility.

Overseeing much of the development on these issues was our consumer expert panel, who, with one of our non-Executive Directors Anne Heal now at the helm as Chair, provided advice to help us fulfil our vision of making the rail industry better for current and future passengers.

Another positive development was when the panel members extended their contracts for a further 2 years. This helped bring more stability and continuity for staff as they continue to engage with the panel on a number of key long term projects such as the Williams Rail Review, our ongoing work to improve delay compensation for passengers as well as Network Rail’s CP6 stakeholder engagement plans.

In 2019 there was also a welcome increase in safety related issues being discussed by the panel. Their experience and understanding of ORR’s role across all directorates was influential in developing our revised crowding policy and processes for communicating health & safety risk to the public. They even managed to join our highways team on a visit to Highway England’s National Traffic Operations Centre to meet with their Customer Service Directors.

Now back to the future...

2020 promises to be another busy year for the consumer expert panel. In establishing a forward plan for the year ahead we have already identified a number of key projects and work being undertaken by ORR. Over the next 12 months we will continue to monitor Network Rail, support the work of the Williams Rail Review, work with industry to improve passenger information for both rail and road users and further develop and implement the latest version of the Risk Management Maturity Model (RM3).

More information on the role the panel play in developing our policies is available.