Consultation on ORR’s Holding Network Rail to account policy

Date published: 27 November 2018
Closing date: 25 January 2019

Following the final determination of our 2018 periodic review (PR18), we are consulting on a new regulatory policy for holding Network Rail to account for delivery of the commitments in our determination, and the obligations in its network licence.

The new policy will replace the existing economic enforcement policy for Network Rail, coming into effect for the start of Control Period 6.  It reflects significant changes to Network Rail’s business model in recent years, and ORR’s new approach as set out in the 2018 periodic review.

The consultation letter explains the context for the policy and our proposed approach, including new elements (summarised in the diagram below).

Holding Network Rail to account: what is new

Responding to this consultation

Please provide your response by 25 January 2019 in electronic form, and email it to either directly or by using the response pro forma.

Publishing your response

We plan to publish all responses to this consultation on our website. This may include your personal data such as your name and job title.

Should you wish any information that you provide, including personal data, to be treated as confidential, please be aware that this may be subject to publication, or release to other parties or to disclosure, in accordance with the access to information regimes. These regimes are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, if you are seeking confidentiality for information you are providing, please explain why. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on ORR.

If you are seeking to make a response in confidence, we would also be grateful if you would annex any confidential information, or provide a non-confidential summary, so that we can publish the non-confidential aspects of your response.

Any personal data you provide to us will be used for the purposes of this consultation and will be handled in accordance with our privacy notice which sets out how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.


In responding to this consultation you consent to us:

  • handling your personal data for the purposes of this consultation;
  • publishing your response on our website (unless you have indicated to us that you wish for your response to be treated as confidential as set out above.)

Your consent to either of the above can be withdrawn at any time. Further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights is set out in our privacy notice.

Format of responses

So that we are able to apply web standards to content on our website, we would prefer that you email us your response either in Microsoft Word format or OpenDocument Text (.odt) format.

If you do send us a PDF document, please:

  • create it from the electronic Word file (preferably using Adobe Acrobat), as opposed to an image scan, where possible; and
  • ensure that the PDF's security method is set to no security in the document properties.

Consultation document

Further information

Summary of stakeholder discussions on these consultations

As part of our consultation process into how we regulate Network Rail in CP6 (our approach to assessing the quality of Network Rail’s stakeholder engagement in CP6 and the consultation on our policy on holding Network Rail to account), ORR held events in Manchester, Glasgow and London to explain our proposed changes and hear feedback.

ORR discussed the proposed changes in the way that Network Rail will be held to account, and how we will ensure that they liaise with stakeholders and then took questions from the attendees.

Common themes which emerged were:

  • The need to rebuild trust in the railway
  • ORR’s role in managing risk
  • How ORR can coordinate, e.g. Network Rail’s timetable with the rest of industry
  • How ORR will manage performance in CP6
  • Whether customer information could be added onto the new scorecards
  • How supervisory boards, or successors to them, could be of most use in ensuring performance
  • How ORR will monitor enhancement projects
  • The need for clear definition of stakeholder engagement
  • How ORR will monitor enhancement projects as they don’t sit within specific route responsibility
  • How ORR will reward good performance
  • How the System Operator’s performance and engagement will be measured
  • How the hearings can operate without leading to adversarial relationships between Network Rail and those taking part in them
  • The need for clarity over when ORR will step in and take action
  • Monitoring of delivery of enhancements in Scotland in CP6 and how often will the HLOS tracker be published.
  • Concerns that targeting financial bonuses could impact Network Rail’s ability to recruit the right people into the business.
  • The need for greater emphasis on routine monitoring and early resolution of issues, acting earlier to stop the need for further escalation.
  • The need to continue independent views/reporters on NR assessment
  • How the stakeholder assessment will take account of how units outside of the System Operator or routes are engaging, e.g. Network Rail’s technical authority.

The events were a useful addition to our consultation process and we are grateful to all those who attended.