The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its Business Plan 2018-19, which outlines how the regulator will protect the interests of road and rail users.
It is an important year for the regulator, with its Periodic Review on Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan due in June.
The ORR’s own Business Plan focuses on five key areas, and Joanna Whittington, the Chief Executive, declared in the foreword that the skills and commitment of staff will be strengthened this year “with a particular emphasis on management and leadership, thus ensuring that ORR remains in a position to protect the interests of passengers, freight customers and road users – now and in the future.”
As the regulator of Britain’s infrastructure, ensuring everything is safe, reliable and offers value for money, the ORR says it will work collaboratively with stakeholders across all industries to monitor performance, whether good or bad.
The strategic objectives will concentrate on six key areas: health and safety; better rail customer service; value for money from the railway; promoting a dynamic and commercially sustainable rail sector; better highways; and high performing regulation.
In relation to health and safety, the Business Plan 2018-19 will concentrate on four key challenges for the rail industry – managing change, maintaining safe and sustainable assets, safety culture and occupational health, and safety by design.
The regulator is aware that the devolution to eight geographical areas can create risks, despite the opportunities that come with this change. As a result, the ORR will work alongside Network Rail to embed the Risk Management Maturity Model (RM3) on all routes, while changes to rolling stock in the next three years will see inspection programmes maintained.
In order to ensure passengers receive value for money, the ORR will continue to look at Network Rail’s delivery of maintenance and renewals so that asset management is always moving forward.
For roads, the ORR wants to work with Highways England to see how data is optimised to support the operation of the network, and with Road Investment Strategy 2 on the horizon, the regulator will provide advice to the Secretary of State for Transport and build the evidence base to support its own efficiency review, which will be published next year.