The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is changing its regulatory policy that holds Network Rail to account.
The regulator will consult on this new policy between now and the last week of January which, when implemented, will mean the process of holding Network Rail to account for the work it undertakes will ultimately provide greater benefits to passengers and other users of Britain’s railways.
By complementing the final determination of the ORR, which has approved plans for Network Rail’s spending intentions during Control Period 6 (CP6), the new regulatory policy will help to target the areas that result in the most serious negative impact to passengers using the railways, as well as freight customers and funders.
Graham Richards is the Director of Railway Planning and Performance at the ORR. He believes the changes to the regulatory framework will reflect the changes to Network Rail over the years.
He said: “There have been significant changes to Network Rail’s business in recent years and to reflect this we are changing the way we hold Network Rail to account.
“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 early.
“Passengers, business and the entire rail industry need Network Rail to deliver a high quality service: resolving issues early is important.
“ORR’s regulation will target the areas that have most serious impact on all rail users, and do so early.
“Of course, our strongest sanctions remain to address serious and long term failures.”
Under the new regulatory policy, the ORR will ensure progress is prioritised over process so that resolution of problems are reached earlier.
The three step approach will focus on routine monitoring and assessment of Network Rail’s performance; investigation and early resolution of concerns so all users are protected; and enforcement if Network Rail cannot resolve issues.