Awards, contracts & appointments


Grayling questioned over second extension of ORR chair’s post

The transport secretary has faced questions following the second extension of Professor Stephen Glaister’s post as chair of the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), it has been revealed.

Correspondence between Chris Grayling, Lilian Greenwood, transport committee chair, and Peter Riddell, commissioner for public appointments, has recently been published, revealing concerns that the appointment had not been properly scrutinised by the transport committee.

In a letter to Greenwood dated earlier this month, Riddell said that though he had no objections to the appointment, this must be the final extension of Glaister’s post without an official hearing being carried out.

Riddell’s letter stated that Glaister had been in post for three years without the committee being given an opportunity to exercise scrutiny.

Greenwood wrote to Grayling regarding the matter, expressing concerns that Glaister was not subject to the usual pre-appointment hearing before the committee.

“As Professor Glaister was initially appointed on an interim basis from the beginning of 2016 and his term has since been extended twice, neither this committee nor its predecessor has had the opportunity to conduct a pre-appointment hearing with him.”

She continued: “Given the importance of this role, it is regrettable that parliamentary scrutiny has been avoided in this way.”

Greenwood then asked the transport secretary to outline the steps that will be taken to ensure that the recruitment exercise planned for this year does not fail to identify a suitable candidate, as it did in 2017.

Grayling responded by highlighting the importance of the role and its impact on passengers, freight users, the rail industry and the government.

He explained: “It was therefore particularly important that the right person, with the skills and experience required at this important time, was appointed.

“While the recent recruitment campaign did not identify a suitable, permanent replacement, Professor Glaister’s extensive experience and expertise make him very well suited to continue to serve as ORR chair as these important decisions are taken, continuing the excellent work he has been doing.”

However, he agreed that lessons must be learned from the recent campaign to ensure that the next leads to the appointment of a suitable successor.

“To that end, my officials are currently conducting a focussed ‘lessons learned’ exercise to understand the reasons a suitable candidate was not identified.

“This will inform the next competition, which I expect to commence by early in the spring.”

Grayling also added that the successful candidate will then be available for transport committee scrutiny.

Top image: David Mirzoeff PA Wire

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

DfT confirms Northern Powerhouse Rail business case delayed until 2019

12/12/2018DfT confirms Northern Powerhouse Rail business case delayed until 2019

The strategic outline business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which was due to be submitted to the government by the end of this month,... more >
TfL shelves plans for Tube upgrades as financial woes revealed

12/12/2018TfL shelves plans for Tube upgrades as financial woes revealed

Plans to upgrade major parts of London Underground will be put on hold and Crossrail 2 is now in doubt after TfL has disclosed the extent of its ... more >
Hitachi and Spencer Group join forces for £500m Tyne and Wear Metro deal bid

12/12/2018Hitachi and Spencer Group join forces for £500m Tyne and Wear Metro deal bid

Hitachi and Spencer Group have launched a joint bid to win a £500m contract to build new trains and a maintenance depot for the Tyne and We... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >