Awards, contracts & appointments

29.01.18

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.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Five injured in Tube explosion

20/06/2018Five injured in Tube explosion

Five people have been injured in an explosion at a north London Underground station. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed that police we... more >
Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

19/06/2018Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have walked out in a fresh dispute between the union and Northern Rail over a long-runnin... more >
TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

19/06/2018TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

Bosses from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern Rail cited failures in infrastructure being completed in time and last-minute change... 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

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained.... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

05/06/2018Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

Mark Holmes, head of membership and development at NSAR, describes the current resources available to the rail industry to ensure companies of al... more >
Moving in the right direction

05/06/2018Moving in the right direction

Alex Cropper, head of projects group at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), reports on the exciting progress so far in building the Trafford... more >
Overcoming leaves on the line

05/06/2018Overcoming leaves on the line

Paul Gray, professional lead of engineering R&D at the RSSB, explains how latest research proves using double variable rate sanders on trains... more >
Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >