Network Rail regulation and performance


NR shakes up supplier barriers by streamlining standards and recruiting devolved leaders

As its response to the Hansford Review, which looked at how barriers can be broken to make it easier for organisations to invest in and build on the railway, Network Rail has produced a national framework which will help drive a consistent and transparent approach for third-party involvement.

As part of the Open for Business programme, about which manager David Ollerhead wrote for the latest issue of RTM, the infrastructure owner is implementing a number of reforms to the way its asset protection and optimisation (ASPRO) teams work.

The ASPRO teams are responsible for making sure any work on or near the railway is done safely and to the right standards. While this has secured the UK railway’s position as Europe’s safest network, it has sometimes meant that standards and practices make it difficult for suppliers to deliver projects.

To change this, a national ASPRO framework is currently being produced and will soon be rolled out in order to clearly define the processes, working practices, responsibilities and contacts across the whole business. As a result, third-party promoters of rail projects will receive a quicker, more reliable service when dealing with Network Rail.

All ASPRO teams will have to be compliant with the new framework by September this year.

Also as part of this initiative, the infrastructure manager has created eight brand-new dedicated roles for a head of ASPRO in each of the devolved routes. These professionals will work with regional project sponsors on third-party requirements and will be directly accountable to the industry, much like the current route managing directors are.

Network Rail is currently recruiting for these positions, but Mona Sihota has already been confirmed as its new national professional head of ASPRO. She will be writing about this framework shake-up in the upcoming edition of RTM, hitting desks in August.

“The path to changing the culture and behaviours of a large organisation such as Network Rail will take time, however we are committed to becoming open for business and the journey has begun,” explained Sihota.

“We’ve published our high-level national framework and have begun drafting the processes and procedures to support the variety of external party projects we will engage with. In addition, we’ve produced our national policy around ASPRO so that we maintain line of sight to our national ASPRO objectives.”

To support this, NR will revamp its ASPRO website and build in the systems and tools designed to measure its internal performance indicators.

“I look forward to the opportunities ahead and I will be open and transparent with our journey,” she continued. “Network Rail ASPRO will continue to listen to the industry via regular meetings so that we can share our progress and learn where we can improve.”

Amey has been working with NR in a special advisory capacity to formulate ASPRO service levels by which other organisations can hold them to account. These service levels will ensure that suppliers can know exactly what to expect from Network Rail’s service, as well as when to expect it by.

Today’s major announcement is the result of a year-long project to transform the business, which, as Ollerhead explained in his comment piece for RTM, included a trial on the Anglia route that tested a streamlined, slicker and less bureaucratic approach to ASPRO. The findings of this pilot will be informing national roll-out to ensure barriers are broken across the entire network.

Top image: Jonathan Brady via PA Wire/PA Images


Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

First Greater Anglia FLIRT bi-mode arrives in Norwich for testing

15/11/2018First Greater Anglia FLIRT bi-mode arrives in Norwich for testing

The first of Greater Anglia’s brand-new trains has now arrived in the region, pulling up to Norwich by a locomotiv... more >
Building new city-centre lines instead of using existing network inflates HS2 cost by 15%

15/11/2018Building new city-centre lines instead of using existing network inflates HS2 cost by 15%

HS2’s second phase will cost more compared to similar overseas schemes because it relies on new dedicated high-spe... more >
HS2 Phase 2 could be almost 30% cheaper, Armitt’s PwC review finds

15/11/2018HS2 Phase 2 could be almost 30% cheaper, Armitt’s PwC review finds

Costs for HS2’s Phase 2 could be 27% lower if the company succeeds in implementing a series of opportunities to ma... 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 TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth Line. The announcement on 31 August that the central core section of the Elizabeth Line would not be opening on 9 December was a cause for major dismay and disappointment amongst politicians and... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >