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

Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery boar... more >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun ... more >
Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

21/09/2018Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

Northern has unveiled its refurbished Class 158 digital train for passengers, ahead of the new fleet’s complete ro... 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

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >