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29.11.16

ORR advises RSSB to agree new settlement with members

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has advised the RSSB to agree a new settlement with its members in its five-yearly review of the rail standards body.

The ORR consulted with RSSB members and industry groups to report on the RSSB’s strategic direction, delivery and effectiveness.

The review concluded that the RSSB must lay out mutual expectations and obligations with its members, requiring better communication, explanation and agreement.

Ian Prosser, ORR’s director of Railway Safety, said: “The RSSB has long been respected within the rail industry for the quality of its work, and there is clearly an appetite for the organisation to take a more proactive role on system safety issues.

“While RSSB has already taken significant steps to improve its effectiveness, our review highlights the need for a new settlement to be agreed with its members, helping clarify priority areas of work and solidify its position as a thought leader on rail safety standards.”

The ORR found that the RSSB continues to play a vital role in the UK’s rail industry as an impartial body, with wide support and respect for its mission and the quality of its work.

However, it concluded that there is desire in the industry to see the RSSB play a greater leadership role regarding its key functions, such a proactively identifying and addressing safety issues on the rail system and maintaining strong long-term links with academia.

“There is potential for RSSB's work to add considerably more value to the industry if the settlement between RSSB and its members is now refreshed to give greater clarity to all parties on their mutual expectations and obligations,” the report said.

“This new settlement requires that RSSB and all its members play their appropriate roles. We believe this is a critical enabler for RSSB to address the issues highlighted in this report and recommendations.”

The ORR has asked the RSSB board, with the support of its members, to set out by May 2017 a plan and timetable to enact the regulator’s recommendations, or give the reasons why they wish to adopt a different approach.

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