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Training safety legal case between NSAR and UKRS postponed to autumn

A legal case challenging the decision by the National Skills for Rail (NSAR) to suspend UKRS Training as a rail skills training provider over safety concerns has been postponed.

UKRS had applied to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for an injunction against the suspension, and the case was due to be heard on 21 July.

On the day before the hearing, however, the president of CAT wrote to the parties suggesting that they hold a preliminary issue hearing to determine whether NSAR’s training and assessment auditing decisions are subject to competition law.

NSAR said it had submitted written evidence to the tribunal repeating points made in an application to CAT to strike out the claim by UKRS arguing that “in the context of the crucial need to protect public and worker safety, NSAR’s obligations are not subject to review as a matter of competition”.

NSAR took the decision to suspend UKRS after finding that it failed to demonstrate strong procedural processes, managed fatigue and working hours ineffectively, and had incomplete Safe System of Work Packs and training pack verification which was significantly below standard.

The case will now be heard in late September or early October.

Lee Bowen, director of UKRS, said that the company was “very pleased” that the judge had agreed to its requests before the hearing.

He added that the company was “disappointed” that NSAR had publicised the case, saying it might have made some customers reconsider using UKRS services, and that UKRS would not “engage in a tit for tat in the public domain”.

“UKRS are confident of the strength of their case, and look forward to a satisfactory outcome,” he said. “In the meantime UKRS will continue to offer high quality training and assessments to the rail industry.”

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Railtruth   22/07/2016 at 17:01

Having worked within this industry for many years and seeing the conception of NSAR. This is an organisation that would like to be something that they are not. Inadequately equipped and drastically underfunded. I personally know both organisations and find it preposterous that NSAR are allowed to operate with such tyrant and intimidating practices. I salute UKRS Training for their current actions as someone has to make a stand aginst the way this organisation is allowed to behave - unchallenged. Good luck to UKRS and all the other training companies that find themselves in this position.

Longrider   24/07/2016 at 13:51

As with the above commenter, I have dealings with both organisations. The NSAR news page contains damaging information that may be subject to sub judice rules. It is, at the very least, highly unprofessional and demonstrates poor judgement. Frankly, their behaviour has been appalling and arbitrary, so it will be a good thing for the industry if the CAT decides in UKRS' favour. Time for Network Rail to go out to the market for someone else to run the RTAS contract.

Incandescent   25/07/2016 at 16:01

Interesting that there is no mention of training quality, customer satisfaction, numbers of additionally upskilled people, improvement in safety, etc It is a long time since a trackworker was killed on the line. NSARE seem to have become judge and jury,changing requirements and inconveniencing track staff who are having to be retrained through no fault of their own, this is a long way from the original remit of job creation and individual upskilling. Time for a change?

Longrider   26/07/2016 at 13:10

Incandescent; quite so. The original remit of the Sentinel scheme and the RTAS part of the process was to ensure consistent quality to a measurable standard. NSAR appear to have lost touch with that original aim. They are far too powerful. So, yes, definitely time for a change.

Headstrong   27/07/2016 at 15:06

I agree with all the comments made. We seem to have lost the focus of the customer. Seems to me that NSARE want to make themselves look bigger than they are and all the actions I have witnessed of late indicate they want to have a big foot to kick us with. A money income generation I think plus, get rid of all the little fish approach. We need some new eyes on the industry. Network Rails motto 'Safe Home Everyday'. That is what we all strive for don't we? It's about time someone took NSARE on! Well done I wish you all the luck with your case, especially if it means we get back to the original model.

Longrider   27/07/2016 at 16:38

Remembering, of course, that the training provider is, in fact, NSAR's customer here and is paying handsomely for the inspection process. Then ask what, precisely, does the customer get for their money? Answers on a postage stamp, please...

Railwoman   02/11/2016 at 09:42

Have dealt with NSAR for the first time as a training provider - frequent incorrect advice given, desperately unprofessional, slow to respond to our needs but very quick to take our money. They need to be removed from this position ASAP and replaced with an organisation staffed with people focused on understanding and meeting the needs of their customers.

Fed Up   23/03/2017 at 08:05

Training company's have problems to the treat the learners like they are rubbish and treat the trainers like rubbish to standardisation is a word used but never put in to practise plagiarism is rife in training company's that I have worked for but I must say having worked for rules myself I found them to be very good at what they do and very supportive of there trainers and learners

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