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NR breaches licence over enhancement failings, says ORR

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) says Network Rail is contravening Condition 1 of its network licence because “it is failing to adequately plan and deliver its enhancements programme due to systemic weaknesses in the planning and delivery of its enhancement portfolio”.

However, the ORR has concluded after an investigation into NR’s projects performance that the latter is now taking sufficient steps to comply with its licence to avoid a fine.

The ORR added that NR “does not currently have a comprehensive plan in place and therefore ORR is satisfied that there is a high risk that milestones will continue to be missed”. An Enhancements Improvement Plan is due to be published by NR in mid-November.

The ORR examined missed enhancement milestones in the first year of Control Period 5 (CP5, 2014-19), and found that NR missed 16 of 44 Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) 3 regulated outputs and 14 out of 40 GRIP 6 regulated outputs. These represent figures of 36% and 35% respectively.

Among 13 weaknesses the ORR cites are:

Poor setting of project requirements with inadequate change control against a baseline.

Inconsiderate consideration of safety issues during design and optioneering.

No defined framework, tools and techniques for managing complex infrastructure programmes resulting in underestimates of timescales, costs and impact on operational performance.


For more on this story, see RAIL 786, on sale October 28.

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