The Williams Review moved into its latest phase on March 19, with the launch of the criteria on which it will assess potential changes to the railway.
The call for evidence on objectives and assessment criteria seeks to generate higher passenger satisfaction and greater public confidence, improved long-term affordability for taxpayers, and increase social, environmental and economic contributions to the country. Two evidence papers with supporting statistics were published on the same day.
Initial findings suggest there are five key issues facing the railway:
- The rail sector too often loses sight of its customers - both passengers and freight.
- It has become fragmented and accountabilities are not always clear.
- The sector needs to be more productive and tackle its long-term costs.
- The sector is struggling to innovate and adapt.
- Over recent years it has come to lack a strategic direction.
Eleven assessment criteria are identified to develop its recommended model or models for the railway, and seven outputs have been identified. The first is a greater focus on users, followed by better accountability and leadership; decision-making at the right level; collaboration; long-term thinking and innovation; delivery capability including of change; and workforce engagement and diversity.
The review is asking four questions:
- The evidence papers summarise the key themes and evidence on which the Rail Review will draw in the subsequent phases of our work. Are there other themes or areas of evidence that we should consider? If so, what are they?
- Has the Review identified the right high-level objectives?
- Has the Review identified the key issues constraining the success of the railway? What relative priority would you place on them?
- Do the broad assessment criteria capture the right issues against which the Review should test its proposals? What priority should we attach to each and how should we balance trade-offs? Are there other issues we should consider?
Speaking at a conference on March 19, Rail Review Chairman Keith Williams said: “There needs to be a much stronger focus on passengers. This has been common ground from everyone we have spoken with. Passengers must be at the heart of the future of the railway."
For the FULL story, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from March 23.