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1997-11-06 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator

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Rail Regulator and Government agree framework for cooperation and communication


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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator and Government agree framework for cooperation and communication
_______________________________________________________________


date
6 November 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/31


The Rail Regulator and the Government today agreed a Concordat, setting out their respective objectives and recording the understanding that they will each use their influence and carry out their duties in a way which acknowledges and respects those objectives.

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, said: "This framework provides a sound basis for cooperation and communication in the public interest. I share common statutory duties with the Secretary of State and I believe I should be responsive to the Government's strategy for a railway funded in part by the Government. As independent Regulator I must attach considerable significance in my decision taking to a clear understanding of the aims of Government and the purposes for which subsidy is paid. This, in my view, is not only compatible with the Regulator's statutory independence but is an essential corollary both of that independence and of the Government's role as funder of railway services."

He concluded, "I believe that this Concordat marks an important step in the development of the railways as a partnership between the public and private sectors. I am committed to working with the Secretary of State, and the other parties involved in the railway industry, to the further development of that partnership in the interest of passengers, freight users and those funding railway services."

A copy of the Concordat is attached for information.

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Concordat between the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Rail Regulator

1. The Government wishes to see more passengers and freight on the railway. It aims to promote a railway which operates as a network; which is integrated with other forms of transport; which is effectively regulated to protect users' interests and in which the subsidies that the industry receives are invested wisely and in the public interest.

2. The Rail Regulator is an independent office holder, appointed by the Secretary of State. He is not subject to instructions from the Secretary of State but shares with him statutory general duties under the Railways Act 1993; the Government's aims and objectives for the railway industry are therefore important considerations for the Rail Regulator to address in carrying out these duties.

3. The Government's medium term objectives for the rail industry are at Annex A, and the objectives of the Rail Regulator are at Annex B. A framework for communication between the Secretary of State, the Rail Regulator, the Franchising Director and between their respective officials, is at Annex C.

4. This Concordat records the understanding between the Secretary of State and the Rail Regulator that they will use their influence and carry out their general duties in a way which acknowledges and respects both parties' aims and objectives, and that the framework provides a sound basis for co-operation and communication in the public interest.

5. This Concordat is an interim measure, against the background of existing legislation relating to railways. It does not prejudice or pre-empt the exercise of the Secretary of State's and the Rail Regulator's existing statutory functions or any future decisions by the Secretary of State, for example arising out of the Transport White Paper to be published in 1998.



John Swift - signatureGavin Strang - signature

GAVIN STRANG
Minister for Transport JOHN SWIFT QC
Rail Regulator
Date: 6 November 1997



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Annex A

The Government's objectives for the Rail Industry

1. The Government wants to win more passengers and freight onto rail. It sees this as a cornerstone of an integrated transport policy. To achieve that aim it seeks to:

promote a railway which operates as a network and which is integrated with other forms of transport;
ensure that the subsidies received by the railway industry are used to the best possible effect in order to enhance services and maximise value for money;
provide a clear, coherent and strategic programme for the development of the railways, so that the reasonable expectations of passengers and freight customers are met;
establish more effective and accountable regulation of the railways;
encourage voluntary action by train operators to attract more passengers and freight;
increase the safety and security from crime of those using railway services, particularly women, and promote the enhancement of facilities for disabled passengers.
2. Full realisation of these objectives will need primary legislation, for example to establish a new rail authority to combine functions currently carried out by the Franchising Director and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.



Annex B

The Rail Regulator's Aims and Objectives

HIGH LEVEL AIM To create a better railway for passengers and freight customers, and better value for public funding authorities, through effective regulation in the public interest.

Specific Objectives

Promote the interests of passengers: Understand what passengers want, speak up for their interests, and use our powers and influence to ensure the industry meets legitimate passenger needs.
Promote the development of rail freight: Understand what freight users want, speak up for their interests, and use our powers and influence to ensure that the industry meets legitimate freight needs.
Railtrack: Ensure that Railtrack acts as a responsible and efficient steward of the national rail network by operating, maintaining, renewing and developing the network to provide the improvements expected by passengers, freight users and funders.
Competition: Ensure that where workable competitive structures can be achieved, and can benefit users, they are promoted and that monopoly is controlled to protect users and deliver benefits to them.
Contracts and licences: Ensure that regulated contracts and licences operate, develop and improve in a manner which promotes the interests of passengers and freight users, making clear where we shall intervene to secure the public interest but minimising unnecessary regulatory intervention in commercial contractual matters.
Co-operation and Alliance: While maintaining independence, ensure that we cooperate fully with public funding authorities, user representatives and others having relevant decision making functions to ensure a coherent strategy to achieve an improved railway.
ORR People: To achieve ORR regulatory objectives by creating and maintaining a team of people who are appropriately skilled, motivated and resourced, and have an Office environment which encourages efficiency and effective working.
Approach: We will pursue our high level aim and seek to achieve our specific objectives by

Working together with public funding authorities, user representatives and the industry.
Identifying the improvements which we think the new railway is capable of achieving and acting to produce results better than those that could have been achieved without the work of this Office.
Carrying out all our work in an efficient manner which commands respect and wins authority


Annex C

Framework of Communication between the Secretary of State, Franchising Director and the Rail Regulator

The Secretary of State and the Rail Regulator agree that effective working relationships between them, and with the Franchising Director, will enhance the performance and exercise of functions of each. Regular, clear communication will support that aim. To this end:

The Secretary of State recognises that the Rail Regulator and the Franchising Director must have direct access when necessary to Ministers, and regular personal contact with senior officials, in order to ensure clarity of strategy, policy and priorities.
The Rail Regulator agrees that continued regular personal liaison and discussion with the Franchising Director, and with local and regional funders of railway services, will enhance the performance by each in the public interest.
The Secretary of State and the Rail Regulator agree that regular liaison and discussion between their respective officials, and those of the Franchising Director, must be encouraged and supported. They agree that existing bilateral arrangements between the Office of the Rail Regulator and the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising, and between the Office of the Rail Regulator and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, should be reviewed and where necessary strengthened. They agree that the contribution which could be made by regular discussion between all three offices, and with local and regional Authorities, should be explored and reflected in appropriate liaison arrangements.
The Secretary of State and the Rail Regulator agree that appropriate arrangements will be put in place to ensure effective liaison in respect of public announcements which have a bearing on their respective objectives.
The Secretary of State and the Rail Regulator agree to keep these arrangements under review and to make such changes as they consider necessary from time to time.


Railhub Archive ::: 1997-11-06 ORR-001





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