Holding Network Rail to account


How we hold Network Rail to account against the network licence.

We seek to secure the best possible outcomes for passengers, freight customers, funders and taxpayers. Network Rail has obligations that it must comply with. These include ensuring:

  • the network operates safely 
  • passenger and freight train operating companies have fair access to the rail network 
  • that the market is competitive and fair 

Approach for control period 7

Following our PR23 final determination, our holding to account policy for control period 7 (2024 to 2029) is informed by principles of regulatory best practice. It is:

  • risk-based: we focus our resources on the greatest risks
  • targeted: at specific concerns and the part(s) of Network Rail’s business that we consider responsible − to ensure accountability and strong performance incentives at all levels within Network Rail
  • proportionate: our actions reflect the scale and nature of the problems and the likely costs and benefits to different parties of taking action 
  • transparent: we publish our view of Network Rail’s performance, whether we have concerns and any action we might take

Managing change

Our managing change policy is an integral part of how we ensure a robust regulatory framework. It allows for appropriate changes to be made to Network Rail’s plans in a transparent manner, providing us with an early sight of the proposed changes and an opportunity to understand the implications of them. 

This also facilitates engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and funders. 

The approach enables us to be flexible to changes in circumstance while being clear what Network Rail is accountable for delivering.