Enhancements independent reporters reports

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Network Rail's network licence includes a condition providing for independent experts (reporters) to be appointed by the network operator (Network Rail), to provide ORR with advice on different aspects of Network Rail’s performance.

The independent reporters support our monitoring of enhancement projects by reviewing Network Rail’s ability to plan and deliver projects and programmes and to manage the portfolio of enhancements.

The reports below assess control period 5 (CP5), which covers the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019. A control period is our assessment of what Network Rail must achieve during that period and the funding it requires for it.

CP5 reports
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Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) Efficiency Review
During the last control period (CP5) Network Rail delivered the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme, a series of enhancements between Edinburgh and Glasgow, including electrification of the line and the upgrade of Queen Street Station. We reported on progress throughout in our Network Rail Monitor. As part of the contractual arrangements put in place at the time, one of our roles is to decide whether costs incurred were efficient and therefore could be included in the programme's Target Price. We have used the Independent Reporter (Nichols) to undertake detailed analysis of the electrification costs incurred before the end of 2017, when this element was completed, and we are now publishing their Executive summary. On the basis of the report's findings, ORR considers that no further changes to the Target are justified.
Since 2017 performance on the project has improved significantly and the final element of EGIP, the upgrade of Queen Street Station, has progressed to programme and on budget. In addition the delivery of the remaining electrification portfolio in Scotland also improved and schemes were completed on time or early. In response to the review Network Rail has set out what lessons were learned from EGIP and the changes they have made to project delivery during CP6.
Published 23 June 2020

Review of the Industry Risk Fund and Network Rail Fee Fund - Executive summary
A key tool for enabling third party investment in the rail industry is the Risk Fund Mechanism which aims to protect both Network Rail and investors against some of the risks associated with such investment. In light of the requirement to facilitate greater levels of third party investment and following feedback from users of the mechanism that it might represent a barrier to investment, ORR asked Arup to review it and answer four specific questions: 1. Is the current mechanism to cover liabilities associated with the risk fees the most appropriate? 2. What have been the successes of the current mechanism? 3. Is there evidence that the mechanism has acted as a deterrent to investment? 4. What alternatives to the Risk Funds can be identified to fund these risks and to encourage investment? The Executive Summary of Arup’s report is published here. ORR will adopt in full Arup’s recommendations. We will also seek assurance from Network Rail that it will take steps to improve training and guidance for its project teams dealing with third-parties.
15 January 2019

Review of improvements to the management of complex railway programmes
Network Rail had been working with its funders and stakeholders to improve the management of complex railway programmes.  This was a key part of its enhancements improvement plan.  This report reviews how these improvements have been embedded, by reviewing six enhancement programmes, and recommends further developments to improve these processes in the future.
24 November 2017

Stirling Dunblane Alloa electrification project deliverability review - Summary report
In May 2017, we commissioned an Independent Reporter, Nichols, to carry out a deliverability review of Stirling Dunblane Alloa (SDA) electrification project. The forecast cost for the works had risen considerably since the beginning of the control period and Network Rail was indicating costs were due to rise still further. Network Rail also raised serious concerns regarding the ability of the project to deliver its obligations in line with the regulated outputs and milestones and overall confidence in the programme had fallen considerably. The project was facing major challenges in securing the necessary engineering access, procuring delivery of the works and defining the scope required for electrical compliance requirements.
25 July 2017

Assurance related to Network Rail’s enhancement improvement plan (December 2016 to May 2017)
Network Rail has been working on an improvement plan since October 2015, to increase its capability to govern, manage and deliver its enhancements portfolio.  This report reviews Network Rail’s progress with implementing and embedding four of the seven improvement plan workstreams.
30 June 2017

Network Rail and third party delivered station works - Efficiency review (Arup)
This review’s aim was to determine if 1. Costs incurred for NR station projects are efficient and 2. NR is more expensive in station project delivery than other bodies.
In our study we assessed NR delivered footbridges and lift projects on stations, TOC delivered smaller scale improvements on stations and local government delivered new stations.
We found NR’s costs had improved over time and were favourable to other comparable industries, although we can’t say NR can’t be more efficient.
Due to the different type of station projects, and as NR recorded costs differently to other bodies, we can’t say whether there is a significant difference in their respective project costs. To overcome this we recommend that all publicly funded railway projects use a consistent methodology, namely RMM, to record their project costs.
6 May 2016

Control period 5 (CP5) enhancements - Independent assurance of Sir Peter Hendy review - Summary report by  Nichols
ORR and Network Rail jointly commissioned an independent report for assurance on the re-planned investment programme to 2019, (The Hendy Re-plan). The report emphasises the importance of Network Rail’s Enhancement Improvement Programme (EIP), which is designed to improve Network Rail's capability to plan, cost and deliver projects. ORR is monitoring Network Rail’s delivery of its EIP as this underpins delivery of the re-planned investment programme. Network Rail’s response to the report is available.
30 November 2015