Consultation on revised guidance on developing and maintaining staff competence

Consultation status
Conclusions published
Date of publication
Closing date

Revised guidance

We have now completed the consultation on the revision of this guidance. The clear consensus was that the approach advocated in RSP1 remains overwhelmingly fit-for-purpose,  so there are no wholesale changes in the structure of the guidance. However, additions and improvements have been made in the following areas, which organisations should consider in relation to their own competence management arrangements:

  • Non-technical skills (NTS). As proposed during the consultation, guidance has been added on the integration of NTS into all five phases of the competence management system, and a new Appendix 2 on NTS introduced, which:
    • Outlines what NTS are, and why integrating NTS into selection processes and ongoing staff development is important in order to properly control risks;
    • Outlines that although NTS integration is important, it is not in any way a substitute for good equipment and system design, which should always remain the priority in eliminating or reducing risk;
    • Stresses that care is needed to understand the relative importance of: selecting individuals with appropriate personal characteristics and NTS for a particular role at the outset, and; developing the appropriate NTS in an individual through training and development.
  • Links to other recent competence guidance. The revision provided an opportunity to include reference to competence management guidance published since the 2007 edition, especially RSSB’s Good Practice Guide on Competence Development and supporting guidance on e.g. NTS, competence retention & skill-fade, and on supporting a fair culture in relation to action plans after incidents.

The revised guidance is available below:

Developing and maintaining staff competence - Railway Safety Publication 1
November 2016


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Date published: 10 March 2016
Closing date: 31 May 2016, 5 pm

As part of the Office of Rail and Road’s regular review of our guidance, we are reviewing and updating ORR Railway Safety Publication RSP1 ‘Developing and maintaining staff competence’.

The current guidance sets out the principles and features of a generic, logical competence management system, consisting of five phases, broken down into fifteen generic principles. The industry appears broadly content that the generic system advocated is fit-for-purpose, supported by the availability of comprehensive supporting guidance, especially from RSSB.

We do not believe that a major revision is needed. Broadly, we propose adding content on the integration of Non-Technical Skills (NTS) into competence management systems, and updating the references. The letter to consultees and its appendix outline our reasoning. An informal pre-consultation with a small cross-section of industry representatives suggests that our proposed approach appears proportionate.

Consultation documents