Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, who operate the current Rail Ombudsman scheme under a Rail Delivery Group contract, were appointed following a competitive tender process and their contract will run for five years.
The ORR sponsored scheme will introduce improvements for passengers, including:
- strengthening the accessibility requirements of the scheme, including by building improved representation of disabled passenger interests into the scheme’s governance arrangements
- a requirement to undertake testing around the access and usability of the scheme for passengers with disabilities, as well as testing general passenger awareness of the service
- strengthened relationships with transport user groups
ORR also intends to review options for reducing current case-handling response times down from the current standard of 40 working days.
Stephanie Tobyn, Director for Strategy, Policy and Reform at the ORR said:
The May 2021 Plan for Rail set out an intent for ORR to take over sponsorship of the Rail Ombudsman from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). Since this announcement, ORR has been working with stakeholders in government, industry, transport user groups and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) sector to put in place the arrangements to take on ORR’s new sponsorship role. This included launching a competitive tender process earlier this year to find a provider for the ORR-sponsored scheme.
Kevin Grix, CEO and chief ombudsman of the Rail Ombudsman, said:
ORR will be working closely with Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Rail Ombudsman scheme members and wider stakeholders to support the transition to the new ORR sponsored scheme, which will come into effect later this year.
Consumers need not take any action and can continue to access the Rail Ombudsman scheme as normal throughout the transition period.
Notes to editors
- The Rail Ombudsman scheme was launched in November 2018 and provides a free service to investigate unresolved complaints between consumers and participating train and station operators. It also supports the rail industry in raising standards and improving services for customers.
- The Dispute Resolution Ombudsman Limited, is an independent, not-for-profit, government approved Ombudsman scheme, incorporating The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman and Rail Ombudsman providing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for the rail, retail, furniture and home improvement sectors.
- The ORR contract will consist of an initial five-year term with the option for the rail regulator to extend this.