Press releases

ORR launches consultation on the future model for the Rail Ombudsman

28 June 2022
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today launched a consultation on proposals for an operating model for the future Rail Ombudsman.
Cover Image
Passengers looking at departure board

The current consumer redress and dispute resolution scheme was established in November 2018 by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) on behalf of train companies.

ORR will take over responsibility from RDG for sponsoring the Rail Ombudsman, as proposed in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, reinforcing the scheme’s independence.

The consultation contains:

  • proposals for an operating model for the future Rail Ombudsman, which specifies the functions it will perform and to what standard, as well as the way it will be constituted, governed and held to account; and
  • proposed licence modifications required as part of the ORR sponsorship process.

The feedback ORR receives will inform the specification for a competitive tender process later in 2022. This will identify a not-for-profit provider of the new model Rail Ombudsman.

An announcement of the winner of this competition is expected in early 2023.

Notes to editors:

  1. Consultation on a draft Rail Ombudsman operating model
  2. The Office of Rail and Road is the economic and safety regulator of Britain’s railway. ORR also holds National Highways to account for its performance and efficiency.
  3. Our passenger facing work derives from the licences we issue to train and station operators, including Network Rail for its managed stations, and from our powers and responsibilities under consumer and competition law
  4. An independent review of the Rail Ombudsman was published by ORR in July 2020. The review concluded that it was broadly working well, but improvements could be made to aspects such as governance, which included a recommendation that ORR should take on the role as the Ombudsman’s sponsor from RDG.
  5. ORR has also today published the outcome of the consultation it launched last summer on replacing its current guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders with a new Complaints Code of Practice. ORR is now seeking the views of stakeholders on the wording of the revised Code and on the draft licence condition. Details of how to respond are set out in our consultation response document here