In preparation for this year’s Rail Safety Summit, we sat down with leading figures from the rail safety industry and asked them a series of pressing questions about safety practices within the rail industry.
Today’s question is:
To improve safety performance do we now need new forms of contract in the rail industry?
Willie Baker, Emergency Incident Consultant:
I’m not convinced that contracts inspire and motivate people to give of their best!
Having good people who know their role and responsibility and are therefore accountable is probably more important that tinkering with contracts.
In lesson 8 of his 13 rules of leadership Gen. Colin Powell said; Organisation doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.
Seamus Scallon, Safety Director, UK Rail, FirstGroup:
The tendering process probably needs to be more explicit in terms of corporate values and workforce safety culture expectations.
This approach would likely require reinforcement as an integral part of the contract management regime.
Steve Diksa, Assurance Services Director, Bridgeway Consulting:
Yes, more value for money service based delivery contracts – with longevity, rather than short term contract, agency type, lowest rate wins.
Recent tenders have seen a marked difference in the ratio of scoring, with safety now being more prevalent in the scoring mechanism
Catherine Behan, Head of HS&E Capital Programmes, Transport for London:
I don’t think that it’s contracts that are the challenge, it’s our behaviour within them that makes the difference. I guess that sounds a bit like the Lofstedt statement about the issues being less about the legislation and more about the way in which we elect to apply it!
Dr Liesel Von Metz, HM Inspector of Railways:
It’s not really about contracts – it’s about the importance of what lies behind those contracts – it’s about leadership and management.
Where you have good leadership and mature management, you can build collaborative working relationships.
Where you have those relationships, you have fair contracts that all parties benefit from. If you get the foundations of leadership, mature management and culture right, you get the safety and high performance.
That’s why ORR is assessing the industry against the RM3 model which looks at these underlying critical factors.
Christian Fletcher, Director, Zonegreen:
Absolutely, the design and build type contracts are a typical example. A construction company may look at the contract and think we can save some money here and snip a bit there.
The problem with this is the builder is buying a safety system that 9 times out of 10 is bought on price and not designed with safety in mind.
The Train Operating Companies maintenance / safety team should get involved at an earlier stage and we find that when the product is specified from the start you have a safer depot. I have seen contracts where the large part of the weighting is on the cheapest price, not the safest solution.
Tomorrow’s ‘We ask the rail safety experts’ will see our experts answer this question:
Do we value and trust competent rail workers to the extent that they deserve?
To read Friday’s interview click here
The Rail Safety Summit is taking place on April 19th 2012 in Loughborough.
For more information, please visit www.railsafetysummit.com
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