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Key issues for consultation
How best to improve efficiency and reduce costs to taxpayers
The work we will do to assess the scope for future efficiency improvements by Network Rail will be critical to reducing costs. So too will our work to incentivise Network Rail and train operators to work together to reduce costs and increase revenues.
How best to improve the transparency of industry costs?
Better quality and more granular publicly available data will support improved benchmarking of Network Rail’s costs; allow for efficiency benefit sharing between Network Rail and train operators; facilitate more local decision making; and provide better information to taxpayers and fare payers, including on where public subsidy is being spent.
How to get the industry to play a bigger role in planning and delivering the railway?
The industry is closer to customers than government and better placed to respond to customer demand and expectations. We are encouraging the development of an industry plan to inform our periodic review and a clear delivery plan at the end of the review to ensure that it is implemented.
How to get the best out of, and continue to develop, the rail network?
At a time of rising demand and concerns over costs we need to ensure that informed choices are made between capital enhancement and operational solutions (such as timetabling) to problems like congestion on the rail network. Questions also arise as to which projects should be supported in a cash strained environment. The periodic review will look at how incentives and access charges can be used to support this.
How best to balance risk and reward across the industry?
Risks between Network Rail and its customers and funders should be allocated according to who is best placed to manage them to provide the best value for money overall. In line with this, the periodic review will look to balance risks and rewards for Network Rail.
How best to deliver better value for money without
There can be no compromise on safety. Significant change will be required from the rail industry and it is essential that the way this change is planned and implemented does not jeopardise safety. We will ensure safety is integral to our approach to the review.