- Market studies
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We have a range of functions and responsibilities to keep railway markets under review and to take appropriate measures where markets are not working to the benefit of users or funders. Our statutory responsibilities to monitor markets arise from sector specific legislation: the Railways Act 1993 and the Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) Regulations 2005, and from responsibilities which we hold concurrently with the OFT and other regulators under the Enterprise Act 2002. We fulfill these responsibilities through a programme of market studies.
Potential outcomes from our market studies may be a clean bill of health or our findings may indicate:
- we need to review study the market in more depth;
- the issues identified could be effectively dealt with using sectoral legislation, for example using licence enforcement or by the DfT under franchise arrangements;
- there are grounds for making a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission;
- there has been a breach of competition law, in which case we may launch a separate investigation.
We have published a guidance document on our approach to market studies (PDF) which provides further details on how we intend to fulfil our responsibilities. We have also published our market study prioritisation criteria, in which we outline which areas to look at next.
Our guidance sets out our approach, which has three stages. These are:
- an initial diagnostic research study (usually lasting up to three months) in which we will gather information in-house: from our own records; governmental; and public sources, to assess how a market is functioning and whether there appear to be market problems that warrant further attention;
- a more detailed consultative public study (usually lasting up to six months), including consultation with external stakeholders, in which we make a fuller assessment of any concerns identified during the research study; and
- a concluding remedies study (usually lasting up to twelve months), including further engagement and appropriate public consultation with external stakeholders in which we reach a view on the appropriate remedies for market problems, we would use this stage, for example, to develop undertakings in lieu of a market investigation reference.
Suggestions for markets to review
We welcome submissions from business and consumers where they feel that a rail market would benefit from a review. If you wish to suggest a market for review, please first look at our guidance document and then use our suggestions form (PDF) to provide your views and any supporting information that you might have.
We normally assess and identify areas to review on an annual basis, to inform corporate planning for the forthcoming business year. This means your proposal will usually be assessed alongside other proposals in the autumn for review from the following spring.
- We have not yet conducted remedies studies.
Last updated: 27 January 2012
- ORR's approach to reviewing markets ( PDF 383 Kb).
- Consultation conclusions: 2009 edition of ORR's approach to reviewing railway markets - ORR cover letter ( PDF 51 Kb).
- ORR's approach to reviewing markets - Annex B: Market study proposal form ( PDF 47 Kb).
- Consultation: ORR’s approach to reviewing markets ( PDF 416 Kb).