Anna Walker has been reappointed as the chair of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) until December 2015, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (6 March 2014).
The appointment will provide continuity of leadership for the independent regulator as it oversees the beginning of the industry’s upcoming £38 billion programme of rail investment.
The former chief executive of the Healthcare Commission has been in charge of the regulator since 2009, providing oversight on safety, performance and efficiency of the railways.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
These are exciting times for our railways as we embark on the biggest programme of rail investment ever. This will deliver significant benefits to both passengers and taxpayers and I am determined it is delivered on time and on budget.
With so much public money involved, it is vital that we have robust oversight of Network Rail to ensure every pound spent delivers significant benefits for passengers and tax payers alike. I look to Anna to continue to provide the leadership for the regulator and for her team to continue to hold Network Rail to account.
Network Rail will spend £38 billion over the next 5 years to maintain, upgrade and expand the network and deliver significant landmark schemes such as Thameslink, Crossrail, the Northern Hub and electrification of the Great Western and Midland Main Lines.
Welcoming the reappointment on behalf of ORR, the regulator’s chief executive Richard Price said:
Anna Walker’s reappointment as chair of the Office of Rail Regulation is excellent news, not only for the regulator, but for the whole industry. The continuity of Anna’s leadership, as the industry implements plans for the railways between 2014 and 2019, will help the industry to build on successes over the past 5 years and deliver even more for customers and taxpayers.
Anna Walker said:
I am delighted to be continuing my role as chair of the Office of Rail Regulation until the end of 2015. This is a crucial time for the railways as the whole industry works to implement plans for 2014 and 2019, which will build on the improvements in safety, performance and efficiency we have seen over the past 5 years. I will be working to ensure that rail passengers and customers are at the heart of these exciting plans and significant investment.
Anna Walker’s previous roles include chief executive of the Healthcare Commission from 2004 to 2009, and director general for Land Use and Rural Affairs at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2001 to 2003, director general at the Department for Trade and Industry, responsible for the government’s energy policy from 1998 to 2001. She was also deputy director general at the Office of Telecommunications from 1993 to 1997.
She led an independent review of household water charging for the government in 2008 to 2009. She chairs a charity, Young Epilepsy, was vice-chair of Consumer Focus and is on the Board of Welsh Water. She is also currently a member of council of Which?
The appointment of the ORR chair is subject to the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA) code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies and to pre-appointment scrutiny by the Transport Select Committee (TSC). The TSC has confirmed it is content with the reappointment. The OCPA code requires that any declared political activity be published. Anna Walker has not undertaken any political activity.