The government has made significant progress strengthening its rail franchising programme after delivering on key recommendations outlined by the independent Brown Review into rail franchising, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said today (11 July 2013).
Publication of the government’s response provides further certainty to the rail industry by confirming the key principles that shape the Department for Transport’s franchising policy as it works towards delivering the best possible franchises for both passengers and taxpayers.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
The independent Brown review was clear that franchising is the best way to secure services for passengers. It provided a sensible approach to strengthen a process that has contributed significantly to the success of our railways.
Since the review was published, the department has worked hard to implement its recommendations. Good progress has been made and we are on course to deliver a franchising programme that promotes a thriving rail industry and secures the best deal for passengers and taxpayers.
The review by Eurostar Chairman Richard Brown was one of two independent reports commissioned by the department following the collapse of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition last October.
The government’s response sets out the significant work that has been carried out to implement the recommendations since the publication of the review in January. These include:
- resuming the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern and Essex Thameside franchise competitions
- providing long-term certainty to the rail industry by publishing a clear and deliverable new rail franchising schedule
- successfully negotiating the first interim contract of that schedule with train operator c2c for the Essex Thameside franchise - an invitation to tender for the long-term franchise will be issued to bidders in July
- setting up the Franchising Advisory Panel – an independent body of industry experts that will provide support and assurance to the department
- organising a UK Rail Opportunities Day to promote interest amongst existing and potential new entrants to the rail franchising market
- publishing a Franchise procurement process map and Franchise competition guide to provide the rail industry with detailed guidance
- strengthening the department’s capability and internal governance through the appointment of a new Director General for Rail and Franchising Director and implementing a new rail group structure
While much work on implementing the Brown review has now been carried out, the department will continue to implement its recommendations through the successful roll out of its franchising programme and publication of further guidance.
Notes to editors
The government’s response to the Brown review and information on the government’s franchising schedule is available.