Atkins & Faithful+Gould with High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd

Performance Improvement in the Public Sector

Phase One of High Speed 2 (HS2) will deliver a new railway line that will form the backbone of Britain’s transport network and revolutionise the nation’s public transport. For this to be achieved, a joint HS2 and Network Rail ‘On Network Works’ (ONW) team is delivering a critical £1.6bn programme of once-in-a-generation infrastructure works to Network Rail’s assets along the 140-mile route.

However, the partnership brought challenge from the creation of a new team without a defined way to work together, with no single processes of operation. Over time the team felt frustration, inefficiency, and lack of collaboration. The result was multiple layers of process and governance resulting in potential overspend and a risk of impacting the delivery of HS2. ONW needed to find a single way of working, to improve efficiency, collaboration, and value for money.

Atkins and Faithful + Gould, members of the SNC Lavalin Group, brought a truly diverse team, bringing together rail industry experience and learning from a range of other industries. Most importantly, the team combined experience with young professionals who brought fresh new insight to the challenge, somewhat unusual for the rail industry. Genuine collaboration, openness and honesty were at the heart of the relationship that our diverse team built with ONW. This enabled us to work seamlessly as one team, to think differently and get to the true root of the problems that had been growing without proper diagnosis.

We engaged with over 50 advocates in ONW to optimise processes and ways of working, created ‘one source of the truth’ and provided the catalyst for cultural change, collaboration and embracing diversity.

The new optimised and aligned processes will significantly reduce delays and remove the duplication that would drain resource and cost. These changes are projected to make a significant and material saving of public money through the course of ONW’s remaining 10-year programme. Above all, in building collaboration and a culture of ‘One Team’, creating jointly owned processes and new ways of working for the first time, people no longer see themselves as simply Network Rail or HS2 employees but identify as an integral part of the ONW team.

Whilst ONW had identified the best people for the team, the issues of collaboration across the organisations of HS2 and Network Rail meant the true value and benefit of this diversity were seriously limited. This project provided a shining example of embracing diversity, enabling genuine collaboration to unlock serious performance improvement.

This demonstrates clearly what the industry has been missing since its inception and what it absolutely needs to deliver our railways of the future.

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