EY with Network Rail

Performance Improvement in the Private Sector

Network Rail plays an essential role in keeping the UK moving and employs 45,000 people and supports a further 200,000 contractors across its supply chain. Safety has to be at the heart of everything it does, not least for its employees, contractors, passengers and any member of the wider public that comes into contact with the railway. However, in recent years serious concerns were raised over Network Rail’s safety management systems. Since 2008, 33 fatalities have occurred on its infrastructure, most recently in 2019 at Margam East Junction on the South Wales main line – where three track workers were working on a line that was open to traffic, without the presence of formally appointed lookouts to warn them of approaching trains. This acted as a stark reminder that Network Rail still had a lot to do to transform itself and improve safety on the railway. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) identified a number of deeply embedded causes behind these incidents, from the way the safe work system was planned and authorised to a lack of effective challenges among colleagues when the same system deteriorated on work sites.

Twice, Network Rail had launched a programme specifically designed to address these problems. Both times, the programme failed, leaving Network Rail employees sceptical that the organisation could ever get safety truly right.

In response, as part of Network Rail’s Planning4Delivery (P4D) Programme to deliver safer workplaces for everyone working on the railway, EY and its partners have successfully developed and launched RailHub – a solution centred around an all-in-one digital platform that systemises Safety Standard 019, allowing users to identify, understand and mitigate safety risks, book access to the track to carry out work, deconflict sites of work, and capture the progress of work and lessons learned. Our transformation approach to implementing this solution was based on our many years of experience working with Network Rail on similar engagements and drew on gold-standard industry frameworks and methods.

RailHub, which went live in July 2021, has radically transformed the way Network Rail manages the safety on the rail network for the better. It has enabled Network Rail to deliver on its safety promise to reduce the number of near misses and lost time incidents, reduce staff fatigue and address operational risks while, significantly, helping to change the organisation’s safety behaviour and culture by ensuring work is systematically carried out following the correct safety procedures. It has also resulted in enhanced performance through elements such as live, cloud-based solutions offering real-time checks on employee competency, and greater efficiencies by transitioning away from two legacy systems. The benefits delivered by the RailHub platform go far beyond Network Rail, to include everyone with any connection to the railway. And thanks to the drive and professionalism of the EY team, the platform has enabled Network Rail to take a significant step towards fulfilling its core mission: Everyone home safe every day.

View the EY profile in the MCA Members Directory.