Infrastructure Construction

Client: Network Rail

Assignment: Supporting the Drainage and Lineside Advancement Programme (DLAP).

Helping Network Rail create Transformational Change

The Problem

Past events and increasing effects of climate change highlighted the value and importance of Drainage and Lineside – not only for the operations of Network Rail but for the safety of passengers and the workforce.

In the aftermath of a fatal derailment at Carmont in 2020, Professor Lord Robert Mair led a task force to review Network Rail’s approaches to earthworks management. It recommended several ways in which Network Rail can improve safety and performance and better respond to weather risks across the rail network.

The Solution

We worked collaboratively with Arup and Network Rail for the Competence Standard work package.

With an emphasis on communicating and embedding a Competence Management Standard for Drainage and Lineside; we focussed on new professional competencies, to support individuals within Drainage and Lineside with clear career pathways to enhance learning and career development.

  • Designed, developed, and delivered over 120 briefings to all individuals including the Section Manager level.
  • Created supporting communications tools using rich pictures and animated videos.
  • Engaged stakeholders, Regional Change Leads, and members of the community at the newly launched Annual Drainage & Lineside Conference.
  • Improved and updated the Competence Management Standard Index and supporting documents, the Handbook and Careers Pathways document.
  • Developed and agreed Role profiles for each region and uploaded them to the Network Rails Oracle system.
  • Developed visual displays from dashboards on PowerBI to enable line managers and individuals in each region and by team to view the level of competence and gaps overall.

To develop the ‘Resource Calculator’ Bourton working with specialist firm Cogitare, developed a Tool and accompanying documents to help planners appropriately size the workforce.

  • Carried out in-depth data analysis and measurement to understand the time tasks take and how often they need to be done. The ‘calculator’ converts this into the workforce required and the cost associated.
  • Worked closely with Network Rail teams to create a roadmap for Reliability-Centred Maintenance to help planning teams manage risk sufficiently by ensuring the safe minimum of tasks that must be done to preserve the function of rail assets.
  • Built strong relationships with operational teams, engaging with stakeholders through many site visits and organisational governance forums, tailoring approaches for different regions and stakeholders. This ensured they understood the changes being made and the reasons behind them – increasing the likelihood of adoption and acceptance.

To develop the Training Catalogue, Bourton worked with specialists from partner Coventry University to develop a training catalogue to support the development of the Offtrack community, this involved:

  • Engaging with several stakeholder groups to design training requirements, overall curriculum, individual course-level training, and design reports to enable National Rail to turn these into practical training products at a future date.
  • An organisation-wide training needs analysis survey to inform the approach; resulting feedback was incorporated into the training design.
  • Piloting a training course from the curriculum; feedback used to inform the next phase of training development.

The Benefits

Embedding Offtrack Competence Standards – a new competence management standard provided the underlying structure to support career progression, elevating the perception of drainage and lineside activities, and positively promoting the functions across the network rail community.

  • Operational leaders were able to ensure the right people with the appropriate competence are now managing risks.
  • A stronger focus on professional competence was created which will enhance performance and collaboration across teams.
  • By developing a Resource Calculator tool – resource planners can now plan work more effectively.
  • By using more realistic data ensures there is sufficient dedicated resources to deliver work; be able to achieve compliance more easily to standards, and manage and reduce risk to the railway.

As a result of developing the framework for training, appropriate content was provided to enable a stronger focus on professional competence and career pathways for employees.

  • This set aspirations for knowledge and skill enhancement, which in turn improved the learning and development of the community and fostered career-focused discussions.
  • The community was provided with a suite of available courses aligned to the skills needed to produce a more engaging learning experience.
  • This approach made it easier for the client to procure training interventions in the future, and maintain excellence.

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