TfW Board minutes
2021 10:00 – 16:30
Members: Scott Waddington (Chair); Nicola Kemmery; Heather Clash; Vernon Everitt; Sarah Howells; Alison Noon Jones; and James Price.
In attendance: Natalie Feeley (items 1-3); Leyton Powell (items 1-2c); and Jeremy Morgan. Operational update session (Part B): Geoff Ogden; Lewis Brencher; Lisa Yates; Lee Robinson (items 13 and 14); Karl Gilmore; Phil Rawlings (item 5) and Natalie Rees (item 6).
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Part A – Full Board Meeting
1a. Apologies for Absence
Alun Bowen sent his apologies.
1b. Notice of Quorum
A quorum being present, the Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and declared the meeting open.
1c. Declarations of Interest
James Price is a resident of Taffs Well where significant works related to the South Wales Metro programme are currently being undertaken.
1d. Minutes & Actions of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the TfW Board meeting 17 June 2021 were approved as a true and accurate record.
2a. Safety Moment
An inquest is underway concerning an electrical apprentice who died a few years ago carrying out works in a trench. The supervisor was absent, and the apprentice had previously failed several safety tests. However, supervisor was not aware of the failed tests. There are several lessons to be learnt including the need for supervisors being fully aware of their role and responsibilities.
2b. Customer moment
Recent customer feedback to a TfW non-executive director was entirely positive in relation to using services to and from Cardiff Central.
2c. Safety performance
No incidents or accidents were reported for TfW Group this period. Positive feedback has been received on guidance for face-to-face meetings. Plans are in development for reviewing the Occupational Health and Hygiene strategy to understand how TfW as a business can moderate the numerous biological, chemical physical, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards associated with workplaces. Several important workstreams have progressed including drawing up plans for office working, risk assessments at cleaning depots, and development of the TfW Visible Felt Leadership process. Regarding TfW Rail, there were no RIDDOR reportable accidents or SPADs during the previous period and the Fatality Weighted Index remained within the predicted figure. There were 12 workforce events, eight physical assaults - three of which resulted in lost time. Welsh Government face covering guidelines are clear and are to be worn on all services in Wales. The Board discussed the need to have consistent and clear customer messaging as well as ensuring action is taken against to anyone abusing staff trying to enforce the guidelines. The Board asked whether compulsory wearing of face coverings can be made a ‘condition of carriage’ for people using TfW services in England. It was confirmed that the only enforcement measure is stop someone travelling and fines cannot be issued under conditions of carriage. The Board agreed that the merits of wearing face coverings as a condition of carriage should be explored in consultation with the Rail team and DfT [Action LP]. The Board were also informed that there has been a significant increase in people using exemptions from wearing face coverings, with last week being the first week that people claiming exemptions was higher than the number of people being asked to wear a face covering. The Board were introduced to the proposed revised Health, Safety and Wellbeing sub-committee terms of reference which have been aligned to the TfW Rail Safety sub-committee. The terms of reference have been updated following a meeting with ORR to discuss TfW Group’s responsibilities around safety which mainly relate to its own staff and seeking arms-length assurance from TfW Rail. The Board approved the revised terms of reference.
3a. CEO report
Last month was again productive and more is being done to plan strategically for the future and to solution some of the more difficult issues. Business critical decisions are still awaited from the Welsh Government on Pullman, the FIT programme, agreeing the 2021-22 budget and remit, Articles of Association and Framework document. The main corporate challenges continue around being a joined-up multi-mode planner and deliverer of transport services in an efficient way. Progress is being made on strategic and long-term thinking around organisational design and processes including embedding potential FIT programme changes, especially the strategic highways network. The Board were updated on KPIs. Whilst rail measures are in place and being used at various levels of the TfW group, work continues with the Welsh Government to develop corporate and efficiency metrics. Draft indicators will be brought to the Board for discussion at the next meeting. Approaches have been made from several parts of the public sector to provide support around professional services and back-office support. The strategy for dealing with such approaches is in development with a focus on recovering costs and ensuring any activities do not compromise TfW operations. The Board were updated on the acquisition of Pullman Rail Ltd, with a Welsh Ministers decision pending. TfW Rail KPIs are showing adequate performance, but with some Class 769 issues still under investigation and with passengers returning, services are being impacted. With Pacers out of service and issues with Class 769s, potential solutions are being investigated. TfW teams are being challenged to improve ownership and delivery of ‘tricky issues’. A plan has been developed to start a shorter than usual programme for railway works to improve the look and feel at Queen Street Station, which will be used as a pilot to reduce time and cost of complex programmes. As requested by the Unions, ‘fire and rehire’ was raised with the Welsh Government but no response has been issued. However, it was confirmed that the First Minister recently made a Senedd statement on the issue [Action JP to share with NF] - blacked out.
The Board were provided with an overview of key finance activities over the last month. Work has centred on working towards agreeing the final budget and remit with the Welsh Government; integration of TfW Rail including controls and spend approvals for 2021/22; rolling Stock planning and negotiations; KPI reporting; Rail Strategic review; and additional activities including active travel grants, bus initiatives, PTI, TfW Innovation Services and other key strategic plans for future financial years The Board noted the management accounts for June 2021 including key variances. Revenue expenditure variances were an underspend due to increased revenue within TfW Rail and therefore a lower requirement for subsidy and an underspend on TfW consultancy services due to the anticipated project work not yet commenced without absolute commitment from the Welsh Government on the Business Plan and budget. There is likely to be a full year reduction due to revised anticipated rail revenue and thereby decreasing the need for as high subsidy combined with delayed spend. It was noted that transformation infrastructure works are overspent because ERDF funds have not yet been received and as a result, revised project phasing is in place.
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The Board welcomed an increase in passenger revenue but were concerned over the levels of ticketless travel. The Board agreed the need for a thoughtful approach to protecting revenue to ensure the safety of ticket inspectors is not compromised. The Board asked for data on passenger revenue compared to the pre-COVID levels if ticketless travel was reduced [Action HC]. The Board noted TfW Rail financial performance over the previous period. Revenue has increased and spend is favourable to budget because of delays in activities but spend will catch-up during the year.
3c. Update on sub-committees
The Board were updated on meetings of the Health, Safety and Well-Being, Remuneration and Major Projects committees.
3d. TfW Steering Board
The Chair updated the Board on discussions at the recent informal TfW Steering Board. Discussions centred around changes to Welsh Government key personnel, social distancing, Steering Board governance, KPIs, the bus programme, the role of Welsh Government Deputy Directors and TfW travel passes.
Part B – Operational update session
Lewis Brencher, Leyton Powell, Karl Gilmore, Lisa Yates and Geoff Ogden joined the meeting.
4. Communications update
The last period has continued to be challenging due to the scrutiny TfW is receiving owing to growing passenger numbers and social distancing. The refreshed ‘personal responsibility’ narrative is helping with the response and is being broadly accepted by customers and stakeholders. Delivery on several initiatives continues with particular success around the launch of campaigns such as the level crossing safety campaign which achieved broad UK coverage. There is also a focus on preparation for a period to proactively encourage demand as well as the support of the transformation programme. It was agreed to clarify the regulatory position on wearing masks on open air stations [Action LB and LP].
5. Sale of Syphon land
Phil Rawlings joined the meeting. Subject to Welsh Ministers’ approval, the Board agreed to sell a very small slice of land to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council for market value of £1 with restriction on use. The Board were informed that following a park and ride scheme several years ago land belonging to Network Rail at the time was fenced out and incorporated into Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s (RCT) highways boundary. Network Rail had the intention to regularise the position of their boundary, but the land transfer was not progressed and TfW inherited it as an in-flight transaction as part of the Core Valley Lines infrastructure transfer.
6. Sustainable development update
Natalie Rees joined the meeting to highlight some of the key deliverables against the seven well-being goals. The Board passed on its thanks to all involved in delivering a significant number of initiatives.
7. CVL update
The Board were updated on CVL transformation programme key achievements including the position against budget and achievement of milestones. There were no significant safety issues to report. The Board were informed that there are several hundred deliverables required every month which lead to accomplishing a particular milestone and a workstream has been developed to provide scrutiny on the critical path and to provide a degree of confidence in achieving those key dates. It is hoped this workstream will be able to report to the Board in the near future.
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The Board noted the Live Contract Schedule
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9. Risk register
The Board noted the current risk register. *four lines blacked out*
10. Design Commission
Wales Jen Heal, Carole-Anne Davies (both Design Commission Wales (DCW)) and Matthew Gilbert joined the meeting. DCW updated the Board on their role and remit and work carried out with TfW, especially around Placemaking.
11. Integrated transport strategy update
The Board noted the work of the Integrated Transport Steering Group; that engagement with Welsh Government officials on the strategy is scheduled to take place next week; and the intention of the Integrated Transport Steering Group to develop appropriate reporting to the TfW board, along with external communications content as appropriate by September 2021.
12. Five-year strategy
The Board noted the proposed approach to developing the five-year corporate strategy.
13. Bus update
Lee Robinson joined the meeting. The Board were updated on the various strands of the bus agenda work. The Board emphasized the need to closely align with the Network Development work with local government and to insure an integrated, unfragmented network. Updates including risks, opportunities and challenges were provided on the Fflecsi, concessionary cards, and operating model programmes.
14. Welsh Language
The Board approved a recommendation to develop a five-year Welsh Language implementation plan based on compliance, a vision and communication.
The Board noted the corporate and programme trackers.
The Chair thanked everyone for their preparation and input and a good summer break.