TfW Board minutes October 2019
10:00 – 15:50; 23 October 2019
South Gate House, Cardiff
Scott Waddington (SW) (Chair); James Price (JP); Heather Clash (HC); Sarah Howells (SH); Nicola Kemmery (NK); Alison Noon-Jones (ANJ); Alun Bowen (AB); Vernon Everitt (VE); Gareth Howells (GH) (items 1-3); and Jeremy Morgan (Secretariat).
Operational update session (items 5-11): Alexia Course (AC); Geoff Ogden; David O’Leary (DOL); Lewis Brencher (LB); Lee Robinson (LR); and Gareth Morgan (Part C and item 2b) (GM). Apologies – Lisa Yates and Karl Gilmore.
Part A – Full Board Meeting
1a. Apologies for Absence
Lisa Yates and Karl Gilmore sent their apologies for Part C.
1b. Notice of Quorum
A quorum being present, the Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and declared the meeting open.
1c. Conflicts of Interest
1d. Minutes & Actions of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the Board meeting 19 September 2019 were accepted as a true and accurate record.
The Board were updated on progress against several actions from the previous meeting.
2a. Safety Moment
The Board considered the onset of winter and the increasing risk of slips, trips and falls, especially as the nights draw in..
The Board were informed that TfW Rail Services are analysing whether there are behaviours linked to accidents and incidents, what action can be taken to mitigate and the possibility of using this information for targeted campaigns.
2b. Safety performance
GM joined the meeting. Overall safety performance has improved over the last month with only one Category A SPAD and one RIDDOR incident.
Clarification was provided on random drug and alcohol testing that had already taken place. It was confirmed that testing referred to at October’s Board meeting applied only to employees who require competence training and certification in Personal Track Safety and are enrolled into the Network Rail Sentinel Scheme. Outside of this scheme, TfW will be introducing its own drug and alcohol in the workplace policy which will be in line with rail industry partners’ policies and mirror the industry standards and compliance. This will include random testing.
TfW Rail Services has carried out an analysis evaluating any known or obvious links between passenger Illness and injuries on trains related to overcrowding on trains or stations. The analysis concluded that there is no significant single area for complaint; no major trend other than time of day, which shows a slight increase between 7pm and 8pm and performance in 2019 has improved over 2018.
TfW Rail Services has also launched a poster campaign to combat anti-social behaviour and staff assaults across the network. It was reported that employee assaults were high in number and mainly verbal in nature, with most caused by alcohol. Several programmes are being rolled out such as the use of body-cams, spit kits and dispute resolution training. Banning orders have also been instigated following a data sharing agreement with the British Transport Police.
The investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch around the fatal incidents in Margam is still on-going. The official report is expected in a couple of weeks and will be shared with the Board when available. The Board agreed it would be useful to have list of core safety risks and map of accountabilities.
Action - GM to table a list of core safety risks and map of accountabilities at the next Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee.
The Board discussed issues around vegetation management, particularly issues around third-party trees and the need to carry out more surveys. It was confirmed that TfW will need its own policy and procedure when the CVL asset transfers to TfW.
Action: GM to provide the Board with an outline vegetation clearance policy
The Board were informed that a safety report has been finalised on the Integrated Transport Hub in Cardiff setting out a revised way of operating the facility, including how it will operate on major event days. This will be discussed with the Welsh Government.
The Board were informed that progress has been made with Network Rail on reporting level-crossing incidents. The Board agreed that any changes to how level crossings are used will need to be evidenced based. The level-crossing strategy will be tabled at the next Board meeting.
Action: GM to table level-crossing strategy at November’s Board meeting
The Board discussed the need for TfW to be clear on its formal and informal safety obligations and accountabilities before accepting the CVL asset. This needs to include areas where TfW may not have legal responsibility but will have a moral responsibility.
Action: GM to table matrix/table on CVL safety obligations and accountabilities at November’s Board meeting
GM left the meeting.
3a. CEO report
JP provided summary on his take of the business over the last month. It was emphasised that one of the main areas of focus needs to be on ensuring a balance between delivery and thinking more strategically, with a need to set the agenda rather than have others set it for TfW.
The Board discussed some of the immediate issues currently faced by TfW. Good progress had been made on concessionary bus pass renewals. Work is also on-going to reach a final agreed price for CVL transformation, where the emphasis is on ensuring the scope right and driving efficiencies. The Board were also informed of the priority for keeping trains in service over the Autumn period and that performance is 60% better than this time last year. Although the measures put in place to combat Autumn pressures seem to be working, it was stressed that there is no room for complacency.
The Board also discussed external branding on trains. To make the process as efficient as possible, this is largely being done alongside PRM works. However, it had been noted that trains are mainly coming back into service after routine maintenance in Arriva colours. The Board discussed the merits for wrapping trains overnight and agreed that this should be investigated.
Action: AC to examine the merits, including costs of wrapping trains overnight in TfW branding
The Board were also informed that modelling is commencing on future network capacity to ascertain whether the position had changed regarding growth forecasts since the bid and the impact this might have going forward. The Board discussed the use of consultants and any potential measures that could be taken should TfW receive poor advice.
Action: DOL to identify how TfW could potentially use Professional indemnity should TfW receive poor consultancy advice
The Board were also provided with brief updates on active travel, the Welsh Government’s Future Integrated Transport (FIT) programme and Valleys Task Force.
Action: GO to facilitate an update for the Board on TfW’s active travel work
Action: GO to circulate information to VE and GH on the Welsh Government’s FIT programme
Action: LB to provide update on the TfW’s work with the Valleys Task Force
The finance team is currently engaged in several key workstreams including preparations for new services such as onboard catering, CVL transfer and the FIT programme.
The Board were also informed that receiving final budget approval from the Welsh Government for 2019-20 was still proving problematical and discussions were ongoing. The financial statements presented to the Board provided a comparison to a phased budget with a revised forecast reflecting a full year position is provided albeit the budget is not yet fully funded by the Welsh Government. In month (September) resource expenditure was at £16.3m of which £14.7m related to rail and pass through to the ODP. In month (September) capital expenditure was at £7.8m of which 83% related to rail.
3c. Update on sub-committee progress
The Board received an update from the People Committee meeting of 1 October. The meeting reviewed TfW’s drug and alcohol policy; an update on the Rewards Strategy; an update on the Staff Well-being Action Group (SWAG) and how JP’s objectives should cascade through the organisation.
The Audit and Risk Committee met on 20 September. KPMG were reappointed as external auditors.
The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee met on 23 September, with most of the issues discussed covered in the safety report at the start of this meeting. It was noted that the Board had still not attended TfW Rail Services safety visits.
Action: GM to chase TfW Rail Services on Director safety visits
3d. Steering Board update
The Chair updated the Board on the last meeting of the TfW Steering Board on 18 September.
3e. Governance adherence / performance
This item will be removed as a standing item on the agenda and any issues will be raised in the CEO report.
3f. Strategic issues for future Board meeting
This item will be removed as a standing item on the agenda and any issues will be raised in the CEO report.
The Board were informed of plans to establish an internal TfW ‘Change Board’ comprising members of TfW SLT to look at the governance and implementation of major projects. The Board inquired whether there could be a role for members to provide scrutiny and challenge. A discussion also took place on the potential merits of a projects and investments Board sub-committee.
Action: GO to provide details of the planned Change Board at November’s meeting
4. Any other business
AC, LB, GO, DOL, LR and GM joined the meeting
September’s Brand Index score was at +9, likely due to the relaunch of the station improvement vision and continued proactive social media interaction. This was seen as encouraging result given the scrutiny during the period.
The Board were informed that the concessionary bus pass renewal scheme has now received over 300,000 applications which represents a significant proportion of regular card users. Marketing activity is under way with further advertising including bus, radio and press advertising launching at the end of October. Public engagement activity with councils and elected representatives is receiving positive feedback.
5b. Risk Register
The Board considered the Strategic Risk Register which contained seven changes from October’s register. Three new risks have been added: condition of the CVL railhead; vertical integration; and revenue funding. The score or trend of four existing risks has changed.
The Board agreed that with more horizon scanning, TfW should work towards developing a statement on risk appetite.
5c. Progress against milestone
The Board were updated on progress against corporate and programme milestones. In particular, the Board were informed that although a significant amount of work is required on the FIT programme, the Board could take assurance that the issues TfW and Welsh Government were considering are the same. The Board requested a review of the design and layout of the milestone trackers.
Action: GO to review of the design and layout of the milestone trackers
5d. Customer Experience Dashboard
The Board were updated on various metrics from the customer experience dashboard. The dashboard showed that customer satisfaction had decreased in the (CSS) survey but has shown a slight upward trend in the other surveys. Several metrics are currently being used but will eventually be narrowed down to one. The Board agreed that the chosen metric needs to include non-users of the service to identify why they may not be using it and that as TfW’s remit extends, will need to include more than just rail.
Action: DOL/GM to provide headline figures on trends of customer complaint numbers, with safety complaints separated out.
5e. CVL Asset transfer status
The Board updated on the latest developments regarding CVL asset transfer. Although good progress has been made, there is still a great deal of work to be done. However, Union consultation and agreements have been concluded, with REM letters ready to go to staff transferring from Network Rail to TfW. Good progress has also been made on network access for freight operating companies. Safety authorisation is nearly complete.
The Board discussed potential contingency plans for CVL asset transfer if required.
5f. Strategy, Vision & Purpose
The Board were updated on recent work to test and refine TfW’s vision purpose and objectives. The Board agreed to various drafting changes, with a revised version to be circulated and shared with staff at November’s away day to ask for their views.
5g. Any other Business
The Board discussed a paper requesting approval of additional costs related to Fainsa Sophia seats to be installed in the fleet of 77 CAF Civity trains due to enter the TfW fleet from 2022 onwards on many of the long-distance services routes. The technical specification for these units, mandates that the trains must be comfortable and practical for journeys of up to three hours. Based testing and RSSB scoring, the proposed Fainsa Comrail seats are deemed to be uncomfortable and unsuitable for long distance journeys and are the same type as installed on the Thameslink class 700 which have come in for much criticism. TfW raised concerns about the proposed seats with TfW Rail Services in July 2019. It was decided that there would not be a strong legal argument to enforce CAF / TfWRS funding of the incremental cost between seats. Such legal action would be unlikely to succeed but would incur considerable additional cost and cause significant programme delay. Therefore to secure the Gold Standard (Fainsa Sophia) seats TfW would need to fund the incremental cost.
The Board agreed use of the Fainsa Sophia seats at a cost of £1.9 million, with the expectation that the costs would rentalised at around £130,000 per year through to the end of the Grant Agreement (October 2033). [Redacted]