T&T’s Anooj Oodit gives his first take on Mcnulty’s 175-page tome to reform the railways

Sir Roy’s McNulty’s report has identified a number of changes that will be required to the industry.  It is recognised that significant cost reductions – £1bn per year beyond operating at frontier levels – are required across the programmes, and through our work in a number of sectors, we know this is possible.

We welcome Sir Roy’s recommendations to the changes that would be required to the way programmes and projects are delivered and the role the client, sponsor, funder undertakes and that which the supply chain assumes. But it clearly serves up a number of challenges to the industry.

It will need a next generation performance based delivery model and supplier engagement strategy. This means out with the old confrontational client-contractor relationship. It will need a cross-cutting collaborative approach and enhanced levels of programme and project management capability.

A key test of this will be Sir Roy’s recommendation for closer alignment of objectives between Network Rail and the TOCs, as well as two joint ventures/alliances and at least one vertically-integrated pilot in place in the next two years. This provides a great opportunity for the industry to accelerate a more collaborative environment. We have to make it work as it will be the benchmark for the future, while recognising the challenge that significant cultural change within a two-year period brings.

Overall this provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and to create a new effective and efficient industry.  With the financial pressures on the government, we have the equivalent of a burning platform to spur change – and we must use it.

Anooj Oodit is director of rail at consultant Turner & Townsend