To ask Her Majesty's Government how many, and what percentage, of the members of the panel investigating the causes of the Thameslink 2018 timetable problems have been or are members of (1) the Board of the Office for Rail and Road, and (2) the boards of other companies or bodies whose roles will be assessed by the panel; which companies or bodies whose roles will be assessed are represented on the panel; and what assessment they have made of the impact of any membership of those boards by members of the panel on the (a) the independence, and (b) the appearance of independence of the panel.
One member of the expert panel of four independent advisers supporting the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR’s) independent inquiry into the May 2018 timetable disruption is currently a non-executive member of ORR’s board and one panel member was a previous executive member of ORR’s board (until 2013). No other panel members are or have been a member of a board whose roles are being assessed by the inquiry, and no other companies whose roles will be assessed are represented on the panel.
More generally, the ORR is the independent regulator for the rail sector. As a public body independent of government, the ORR is answerable to Parliament. It is established by statute, and operates under a legislative framework that assures its independence from both government and the rail companies it regulates. The government has asked the ORR to conduct this inquiry within this framework, which assures the independence of this work. As a result, Her Majesty’s Government is content that there is no adverse impact from the limited board memberships referred to above on the independence of the inquiry.