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Network Rail overhauls ‘difficult’ asset protection team

Rail worker 3to2

Network Rail’s asset protection and optimisation (Aspro) organisation is being overhauled in a bid to counter perceptions that it is too “difficult” and “bureaucratic” to work with.

The Aspro team is responsible for making sure work on, or near, the railway is done safely and to the correct standards.

But the rail operator said that standards and practices could sometimes mean it is difficult for third parties to deliver railway projects.

Network Rail is now implementing a number of reforms to the way its Aspro organisation works, to break down barriers and make it easier for other organisations to invest in and build on the railway.

After the shakeup, it said third parties could expect to see “better working practices, streamlined and consistent processes, and a slicker, less bureaucratic structure under a more consistent framework”.

As part of the transformation, a new Aspro framework to drive a “consistent and transparent” approach for third parties working with Network Rail, is being rolled out across the business.

It said this would mean there would be clearly defined processes, working practices, responsibilities and contacts across the whole of Network Rail, resulting in a quicker, more reliable service.

All Aspro teams have been asked to be compliant with the framework by September 2018.

In addition to the new framework, a new head of Aspro has been appointed. Network Rail said Mona Sihota would bring 30 years of railway experience spanning design, construction and asset management to the role.

New heads are also being created in each of the organisation’s eight new geographical routes.

Amey acted as a special advisor to formulate the new Aspro service.

The move is in response to last year’s Hansford Review into how barriers could be broken down within Network Rail to make it easier for third parties to invest in projects on and around the railway.

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