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Repeated audits not necessary say Railtrack suppliers

RAILTRACK SUPPLIERS were this week demanding changes to the safety auditing policy that has led to some of them being audited more than 20 times a year.

Suppliers believe one audit a year should be enough to prove competency, instead of the current situation that has forced many companies to take on staff just to deal with audits.

All of Railtrack's suppliers are required to have an initial link up audit with a Railtrack approved consultant before they can supply to the infrastructure operator.

But suppliers are then subjected to further audits from Railtrack's main contractors and consultants and their subcontractors.

These further audits are to comply with the main contractors' safety cases document, which when submitted to Railtrack, outline how work will be carried out in safety. Yet some suppliers are even being audited by three or four different departments of the same main contractor.

A Railtrack spokesman said that, while it recognised that there was a problem, it was up to its contractors to recognise the link up scheme.

He said that the link up audit - originally set up to get rid of cowboy operators - should be enough for contractors, adding that they did not need to carry out their own audits.

Quality assurance manager Tony Downs whose company, on track labour supplier TES2000, was audited 23 times last year, said that the repeated audits showed a lack of confidence in the original Railtrack scheme.

He called for all parties to get together to decide what was required from an audit so that a nationally recognised framework can be agreed.

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