In an open letter to the rail community BTPA Chair Millie Banerjee has set out her vision for how the Authority intends to work better with colleagues in the rail world in a bid to continue ‘shaping progress together’.
You may remember at our annual stakeholder event I promised to write to you to expand on the commitments I made during the meeting.
There are a number of drivers for these commitments including a government review of our work which reflected industry opinion, conversations I have had with many of you and the feedback from our survey of managing directors and security heads.
This letter outlines what we understand to be your concerns and how the Authority will address them.
Some of you have suggested that the BTPA needs to have an enhanced understanding of your business in order to better inform the decisions we make about the policing plans and the medium term financial plan necessary to fund our strategy. To do this will require us to capture your plans at company level so that we can factor them into determining our priorities to support you in the delivery of your plans. I will do this by meeting you annually before the Authority makes a final decision on the policing plans.
You have told me that whilst you appreciate the level of consultation that we carry out – you are unclear about what is done with your input. I will ensure that each of you is informed of the decisions we have come to which reflect your operation and how we arrived at them. These decisions will be about priorities, targets and objectives and the resources which will be deployed to deliver them. I will ensure that the resources and their deployment will be visible to you so that you can make plans accordingly. In the near future my ambition is to describe the deployment of police as well as industry resources so that we coordinate our efforts to reduce disruption and crime whilst increasing passenger confidence.
I have promised we will control costs and spend no more than is necessary to achieve our objectives. I will ensure that the efficiency and effectiveness of the decisions we make when considering business cases to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Force, will be recorded to enable you to see the business sense in them.
I will also ensure that you can see the efficiencies we are making to control costs.
Any savings we make will not be reinvested unless there is a compelling operational and financial case for doing so. I will do this by making clear the assumptions on which our medium term financial plan is based so you can see what is brought into the plan and what has been saved. When the new operating model for the Force is fully implemented in 2017 we will be able to explain the rationale underpinning the policing capability we have and its deployment.
I have made the point that the British Transport Police is a national police force which polices the network not just a particular line of route. It therefore has all the obligations and responsibilities that that entails. I will make it clear to you where statutory responsibilities and changes in legislation incur unavoidable costs through new capability or an increase in workload. You will be given an explanation in writing followed up by a visit if required when you receive your annual bill. This will explain how your charges are allocated and reflect not just those officers deployed policing your route to deliver the policing plan, but also the amount that goes towards paying for the capability a national police force requires to be effective – such as intelligence, management of offenders and the criminal justice process.
And finally, I will communicate through the Rail Delivery Group to ensure they understand our national objectives and the financial assumptions that underpin them. I shall do this prior to the Authority agreeing the policing targets and once they have been agreed the reasons for our decisions will be made clear on public record, the highlights of which will be emailed to you.
I will try to fulfil as many of these commitments as I can between now and the next financial year, but change does take time. What I can assure you is that you will see many of these commitments fulfilled from the next financial year.
My commitments to you will only be delivered if the Force communicates and cooperates with you at a local level in the development and delivery of the policing plan. Last year we initiated a bottom up approach to developing the policing plan. We shall build on this to better deliver the local requirement.
I welcome your assessment of how this is working and your assistance in the delivery of these commitments.
Chair of the BTPA.