(2) what steps she has taken to use her powers of determination or enforcement under the binding commitment between her and Network Rail referred to in paragraph 1.4.10 of the White Paper The Future of Rail, Cm 6233, dated 15 July 2004.
The July 2004 White Paper proposed a binding arrangement between the Secretary of State and Network Rail. This would combine existing regulatory requirements, imposed, monitored and enforced by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), together with a new Department for Transport (DFT)—Network Rail Reporting Requirement setting out their working relationship.
Under the binding arrangement, at the outset of a periodic or interim review, the Secretary of State has the sole responsibility for specifying the high level outputs that she wants the railway to deliver in England and Wales, and the Government funds available for their delivery. The independent ORR assesses whether the two are consistent and determines the outputs required of Network Rail, and the funding necessary to deliver them in the most efficient way. The ORR then monitors Network Rail to ensure it is delivering the Secretary of State’s requirements.
The DFT—Network Rail Reporting Requirement was drawn up in conjunction with the ORR and published in November 2005. It sets out the arrangements for effective communication between Network Rail and the Secretary of State; and aims to ensure that the Department is kept properly informed of Network Rail’s progress in delivering the agreed high level outputs. It falls to Network Rail to deliver within this strategic framework; and for the ORR to continue to have sole responsibility for enforcement in the event of non-compliance.
The West Coast Project Board is an advisory panel that has no powers of binding determination and enforcement. Constituted of cross-industry senior level representation, its purpose is to address industry barriers that threaten the delivery of planned timetable improvements on the West Coast from December 2008.