By Ranse Howell, Mediator and Consultant, CEDR Skills
Britain’s approach to railway investment and strategy is likely to continue to be problematic and a source of polarised views. Last week the UK’s Department for Transport announced an £8 billion investment to be spent on electrification and new carriages. This is similar to a plan that was introduced at the beginning of Spring 2009 that the then Labour government was considering a £35 billion investment, and was heralded as a triumph for the commuter. The coalition government’s new announcement is less ambitious than Labour’s, but still provides for improvement. There will undoubtedly be concerns from some stakeholders that this will not provide the relief they believe the network badly needs, because of positional and entrenched positions.
So although the commitment by the new coalition government is being welcomed in some quarters, there is also concern being voiced via the media, given previous history, that there will be resistance to working with this policy. Ultimately, whatever is proposed has to work and the train operating companies (TOCS), Network Rail and the Department for Transport all have to work together.
The individual players in this very complex scheme have to come together and consider the most effective way to provide the best ‘value for money’ whilst maintaining sustainability. What they need to do is partner with each other, engage with key stakeholders, learn from previous successes and challenges and listen to their customers, the users of their service.
The bottom line is that they have to establish and maintain trust by building relationships and listen to each other… which are the key elements to any effective negotiation.