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RDG communications protocol

last updated November 2015

Context

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) brings together the most senior leaders from Network Rail, and UK and international transport groups running passenger and freight services in Britain.

Following reclassification of its debt in 2014, Network Rail has become an arm's length body, and the RDG now represents both the public and private sectors in rail. Half of the RDG's direct funding in 2014/15 came from Network Rail, the remainder from the transport groups. Additional support is provided by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) which is solely funded by train companies.

The RDG's work focusses on five portfolios: enabling continuous improvement in today’s railway; transforming the customer experience of the railway; industry reform to enable excellence in the railway; planning tomorrow’s railway; and communications and engagement.

RDG communications and engagement activity: makes the case for investment in Britain's railway, promoting its successes, and increasing public awareness and backing for the upgrade plan which is supported by significant amounts of government funding through factual publications; explains and promotes initiatives and policy formulation generated by RDG's portfolios; and acts as a collective voice for the rail industry.

Underpinning communications activity is data and analysis of data on rail's financial and operational performance, and its contribution to the UK economy, produced annually by Oxera and KPMG and made public.

Principles

  1. Rail is an important public service, receiving significant government funding, and regularly in the public eye. RDG has a crucial role to play in raising public awareness of one of the biggest modernisation programmes in rail's history and explaining how its members are working in partnership with government, suppliers and other stakeholders to deliver these significant improvements.
  2. RDG will at all times demonstrate propriety in communications activity, ensuring it is objective in both tone and content. In purdah, it will take particular caution not to communicate in ways which could give rise to criticism of party political bias or that public resources are being used for party political purposes.
  3. Where there is potential for issues to become politically complex, the RDG executive team will consider very carefully in consultation with members, in particular Network Rail, the tone and presentation of its communications to ensure that its communications are presented in a measured and factual way, giving consideration as to whether RDG responds explicitly as RDG speaking on behalf of all its members or of train operators only.
  4. RDG communications will be both proactive, putting objective information about the railway into the public domain, and reactive, responding contemporaneously and appropriately to important issues of the day and requests for information and comment from journalists, Parliamentarians and government officials.
  5. For the avoidance of doubt, this would not prevent the RDG from responding to public consultations on the railway by political parties nor representing the views of the industry to political parties on important matters.
  6. Whenever possible, RDG will express a single voice for its members. But where necessary, it will communicate the range of views from different groups of members.
  7. RDG will regularly review our activity with Network Rail, its other member transport groups and the Department for Transport.
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