The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is an independent, non-ministerial government department led by a Board, with responsibility for the safety and economic regulation of the national railway network and other key aspects of rail service. It is also the safety regulator for other railways, in particular London Underground, heritage railways and trams. The office’s key responsibilities are:
- To ensure that Network Rail, the owner and operator of the national railway infrastructure – the track and signalling, – manages the network efficiently and in a way that meets the needs of its users;
- To secure compliance with relevant health and safety law, including taking enforcement action as necessary, and encourage continuous improvement in safety performance;
- To develop policy and enhance relevant health and safety legislation; and
- To approve all agreements for access by operators to railway assets, setting the terms for access by operators and enforcing competition law in the rail sector.
The provision of high-quality economic advice and analysis plays a major part in supporting these responsibilities.
The Directorate of Competition and Regulatory Economics provides the economic and financial advice that underpins all of the ORR’s work. The objective of the Directorate is to ensure that both the regulatory policy development and the day-to-day regulatory work is consistent with ORR’s statutory duties and is based on sound economic and financial analysis. This work takes account of relevant precedents, especially from other regulated sectors, as well as appropriate academic research.
One of the key work streams that ORR economists are currently involved in is the periodic review of the level and structure of Network Rail’s access charges, final determinations on which are to be published in October 2008. This includes a full review of the incentives facing Network Rail, the financial framework for the company, the scope for greater cost efficiency and the appropriate charging structure.
ORR economists also deal with investigations into anti-competitive practices and unfair trading within the railway sector. For example, ORR recently found a freight operator had infringed competition law in the market for coal haulage by rail as a result of its use of exclusionary contracts, and predatory and discriminatory pricing.
ORR attaches considerable importance to training and career development. We ensure that all our economists are exposed to a variety of opportunities that enable them to develop and realise their potential.
There is a high level of contact with the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland and Network Rail, as well as with train operators and other rail industry parties. There is also frequent contact with staff from other regulatory offices, for example CAA and Ofwat. Experience with ORR would form an excellent platform for future career development within the sphere of regulatory and competition economics in both the public and private sectors, the railway industry or related jobs in departments.
Assistant Economist starting salary is £24,772.
Further information is available on ORR’s website- www.rail-reg.gov.uk