January 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned that if an incident controller (IC) at York is on leave or off sick, their role is being covered by incident support controllers (ISCs) who are not trained to carry out this role. Subsequently, while ISCs are taken of their jobs to cover the IC‟s role, their own jobs are left unmanned. This could result in phone calls left unanswered all day, any of which could relate to an emergency.
Moreover, ISCs are not trained to carry out an IC‟s role and put out NRN calls should they be required to do so in event of an emergency. Can Network Rail ensure that untrained staff are not permitted to cover an IC‟s role and if in any case they are, then they be fully trained to use the NRN system?
The subject in question relates to an event that occurred as a direct result of a request for annual leave last December. A request was made for annual leave and no staff were available to cover. The request went to the team on shift who agreed to cover with a post down. As this was a team agreement the leave was approved. At no time does York Control manage shifts purposely to leave posts unmanned, or especially with untrained staff.
Further clarification sought from NR. Answers below:
The event was highlighted when it was pointed out that with some
extra shifts being worked the desks could have been covered. This
would have involved Rest Day working not only on the day but the
day prior and day after. As such I stated this was not viable and
the desk was covered with staff on shift. It was highlighted in
this case to CIRAS. In addition with staff trying to take last
minute leave before year end other instances occurred which were
dealt with by rostered staff covering.
All staff that were covering had been trained in NRN.