April 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned about Managers who do not have the required competency on particular panels, passing out Signallers as competent. This is potentially occurring at major signalling centres across the network.
It is believed that various levels of management, including Duty Shift Managers, Local Operations Managers and Station Signalling Managers, are not required to hold competencies for the boxes they manage, but may still be expected to work panels within the box and pass others out as competent. The reporter questions how someone who has not been passed competent themselves can assess and pass somebody else as competent?
This raises the additional concern that whilst a Signaller is being assessed on a panel by a Manager there is not a competent person present to work the panel. The reporter feels that this is against guidelines set out for the safe working of signal boxes as whoever signs for the panel must be competent.
The reporter is aware that Managers undertake training but comments that this process takes too long and suggests that a timescale should be put in place for Managers to complete their training. This would help make sure that qualified Managers were present to pass others out as competent.
Could Network Rail comment on:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
Could Network Rail comment on any procedures in place
relating to Signallers being passed as competent by "unqualified‟
All Line Managers of Signallers are passed as competent to a prescribed level with regard to operational rules knowledge and understanding. The prescribed level of competency and process for achieving competency is set out in the Operations Manual.
Could Network Rail comment on the reasons why Managers are
not required to hold operational competencies?
Required competencies by role are set out in the Operations Manual, a Local Operations Manager (LOM) does not have to have been passed out to work a signal box, workstation or panel to assess a Signaller's competency. The LOM just needs to hold the operational competency which gives the LOM the understanding and principles of train signalling.
Could Network Rail comment on the reporter's suggestion of
placing a timescale on how long it should take a Manager to become
fully competent on a particular panel?
A Manager is not required to gain competency of a particular panel to assess a Signaller working on that panel.