The Partnership Development Group (PDG) met yesterday to consider proposals from the PLC towards achieving ‘One Railway’ via a fundamental re-organisation of the PLC to create a parent charity, with the PLC operating as a subsidiary company. The meeting was also attended by John Bailey, architect of the recent report recommending these changes.
The PDG is the WSR stakeholder forum established to consider and advise on policy and other matters affecting the whole railway. The group includes representatives from the WSRA. WSSRT, DEPG, S&DT and representatives for Staff, Station Masters and Friend groups, as well as the PLC and representative from the Local Councils.
The whole PDG was unanimous in supporting the roadmap and principles of the PLC initiative. It endorsed the terms of reference for the project and has also agreed to act as a reference group for ongoing consultation and assist with project development.
The Group recommended that the project should get underway as quickly as possible since there appears to be a consensus across the majority of people on the railway that this is right way forward. Indeed, there was an element of ‘just get on with it’ along with a recommendation to try and find a respected and independent chairman to lead the initial formation of a new parent charity and develop relevant articles of association
Steve Williams, PDG Chairman commented: ‘This is potentially the biggest change to the WSR railway structure in over 40 years and it was heartening to see a cross-party consensus across all representatives on the PDG. It also re-enforced the message that in order to achieve the required agreement on the proposed changes, it is important to work across all groups in a process of consensual evolution’.
Mike Thompson PLC Project Lead confirmed that the next steps are to send a letter to all shareholders of the PLC outlining the broad proposals to solicit an initial indicative response. If this is broadly favourable, the next phase will be to develop appropriate timescales and milestones toward achieving the desired re-organisation, ready to present for approval by the relevant member groups, no later than their 2021 AGM’s.