BearingPoint helps Network Rail design fit for purpose organisation

14 February 2019 4 min. read

In order to substantiate its contract to maintain and operate the high-speed line which links London to three European capital cities, UK Network Rail (High Speed) was required to prove to stakeholders that the organisation is ‘fit for purpose’. To do this, the group drafted consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on reaching that standard.

With the annual Management Consultancies Association Awards fast approaching, BearingPoint was recently recognised for its work with Network Rail (High Speed). The firm received a nomination for the MCA’s Change and Transformation in the Public Sector prize, with the winner to be announced at a gala in London in March.

Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and BearingPoint was contracted by its high-speed subsidiary to perform analysis into the organisation’s effectiveness, capabilities and performance. Network Rail (High Speed) is responsible for operating, maintaining and renewing the 109km of high-speed infrastructure from St. Pancras to the Eurotunnel – including three high speed stations – which enables direct international trains to reach Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam from the centre of London.

As Network Rail (High Speed) is required to submit a strategic plan setting out how the infrastructure will be managed efficiently and in accordance with best practice until 2025, the entity was required to prove that the organisation was well-equipped to deliver on its commitments, including having the needed skills and capabilities. This is where BearingPoint came in, with the international consultancy being tapped to help Network Rail (High Speed) discover areas of strength, and those ripe for improvement, before building strategies to address the gaps.

BearingPoint helps Network Rail design fit for purpose organisation

According to David Bergsma, senior manager at BearingPoint, the consultancy first and foremost set out to let the ‘Voice of the Customer’ determine the purpose. He explained, “Our team believed that end users (i.e. contract owner, railway operators and users) would be in the best position to define the right performance and right capabilities. Therefore, BearingPoint held interviews with senior managers from all main clients of Network Rail (High Speed) to understand their expectations, demands, needs and views on current performance of Network Rail High Speed. This produced a long list of needs, wishes and requirements that provided surprising insights for Network Rail (High Speed).”

After a period of consultation, BearingPoint then worked to translate the feedback into a logical structure. This structure consisted of five levels of detail in organisational client requirements for Network Rail (High Speed), clearly outlining what expectations the group would need to meet if it was to continue in its capacity with the high-speed rail line. This tailored framework was then used to assess the performance of the organisation to identify areas for improvement.

Moves to improve

Following the review of the current organisational set up and performance, BearingPoint concluded that they were not optimal in terms of the capabilities required to fulfil the client needs. As a result, the consultancy agreed to design principles with Network Rail (High Speed) that the entity could then use for guidance when drawing up designs to build an organisational structure that was fit for purpose.  

Anthony Barnes, Head of Business Programmes at Network Rail (High Speed) and sponsor of the BearingPoint work, elaborated, “Based on the analysis, design principles and experience with similar organisations, BearingPoint created a capabilities model. For each of the capabilities in this model, the organisation would require processes, skilled staff in defined roles, supported by necessary technology.”

BearingPoint also reviewed the relevance of all internal roles to define the necessary number of full-time employees required. These analyses helped to validate and advise the required headcount for the organisation going forward.

Commenting on the importance of the work the firm completed, Anthony concluded, “Network Rail (High Speed) used the full output of the engagement as the vision for their new organisation for the 2020-2025+ control period. BearingPoint was able to demonstrate the monetary value of the advice with a positive ROI and measurable financial benefits. With this project, BearingPoint exceeded the customer’s expectations in terms of quality and comprehensiveness.”