ACoRP is working with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Welsh Government to ensure we’re ready to transition from the existing line designation to the new accreditation scheme for community rail partnerships (CRPs). A guide to accreditation has been drafted by the DfT in consultation with ACoRP, Welsh Government, and a panel of members and partners. This will be issued to CRPs as soon as our trials of the scheme are complete and we’re confident that we have a constructive process that works well in practice. However, a summary of key elements of the draft guide are included below – including main objectives and requirements.
Key timescales for accreditation going live (in summary):
- Accreditation process and guide drafted by DfT in consultation with ACoRP, CRPs and Welsh Government (done)
- ACoRP conducts trials of accreditation with three volunteer CRPs – Mid Cheshire, Cambrian and Essex and South Suffolk (Dec 18-Feb19)
- Final accreditation process and guide issued to CRPs (late Feb/early Mar 19)
- ACoRP opens for ‘bookings’ of slots in its annual planning calendar 2019-20 (as soon as guide is released)
- Opportunity to hear more and ask questions at the Community Rail Conference (11-12 Mar 19)
- First planning meetings under the new scheme get underway (end of Mar 19)
Objectives of accreditation (in summary):
- Create a recognised mark of quality that confirms the CRP operates to high standards, adopts a collaborative approach, is a representative voice of their community, and publishes a clear annual plan of activity;
- Assist CRPs in approaching potential funders and partners;
- Support continual improvement among CRPs;
- Enable delivery of the Community Rail Development Strategy.
Requirements of accreditation (in summary):
- Consider and uphold the five key principles of accreditation (below), evidenced through their annual plan, and/or by having in place (or working towards) appropriate policies and procedures;
- Have an appropriate, transparent governance structure and aim to ensure their governance is effective, fair and representative;
- Have appropriate financial controls in place, including, for standalone CRPs, audited accounts published annually;
- Use an effective review and planning cycle, using ACoRP’s support and advice through its annual planning process;
- Be a member of ACoRP and display its membership on its website.
Once accredited, a CRP must:
- Display the accreditation mark online and in any major publications, and encourage feedback externally;
- Show willingness to working with ACoRP, DfT, Welsh Government and other partners as relevant to resolve any issues or concerns with these requirements;
- Work with ACoRP to share lessons, ideas and good practice across community rail.
Key principles of accreditation (in summary):
- Effective, beneficial engagement of the community
- Transparency, openness, and ease of contact
- Working in a safe, responsible, ethical manner
- Collaborating constructively with the rail industry and local partners
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
The full set of objectives and requirements and further details on the process will be published in the guide to accreditation in late February/early March.