Network Rail perceives that partnership working with community rail groups and volunteers, all around Great Britain, has a key role to play in enabling the organisation to achieve its objectives on social value. Within Network Rail, a review is currently taking place of how the relationship with community rail can be optimised, and Community Rail Network are advising on steps that could be taken.
In December, a new ‘Social Value Model’ was published by the UK Government that directs public sector organisations to address, when they are spending money, themes of: tackling economic inequality, equal opportunity, wellbeing, COVID-19 recovery and fighting climate change. This aligns with priorities of the Scottish and Welsh governments. Network Rail is therefore preparing a new Social Performance Strategy that explicitly adopts these themes. Community Rail Network is being consulted on a draft and advising on how working with community rail can support this strategy.
Further updates on this work will be provided at the Community Rail Conference in March and in future Community Rail Network bulletins.