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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​RSSB is a not-for-profit company owned by major industry stakeholders. The company is limited by guarantee and is governed by its members and a Board.

RSSB was established in April 2003, implementing one of the core sets of recommendations from Lord Cullen's public inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove accident. RSSBs method of operation is laid down in RSSB’s Constitution Agreement. You can also view copies of the ​Articles of Association which incorporates the Memorandum of Association.

Annual Report 2017

RSSB’s Annual Report for 2016/17 highlights the work we done for the industry and some of the successes of the year. Key highlights include;

RSSB Business Plan 2017/18

The RSSB Business Plan sets out what we will deliver this financial year and is themed by the 5 strategic objectives set by the RSSB board. The plan addresses the important needs and priorities identified by members and stakeholders and states how we will deliver support by focusing on the activities which have the potential to drive the biggest improvements across the rail industry.

Annual Review Summary 2016/17

The Annual Review Summary provides a headline overview of RSSB including the work we have already delivered to help improve sustainability, health, safety and standards within the industry. The summary also shows how research and innovation by RSSB is helping support the Rail Technical Strategy.

RSSB members can read theRSSB Annual Report for 2016/17to learn more about the successes of the year.

Mission, vision and strategic objectives

The Company’s primary objective is to support its members (the rail industry) to achieve their objectives of improving safety and performance and value for money across the industry, with a focus on:

  • Reducing safety risk so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Increasing capacity (where appropriate)
  • Improving operating performance and customer satisfaction (where appropriate).

The company will fulfil its Primary Objective through the delivery of functions and services in accordance with the Principles of Operation and as set out in Strategic Business Plan.

The following diagram shows RSSB's mission, vision and 2017-2020 strategic objectives. Click the image to enlarge it.

RSSB's mission, values and strategic objectives

RSSB's functions

From risk models to Rule Book, from research projects to innovation initiatives, from data to decision making, we provide a powerful portfolio of knowledge services to the rail industry in Great Britain.
The purpose and go-ahead for our services comes from the industry itself.

RSSB's functions are defined, and categorised into those that RSSB is obliged to do for the industry (‘Shall’ Functions, which require a change in the constitution to alter) and those which RSSB does because the industry chooses to do something through RSSB ('May' Functions, which can be altered by unanimous agreement of the Board).

Clause 2.3 of the RSSB Constitution Agreement- Functions of the Company


'Shall’ Functions

(i) administer the Code and the processes set out in the Code and comply with the provisions of the Code;
(ii) monitor and report on the Railway Industry’s health and safety performance and facilitate the collection and flow of information on health and safety matters in the Railway Industry;
(iii) in relation to its Functions, respond appropriately to recommendations and enquiries that are directed to the Company by accident investigation or other statutory investigatory bodies;
(iv) maintain a capability to undertake Research, Development and Innovation programmes;
(v) manage its interest in Railway Documentation and Drawing Services;

‘May’ Functions

(i) cross-industry research, development and innovation programmes to support Functions and industry objectives;
(ii) facilitation of industry responses and actions to address cross -industry problems and opportunities;
(iii) the facilitation of system co-ordination and co-operation to support optimisation of the rail industry as a whole;
(iv) the provision of support cross-industry programmes and other cross-industry groups for particular purposes;
(v) the provision, maintenance, development and management of information systems, databases and models;
(vi) the dissemination of good practice, building of industry knowledge, awareness and competence through providing training, horizon scanning, guidance and learning from experience;
(vii) the facilitation of the effective representation of the Railway Industry (including direct representation by the Company of one or more Railway Industry Parties if so agreed with those parties) in subject areas relevant to the Primary Objective in discussions with other industries, other railway companies and organisations, public bodies and European Union institutions;
(viii) the provision of products and services in support of all Functions listed in this clause 2; and
(ix) subject to the passing of a Reserved Resolution, the carrying on of activities other than its Primary Objective for the purpose of making additional income available and/or broadening the Company’s knowledge, skills or expertise if, in the opinion of the Directors, the carrying on of such other activities:
(A) is of benefit to; and
(B) does not in any material way prejudice;
the carrying on of the Primary Objective.
Additional ‘may’ activities adopted by the company as a result of Reserved Resolutions of the RSSB board:
1. at the board meeting of 8th May 2014
the development of a programme for cross-industry standards for cyber security.
2. at the board meeting of 4th September 2014:
the creation of a ‘People Work Stream’ which supports the industry objective of reducing costs and delivering appropriately skilled people where and when they are needed.


There are six categories of membership:

  • Infrastructure managers
  • Passenger train operating companies
  • Freight train operating companies
  • Rolling stock owning companies
  • Infrastructure contractors
  • The rest of the supply industry.

You can find more information on the members page.


Our Chairman is Anna Bradley and Chief Executive Officer is Mark Phillips.

More information on the makeup of the Board can be on the Board and Board committees page.​

Board evaluation

The board conducted its first Annual Evaluation in November 2016 following a recommendation from the ORR review. A response detailing how these recommendations have been addressed will be published following the board meeting in May 2017.

Annual Reviews

RSSB was established in April 2003 to provide leadership in the development of long term safety strategy and policy for the railway industry. ​

Reviews of RSSB

2016 ORR review of RSSB

RSSB invited the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to carry out a review of RSSB.

The review took take place in two phases: The first phase examined responses made to recommendations made by the ORR in 2010 and the second phase looked at the RSSB strategy and future direction.

The final and summary reports can be found on the ORR website External link

Past reviews

In February 2005 the Office of the Rail Regulation published Review of Rail Safety and Standards Board: Report about the future of RSSB.

In early 2010 the Board of RSSB asked the Office of Rail Regulation to conduct a review of RSSB. The scope of the review included what RSSB does, how RSSB is governed (including the Board), and how RSSB is funded. The ORR consultation took place between 4 March and 7 May 2010.

On 2 August 2010 the Report on ORR’s review of RSSB was published.

In July 2012 the RSSB Board initiated a Strategic Review of the company to ensure that RSSB has a clear purpose and is fit to support the industry for the five year period from 1 April 2014.

Following a full Member consultation process, the RSSB 5-year Strategic Business Plan 2014-2019 was unanimously approved by the Board on 9 January 2014. This has been superseded following the Future Fit programme following the ORR review and members consultation process.

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