Why did Greater Anglia create this?

Greater Anglia has set up an NTS Executive Team. This team has set out a strategy for NTS in the company and a number of operational goals to support delivery of the strategy. Greater Anglia has been evaluating driver NTS performance as part of assessments for some time. As part of its strategy, the NTS Executive Team saw a need to support new and existing assessors so they can evaluate NTS in a consistent way. This allows for variation in how drivers apply NTS. 

It was found that some assessors had a limited NTS knowledge, so their evaluation of drivers’ performance was based on what they like to see rather than on what the company expects. For example, the company standard sets out that drivers should carry out a check before releasing the doors to avoid a wrong side door release, but it does not mandate a specific ‘one-size-fits-all’ checking strategy. So, Greater Anglia wanted to help assessors recognise good NTS performance while allowing for the variety of techniques that drivers use and find helpful. 

In addition, Greater Anglia reviewed a sample of assessments in the competence management system and found inconsistencies in how evidence on NTS performance was recorded in assessments. For example, some assessments included valuable comments on the drivers’ NTS. In others, however, the boxes for all 26 NTS skills were ticked, but no comments were provided. 

Therefore, Greater Anglia wanted to create guidance for all assessors across the company to help standardise the approach to evaluating NTS. The guidance was designed to cater for those who are new to assessing and/or NTS and those who already have some experience of assessing and/or NTS. 

How was the NTS Assessors Guidance developed, and what’s in it?

Greater Anglia’s goal was to align the guidance with the RSSB approach to NTS. Greater Anglia colleagues agreed that the revised version of the RSSB NTS framework would provide the foundation for their own guidance document. 

The NTS Assessors Guidance was designed to supplement Greater Anglia’s general guidance for assessors, which includes guidance on how to coach and mentor candidates. By cross-referencing between the guidance, assessors would be better able to observe and evaluate candidates’ NTS. They would also be better able to coach and develop their NTS performance. 

The first page of document is RSSB NTS framework: Categories, skills and descriptors. The body of the guidance is structured around this framework of seven NTS categories and 26 skills, with a section for each NTS category. Table 1 describes the content in each section and how Greater Anglia developed it. 

Table 1 Content of Greater Anglia’s NTS Assessors Guidance and how it was developed

Content of Greater Anglia’s NTS Assessors Guidance and how it was developed

Figures 1 and 2 are extracts from the guidance. They show examples of typical driver tasks and trusted NTS techniques.

Figure 1 Extract from NTS Assessors Guidance: Typical driver tasks for ‘Attention to detail’

Typical driver tasks

  • Detecting faults, identifying incorrect information or routing.
  • Information gathering tasks, example, carefully reading and understanding written material.
  • Planned tasks example: shunting and coupling movements.
  • Detailed monitoring - observing speed limits, monitor and maintain progress against stopping schedule.

Figure 2 Extracts from NTS Assessors Guidance: Trusted techniques for ‘Communication’

Greater Anglia Comms Strategy diagram


What do assessors think of the guidance?

The NTS Assessors Guidance has not yet gone live, as Greater Anglia is in the process of verifying it. The current version was sent to all driver managers (DMs) at two depots to ask for their feedback and what they needed from it. The initial feedback was that, overall, they felt a lot more supported by it. The DMs reported that they particularly like the task examples because these helped them link NTS to specific driver tasks. Some DMs said the task examples made NTS more relatable and helped translate NTS into a language they are more familiar with. For example, they were able to link NTS to ‘DISH’ (‘Do I stop here?’). This is an established technique that Greater Anglia drivers use to check the stopping pattern and avoid failures to call.

The DMs asked for some example feedback to illustrate what kind of comments they should provide when evaluating candidates’ NTS. Greater Anglia is working on adding this. 0

What are the next steps?

The next steps will be to engage with all assessors and get their buy-in to the NTS Assessors Guidance. Greater Anglia has handpicked an NTS Champion from each depot, and they will be responsible for promoting this in their team. They will also share the knowledge and insights they gain from the NTS Executive Team meetings. Greater Anglia is also keen to promote the relationship with RSSB to help show the company’s long-term commitment to NTS.

Longer term, Greater Anglia will also consider whether the NTS Assessors Guidance remains as a standalone document or is merged into the wider general Assessors Guidance set out by Operations Standards.