Skip to content

Our strategy for standards

Industry's strategy for standards

Our strategy for standards is designed to help industry work with standards and regulations at UK, European and international level, and clarifies how they help rail companies in addressing their legal and other obligations. 

There are seven modules to the strategy framework, reflecting the different types of standards or rules which exist today. 

Watch the video above to find out more, which is also available as an interactive video External link, allowing you to click between sections.

​​​What are standards and why do we have them?

A standard is an agreed way of doing something.

The aim of standards is to support a compatible, cost-effective, safe and efficient railway system.

To meet this aim, standards define and record what has to be done, or how something needs to be done. This avoids 're-inventing the wheel' each time the same situation occurs.

We provide our members with a clear framework to help industry apply standards, rules and best practice, and to take full advantage of the knowledge and guidance they contain. 

This information helps rail companies to comply with the law, work effectively with other organisations, reduce costs and boost overall sustainability and effectiveness through open markets for railway products and services.

Our role involves bringing the industry together to consult, agree, develop and publish appropriate standards and guidance, all of which can be found on our website.

How we are arranging standards for the long term

To allow markets for rail to be as open as possible, the requirements for railways are increasingly set at European and even global level.  This means we need to make sure standards for rail in Britain meet this trend. 

Our strategy for standards is designed to help industry with transition from domestic to European to International standards and clarifies how standards help rail companies in addressing their legal and other obligations. 

There are seven modules to the strategy framework, reflecting the different types of standards or rules which exist today. 

The key is to enable industry to have a clear picture of standards at national and European level, and to get the most out of the direction, guidance and good practice they provide.

If you’ve got a question about the strategy, have a look at our Q&A document, or get in touch​.

Why does industry need standards?

There are three basic situations in which the industry uses standards:

  • When an appropriate authority has determined that a standard must be complied with under specified circumstances.
  • When the industry needs a recognised method of meeting a requirement that must be complied with – that is, something whose use gives a 'presumption of conformity' with that requirement.
  • When the industry needs access to useful information or recognised good practice.

How are standards given force?

The requirement to comply with standards under specified circumstances is given force by different means, depending on the 'appropriate authority' that requires compliance.

These are:

  • The law – European (such as Commission decisions and Commission regulations) and national (such as regulations – a type of Statutory Instrument).
  • Licence conditions – imposed through the licence granted by the Office of Rail and Road.
  • By a company itself, through its Safety Management Systems and contracts.

How standards and the law fit together

Our strategy helps to explain how different types of standard and regulation fit together.

The strategy post-Brexit

Following the referendum in June 2016, the UK Government’s policy is to plan for withdrawal from the EU. Until the terms of the UK’s exit are clarified, the rail industry’s policy is to continue ‘business as usual’. This means that, while the UK is still a member of the EU, all the relevant legislation and regulations continue to apply, and industry’s strategy remains relevant and robust enough to manage either potential convergence with, or divergence from, EU standards and laws in the future. You can read more in a blog post by Vaibhav Puri or in the paper to all standards committees published in October 2016.

This document is hosted on SPARK

SPARK

You are now being redirected to SPARK, RSSB's knowledge sharing hub, to access the requested information.

Your RSSB user name and password can be used to access SPARK.

Ok