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BYERS - PROPOSED TUBE CONTRACT CHANGES WILL STRENGTHEN PUBLIC SECTOR ROLE AND PUT SAFETY FIRST

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Proposed changes to the contracts for maintaining and upgrading the ...
Proposed changes to the contracts for maintaining and upgrading the

Tube will strengthen the role of the public sector and put safety

first, transport secretary Stephen Byers said today.

Negotiations between London Underground and the companies bidding to

repair and renew the tube's infrastructure will now continue on the

basis of a revised draft contract published today by London

Underground.

The proposed changes incorporate a number of modifications. The key

changes would:

* allow London Underground to appoint a partnership director to the

board of each infrastructure company

* London Underground would have approval rights over the companies'

work plans

* London Underground will have step in rights to ensure all work

complies with health and safety requirements

* London Underground will have open book access

* London Underground will have the power to impose new standards

Welcoming the changes, Stephen Byers said:

'These proposed changes are important because they demonstrate in the

clearest terms that safety will not be compromised and that the tube

is not to be privatised or part privatised because it will be the

private sector working under contract and answerable to the publicly

owned London Underground.

'I hope that these proposed changes will go some way to showing the

travelling public in London that it is their interests that are being

put first.

'The tube modernisation programme will see urgently needed,

guaranteed investment of£13bn during the first 15 years. Tube users

want no more delays - it is time to get the tube modernisation plans

moving as quickly as possible.'

Key changes include:

* London Underground will have approval rights over the three

infrastructure companies' work plans. The companies will have to

meet key milestones for upgrading the system, with failure to meet

a milestone constituting contractual breach in specified

circumstances.

* Streamlining and enhancement of the control provisions giving

London Underground 'step-in' rights. London Underground will be

able to direct the infrastructure companies to take action on

health and safety grounds even if the company is not in breach of

its obligations, and the company will have to act immediately. This

means that action can be taken before a breach occurs and safety is

put at risk.

* London Underground will have open book access to infrastructure

company information to allow it to monitor that maintenance is

being carried out to London Underground's standards.

* London Underground will be able to appoint a 'partnership

director' to the Board of each infrastructure company. The

partnership director will help ensure the board functions

effectively and transparently, and will promote proper co-

ordination of the infrastructure company's systems so as to improve

service to customers.

* London Underground will have the power to impose new standards

across a wide range of areas including, critically, safety.

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