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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Perhaps you could explain what you mean here, as it comes across as an unnecessary dig otherwise. Are you suggesting that in order for a Director to fulfill their role properly they need to be present on site for 100% of opening hours and to know everything about everything? I don't know what Robin's role is, but I suspect that it isn't to oversee commercial or civil engineering matters, for example.
     
  2. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    In what way is the WSR Plc structure not represented in that guidance document?

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
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  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I find in my work that the difference between "accountability" and "responsibility" is frequently confused. The RACI model is extremely helpful when drawing the distinction. Summarising grossly, the person (always singular) who is accountable for something is the person whose job it is to make sure that something is done, while the person(s) responsible has the job of doing it. It is also, for example, something that I keep in mind in school governors and PCC meetings, where descending into the fine detail is rarely an effective use of people or time, and where it is very easy to lose the focus on strategic matters through distraction with operational issues.

    There are many ways that accountability can be discharged in line with the HRA guidance which do not require full time presence.

    Finally, as you raise accountability, my reading of this thread over the last few years raises some significant red flags over the attitude of the board of the WSR to their collective accountability, especially to stakeholders. It rather feels as though it meets the (underwhelming) legal minima, but fails to honour the spirit - especially for a body so reliant on volunteers and external fund raising.
     
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  4. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Resident of Nat Pres

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    A useful document.

    I noted in particular:

    The last paragraph on page 4 and the sixteenth bullet on page 7.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
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  5. Downline

    Downline New Member

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    The very last bullet point on that page in relation to an example of good governance and leadership says "Being open and accountable".

    Is blaming everyone else for delays, and then using a excuse that is applicable for late 2020/early 2021 for your failings to deliver the crossing renewal in late 2018, all of 2019 and early 2020 a good or bad example of being open and accountable?
     
  6. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the details of the fund-raising campaign aren't the whole of the cause for its poor return; I reckon things like the SDRT imbroglio, going after volunteers who don't fall into line, etc have left a bad taste in the mouths of heritage people far and wide, and that's a large part of the reason for the poor response - and better PR isn't going to help.

    I have to say, 96% of the postings here are a waste of time. The situation is fundamentally quite simple. Most heritage lines generally can't be healthy in the long term without outside contributors. The current WSR is irretrievably damaged in that respect, as laid out above. Everything else is just distracting noise.

    Noel
     
  7. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    Well, they are running well-turned out trains and keeping customers happy, what's not to like? Meanwhile, in the back seat, at board level....
     
  8. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    No business that takes its customers for granted will survive long and the WSR Plc doesn't just take a large chunk of its customers for granted, it doesn't even think of them as customers.
     
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  9. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Look over there!
     
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  10. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Thank you.

    I guess the Plc will consider themselves "open and accountable" to its shareholders as the bare minimum. It'll be interesting to read the report in the next AGM papers. Like others, I feel the Railway would thrive under a different membership-charity-based structure, a structure that'd bring the commercial arm the openness and accountability to a much wider set of people, all under one umbrella charity, who would, at last, play a real part in the development of our Railway.

    I note once again the crossing is mentioned. I too have been frustrated (very) and so I made the effort to find out about the lack of information and lack of updates over the last few years. But then I made the effort to find out why. And now I understand. Do try it yourself.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  11. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    If I may enquire, what's the 'executive summary', from your perspective? (I've heard bits and pieces of details, but I'm not sure I have a good grasp on the 'big picture'; I'd appreciate your summary version.)

    Noel
     
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  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    They probably won't Steve, but will ask you to explain. ;)
     
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Probably on the basis of getting a quicker and more coherent answer from Steve than elsewhere :)
     
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  14. Snifter

    Snifter Well-Known Member

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    The next board minutes from the WSRA may refer to the long awaited meeting with the finance director, who knows.
     
  15. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Ha! This thread seems full of posts from people who seem to know the 'big picture'. But do they? Seriously, though, my advice would be "many critics here could get themselves a 'good grasp' of this topic - and other topics - by asking the people involved". I do try very hard to respect confidences so kindly accept I can't provide your 'ask'. Noel.

    It would really be helpful to give this topic a break and let the 'involved people' do their stuff. Rest assured, I will continue to post on wsr.org.uk the information and updates the 'involved people' have agreed can go public. Meanwhile, ordinary guys like me will just have to be patient ;)

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  16. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    You were a bit quick off the mark Noel, sorry. :)
     
  17. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    Well, if you can give me an example of a company whose management take direction from an internet discussion forum, I'd be interested to see how they are getting along. Although I did hear that Mumsnet was very influential in some circles, Nat Pres is not in quite the same league. Less back seat driver, more Bobbie Pryor.
     
  18. Downline

    Downline New Member

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    So if the Plc are open and accountable to its shareholders as the bare minimum, what about the staff and volunteers? Do they not matter? Or do you expect those who turn up to work on the railway to just do as they are told and not ask any questions? As noted on this forum only a matter of days ago, there is a distinct gap between those on the board, and those on the ground keeping the railway running. Open and accountable can't happen very well hidden away in a location over an hour from the railway. But otherwise I agree with you, a different structure would be the best solution for the railway. Its a shame the board has self dictated its transformation from leadership to managerial which is clearly preventing this.

    And regarding the crossing, if you visit the WSR friends facebook group, or the WSR official facebook page as 2 examples, you will find many an example of people asking whats happening, and either receiving no response or being directed to the generic non accountability statement. I am aware of people who have tried requesting updates via email or attempt to get in contact via phone with PLC directors and either don't receive a response or are directed to the same statement. I only used the crossing as a example
     
  19. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    This thread also suffers from posters who come on here and say "I know what's going on, but I can't tell you". "Yorkshireman" used to specialise in them, but others have taken up the baton.
    On the face of it, the Seaward Way saga looks like a massive cock-up. Now we are being told that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation, but it's confidential. All that means is that everyone is now wondering why it should be confidential, if not to protect whoever it was that made the cock-up. I'm reminded of the line in "Yes, Minister", "The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, but to protect officials."
     
  20. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    ...and so they should in any properly managed company, Mr Gradgrind.
     

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