Case Study - DOT: VfM Review of the Railway Safety Programme

Client: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Eire)
Sector: the transport sector
Services delivered: overview , strategic risk management , evaluation , asset management

As part of a wider programme of investment in the country’s transportation system, the Irish Government is making significant investments in the rail network through a 15 year Railway Safety Programme. To ensure that the programme is delivering value for money and inform priorities for the final five years of the programme, Risk Solutions was appointed to conduct an independent evaluation and policy review of the programme in February 2008.

A particular challenge of this evaluation was being able to assess an unusually wide variety of initiatives ranging from improved management systems, new competence and training arrangements and a major programme of infrastructure investment. In the course of performing the review we:

  • Reviewed Irish Rail’s safety management system against best practice
  • Developed an evaluation framework based on a Programme Logic Model and assessed changes in a wide range of key performance indicators
  • Consulted Irish Rail staff and other stakeholders on achievements made under the programme
  • Performed an economic analysis to determine whether the programme has been value for money
  • Reviewed the monitoring arrangements to ensure that the Department was kept informed of progress and changes to the programme.

We concluded that the programme is value for money, and found that safety improvements had enabled Irish Rail to reduce train delays and remove speed restrictions that were delivering business benefits that exceeded the immediate safety benefits.

Our final report was issued in December 2008 and is available at:

The Irish Government has since decided to continue investment under the Railway Safety Programme and Risk Solutions was subsequently asked to review Irish Rail's proposals against the Government’s guidelines for major capital programmes.