Confidential reporting and analysis was adopted by the mainline railway companies shortly after the catastrophic rail incident that was Ladbroke Grove in 1999 to help address an identified shortfall in safety culture.
There’s an important distinction to be made between confidential reporting and whistleblowing, said Paul Russell, who in 2012 left his assurance director role at Serco Transport to head rail industry confidential reporting body CIRAS.
“People confuse confidential reporting with whistleblowing,” said Paul. “There are pros and cons to whistleblowing. With whistleblowing, the identity may or may not be kept confidential. Blowing the whistle is different from sounding an alarm and that is what confidential reporting can provide. It’s an early warning, providing organisations with an opportunity to improve before issues escalate into a loss event.”
Paul has now launched a new confidential reporting service, CallConfidential, which he believes will continue to build on the work undertaken since Ladbroke Grove.
Based in Sussex, CallConfidential is positioning itself as a multi-sector confidential reporting tool. The company, which meets RIS-3701 – TOM and RISQS requirements for confidential reporting, is independent and is a limited registered entity at Companies House under TRRC Limited, trading as CallConfidential.
“CallConfidential was launched earlier in 2017, and we are currently fine tuning our operating procedures and ensuring that the user experience is one that is both high quality and effective,” said Paul. “We launched the business formally early in November and go live in April 2018.”
Paul has already assembled an experienced team with a wide range of expertise. “We will operate in only those sectors where we have an industry expert as part of our board, which doubles as our ‘Panel of Industry Experts’,” said Paul. “We recognised that to be credible we would need to have identified people with expertise that not only brings subject matter experience to our business – for example safety, human resources, information security and incident investigation – but who also come from a variety of industry sectors, so we have people who have expertise in rail, construction, oil and gas, security and emergency planning, NHS, road and highways and accident investigation.”
So far, the CallConfidential panel includes Paul, an expert in the rail and construction sectors and a former British Rail signaller; Richard Bell, who has held various rail safety and compliance roles throughout a 20-year career; Jean Duprez MBE, vice chair on the Business Development Board at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and an ambassador for the London Chamber of Commerce; and Rob Miles, a human factors engineering behaviour specialist, former HSE inspector in oil and gas and, like Russell, a former CIRAS committee board member.
Further experts being added to the panel include Paul Richards, who has extensive knowledge of information security; and Martyn Gomersall, an independent safety consultant to large international consulting companies including Parsons-Brinckerhoff, Egis Rail (France), AECOM (Asia) as well as highly regarded contractors such as GE, Impregilo and many others. Within the United Kingdom, he has engineering experience in signalling installation, track works and track welding. Martyn has also worked directly for MTR (Hong Kong) and London Underground in both operational and engineering safety.
Lorna McDonald is the newly appointed assistant director of rail. Having joined BEIS as a civil servant in May 2017, Lorna brings with her an impressive portfolio in the Metropolitan Police, Counter Terrorism Command (both in UK and Abroad) and her current work in rail.
Bonita Raisbeck, who has 11 years’ military experience as an electrical engineer, has also joined the panel. Bonita has broadened her personal and professional experience with HSQE roles within the heavy engineering, construction, rail, local council, further education and consultancy sectors. Throughout Bonita’s varied career, she has been involved at all tiers with safety, health and environmental (SHE) compliance – from shop-floor delivery through to strategic decision making at director level.
CallConfidential recognises that to operate in such industries requires strict confidentiality and security of data, and is currently working towards ISO 27001 Information Security accreditation. CallConfidential is being modelled on the EFQM Excellence Model and indeed Paul Russell himself is currently active in assessing organisations throughout the UK on behalf of the British Quality Foundation (BQF).
CallConfidential’s managing director, Richard Bell, explains that the company’s primary objective is to offer a hands-on service that member organisations and their staff feel confident in using. CallConfidential will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The service will be available at times when it is potentially needed the most, for example during engineering windows at Christmas, Easter or during Bank Holidays and weekends.
Richard said that through business efficiencies and location, the business has been able to keep operational running costs low, which will be reflected in the service’s pricing structure. There will also be flexible membership opportunities for group organisations, and the potential for longer term membership.
In addition, as part of its community engagement programme, CallConfidential will commit to making annual charitable donations based upon the membership subscription levels. Members will be given the opportunity of choosing which charity they would like to see benefit from this commitment.
“It’s an exciting time for CallConfidential, and we are determined to make a difference and add value to our ‘members’ reporting systems,” said Richard Bell.
To find out more, visit: www.callconfidential.com
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