Rail franchise performance meeting minutes - 17 September 2020


  • Oi Hang Chu (OHC) Transport Scotland
  • Julie Watson (JW) Transport Scotland
  • Allan Anderson (AA) Transport Scotland
  • Mark Henderson (MH) Transport Scotland
  • Louise Robertson (LR) Transport Scotland
  • Katie Sutton (KS) Transport Scotland
  • Nicola Dawson (ND) ScotRail
  • Sam Price (SAP) ScotRail
  • Scott Prentice (SP) ScotRail
  • David Ross (DR) ScotRail
  • John Beaton (JB) ScotRail
  • Alison McKenna (AM) ScotRail
  • Phil Dargue (PD) Winder Phillips


  • Hilary Cameron (HC) Transport Scotland

Welcome and Introductions

AA introduced the meeting and thanked SR colleagues for the reporting pack. This was followed by a presentation from David Ross which provided an overview on the work of SR Communications.

Minutes of last meeting - 20 August 2020

Minutes from last meeting all agreed and taken as read by both TS/SR.

Deep Dive Presentation

DR covered:

1. Strategic Aims
2. Internal Communications
3. Media
4. Stakeholder
5. Social Media
6. COVID-19 Lessons Learned
7. Evaluation

The presentation began with an overview of how the team is structured.

There are two strands to communications. Firstly sharing information, generally on operational matters. Secondly promoting the business, for example sharing information on new trains and routes.

Internal Communications - DR notes that internal communications keep staff informed on developments within the business. This keeps staff engaged and allows frontline staff to promote new products and be prepared to answer questions from customers. Staff engagement is primarily via email and yammer with some focus groups. It has been found that staff respond better to short video presentations or graphics than blocks of text.

Media engagement - DR advises that the team engage with all levels of media with a focus on broadcast as this is how two thirds of customers still get their news, from TV and to a lesser extent radio. Strong relationships have been developed with key media outlets. Providing good access to trains, stations and interviews wherever possible is important as is good visual material.

Local media is engaged with on specific issues. Recently this has been used to deal with low face covering usage on certain routes.

Stakeholder engagement - DR confirms that engagement with stakeholders takes several forms. Engagement may take the form of drop in sessions for MP’s/MSP’s regional round-tables (for non-elected stakeholders) and meetings with business groups such as the CBI. Meetings with business during the pandemic have been valuable ad they have allowed ASR to explain the need for changes to practices such as staggered shifts to allow for distancing. The stakeholder advisory panel is currently being revised. Correspondence from stakeholders can be a valuable indicator of performance.

Social media - The team cover social media from early morning until midnight seven days a week in line with the running times of the railway. Good pictures or videos are essential to social media as these have far more impact than text – for example in the recent flooding. Social media can be used to promote the business as well as to put out immediate operational information.

Lessons learned from COVID

  • Instructions to passengers need to be explicit (e.g. 'essential travel only').
  • Taskforce working with ASR, TS and NR has been formalised with the joint communications plan. This has been useful and may continue beyond the pandemic.
  • ScotRail want to be explicit about issues which are outwith their control such as physical distancing on trains.
  • The five rules for safer travel have been well received. The template for this may outlive the pandemic.

Evaluation of Communications - David provided the meeting with an overview of the various ways that Scotrail evaluate communications to learn lessons for future communications handling.

AA thanks DR for his time and presentation.

Actions from last meeting - 20 August 2020

All actions reviewed and agreed.

Review of EMA Reporting Pack

TS colleagues have reviewed pack and shared queries with SR.

Committed Obligations Review

No comments from TS/SR.

Franchise Performance Report - Any Matters Arising

No comments from TS/SR.


No further comments from TS/SR.

Published Date 2 Oct 2020 Type Mode of transport