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Achilles vs. Network Rail - Court of Appeal outcome

In July 2019, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) passed down a judgement on a case between Network Rail and Achilles Information Limited – the company that used to be a service provider to RISQS and its predecessor Link-Up.

The CAT concluded that while Network Rail could mandate RISQS on its own immediate suppliers (I.e. the companies that supply directly to them), they could not mandate it across the whole supply chain as part of the Sentinel scheme.

Network Rail appealed the judgement, and the Court of Appeal ruled on 5 March 2020. It found in favour of Achilles, upholding the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) judgement in July 2019.

We at RISQS believe that there are key safety and efficiency benefits that industry enjoys from having one industry-owned scheme.

The key point to note is that buyers can still specify RISQS to their immediate suppliers.

Network Rail has said that it will continue to require suppliers with whom they contract directly to be members of the RISQS scheme for the supply of safety critical goods, works and services.

Transport for London will continue to use RISQS where relevant.

As a Buyer, what do I need to do?

If you choose to take no action, you can continue to specify RISQS on your suppliers – the Competition Appeal Tribunal confirmed that buyers can mandate RISQS on their own suppliers.

As a Supplier, what do I need to do?

If you choose to take no action, you can continue to keep your profile up-to-date in the RISQS portal, maintain your verification and arrange audits as required.

Buyers can still specify RISQS.

If you are already, or wish to work directly for Network Rail, you will need to be a member of the RISQS scheme.

Can buyers still use RISQS?

Yes, buyers will still be able to specify RISQS on their own immediate suppliers.

Network Rail has said that it will continue to require suppliers with whom they contract directly to be members of the RISQS scheme for the supply of safety critical goods, works and services.

Transport for London will continue to use RISQS where relevant.

Should I join alternative schemes?

You can join an alternative scheme should you wish to. However, you are not required to.

Network Rail will continue to require suppliers with whom they contract directly to be members of the RISQS scheme for the supply of safety critical goods, works and services. RISQS remains the largest scheme with nearly 4000 suppliers and over 90 buyers.

Where companies join RISQS as suppliers, it may make sense for them to become Buyer members too, to ensure their own suppliers become verified – and where necessary audited – to the same standard through RISQS.

Are buyers committed to RISQS?

Yes, Network Rail will continue to require suppliers with whom they contract directly to be members of the RISQS scheme for the supply of safety critical goods, works and services. TfL will continue to use RISQS where relevant.

RISQS remains the largest scheme with nearly 4000 suppliers.

RISQS has over 90 buyers in the scheme and many have signed up to the Buyers’ Charter which is a way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to use the scheme and support its ongoing development in industry’s interests.

In the past industry worked hard to take back control of supplier qualification arrangements.The RISQS scheme is managed in the interests of safety, performance and reliability.

Where can I go for more information?

If you have any more questions, please contact the customer support team on 0800 4101 300 or email info@risqs.org.


October 2020

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