SWR Class 458

UK: South Western Railway has published its first Social Value Report, assessing the train operator’s impact on wider society, the environment and the economy as determined by the Rail Social Value tool developed by the Rail Safety & Standards Board.

SWR commissioned Larch Consulting to assess its impact both quantitatively and qualitatively. The RSSB tool identifies 10 key areas of social impact for rail: community safety, accessibility, employment and skills, social inclusion, diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, local and sustainable procurement, and regeneration.

SWR noted that its achievements included:

  • supporting 215 people to complete an apprenticeship;
  • procuring 7·5% of all spend from SMEs;
  • providing £10·7 million worth of training courses;
  • appointing and training 82 mental health first aiders;
  • increasing the proportion of step-free access stations to 68%;
  • investing £1·03 million in the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund;
  • preventing 175 incidents through interventions from frontline teams;
  • limiting staff turnover to 5·6% through colleague engagement;
  • donating £259 316 to charities;
  • dedicating 117·5 h of colleague time to the delivery of health and wellbeing courses;
  • establishing five key networks to help achieve greater diversity and stronger inclusion;
  • achieving a 4 or 5 out of 5 rating for station experience from 76% of respondents to a customer survey;
  • introducing a passenger assistance satisfaction survey;
  • developing a network for apprentices.

‘Our responsibilities go beyond our customers, to the communities we serve, and helping to build the economic and social prosperity of the UK’, explained SWR’s Head of Sustainability Amy Dickinson when the report was published on July 28. ‘As our first report of this kind, we know that it is not perfect, but to know where we are going, we had to know where we were coming from —and so we are proud to share it. It serves as a benchmark from which SWR can build this year, and every year.

‘Our stakeholders, customers, and communities should consider it an invitation. Whether you have a great idea, an exciting new project, or simply just want to find out more, we would love to hear from you.’