All aboard for changes to rail industry supplier pre-qualification service

7 Jul 2014

From Autumn this year, Link-up – which is used by 110 buying organisations and 3,800 suppliers – will be known as RISQS – Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme.

Fresh from delivering efficiency savings of £5.5 million, the rail industry’s supplier qualification scheme is now re-structuring the operation to deliver further smart working and innovations.

RISQS is governed by a board comprising 21 industry specialists; from professional institutes to contractors, Train Operating Companies and Infrastructure Managers. The aim is to ensure that the service continues to run in an efficient and innovative way, and is of maximum benefit to the rail industry. It is also designed to give suppliers a greater voice in how the service is run.

The core functionality will remain the same – so companies carrying out potentially medium or high risk services can continue to use a single questionnaire to qualify for work with a host of rail businesses. Achilles will continue to provide the qualification system and an audit service for companies deemed to be high risk.

The move follows extensive consultation with buyers and suppliers, with input from a number of working groups.

Richard Sharp, Chairman of the RISQS Board, said: “The whole aim is to make RISQS a scheme that is managed ‘by the industry for the industry.’ During this time of great change and investment in rail, it’s vital that the sector plays a greater role in shaping its own supplier qualification service, to ensure decisions are of maximum benefit to everyone in the rail industry.

“For those already in the community, there will be no additional input required for this latest change but we expect increased benefits for all due to the increased efficiencies created by the RISQS Board with Achilles help and support.”

Suzanne O’Keane, a Community Manager in Rail and Transport at Achilles, said: “It is testament to the success and effectiveness of Link-up that the rail sector is now championing further promotion of the community.

“We are extremely proud of our work in helping RISQS to deliver £5.5 million efficiency savings to the rail industry – via shorter questionnaires, greater standardisation, changes to the pricing structure which saw fees reduced for 80 per cent of suppliers. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the rail industry to implement further improvements and benefits.”

What to expect

Future improvements will include:

  • Further streamlining of the product code hierarchy to be more in keeping with industry requirements
  • Changes to assurance, in line with industry requirements
  • Additional rationalisation of supplier qualification questions
  • Streamlining the audit activity
  • Enhancing qualification arrangements to include sustainable development

Improving the IT platform to support more effective operation of the scheme


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Rebecca Bantoft

Global Head of Corporate Communications & Events

  • +44 (0)1235 838134
  • +44 (0)7931 374627
  • rebecca.bantoft@achilles.com

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