Advice on responding to the DfT’s community rail consultation
Jools Townsend, chief executive, ACoRP
We are encouraging every one of our members and partners to respond to the Department for Transport’s community rail consultation, before it closes on 28 January. This is a fantastic chance for us to all have our say and contribute ideas on how community rail can be further nurtured and developed over the coming decade.
We therefore wanted to offer some tips on responding to the consultation, based on queries that came up at our members’ seminars. We hope this will help to make writing a response both constructive and manageable, but if you’d like further advice, do let us know.
1.Respond from your organisation or group’s unique perspective – don’t assume that others will say what needs to be said. It will help us to build a stronger community rail movement if every CRP, station friends group, and everyone involved in community rail provides their own response, sharing their unique ideas, experiences and opinions. The DfT wants to hear from as many people as possible, and we want to show the huge array of work, energy and passion in community rail.
2. Encourage your partners to respond too – if you’re working with local authorities, schools, LEPs, businesses, charities and other groups and organisations, ask them to reply too. Even if they submit a couple of thoughts on their involvement in community rail and how the movement can be developed, it will make contribute another valuable perspective.
3. Don’t feel compelled to answer every question – say as much as you can, relevant to your experience and standpoint. But if there are parts of the consultation you’re unsure about, it’s fine to leave them. However short or long your response, the DfT will read and consider it.
4. Focus on the potential of community rail to contribute more to society – and set out your ideas on making this happen. Bear in mind this is a consultation on how community rail can be developed, not on the railways themselves. So think positively about what community rail’s role is and could be, in terms of community development, sustainable mobility, health, inclusion and wellbeing. Talk about what you’re doing now that’s valuable, how we can help others do this kind of work, and how you could deliver greater value.
5. Consider how government, industry and other strategic partners can help to unleash the potential of community rail – the consultation is informing a long-term government strategy on community rail, which you, your funders and partners will be able to refer to over many years. What might it say about community rail that will help you, future volunteers and officers, and the whole movement, to make a greater difference to people’s lives now and in future years?
You can find lots more information, including our report on ‘what’s been achieved in community rail’, and respond to the consultation, at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-community-rail-strategy. ACoRP will be sharing its response in the new year. For more advice, please contact ACoRP on firstname.lastname@example.org or the DfT on CRConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk.