Operator of Last Resort, Operations and Contracts Workstreams, Department for Transport – United Kingdom

  • 9 consultants engaged over 4 years
  • 2 key workstreams
  • Prepared 13 train operating companies to mobilise if needed
  • 2 successful mobilisations of train operating companies

The Operator of Last Resort (OLR) is a business in the UK that takes ownership of a railway franchise, on behalf of the government, when a train operating company (TOC) is no longer able to do so. Under Section 30 of the Railways Act 1993, which privatised train operations in the UK, the government is required to maintain continuity and ensure the seamless transition of passenger rail services and operations if a franchise is terminated. In most instances, the government will negotiate for the existing franchisee to continue to operate the franchise on a management contract.. Should this not be possible, the Department for Transport (DfT) in England (through DfT OLR Holdings Limited (DOHL)) is required to step in as the OLR.

North Star are leading the activity of two critically important OLR workstreams: Contracts (since 2019) and Human Resources (HR) (since 2020).

  • Contracts workstream: Ensuring that the OLR has a full suite of contracts in place to enable business continuity and transfer of all aspects of the TOC’s operation. North Star undertakes analysis and due diligence of the TOCs, including their Franchise Agreement, Contracts Matrix, Purchase Order spending, Asset Register and Regulated Agreements, issuing legal documentation to ensure a seamless transition when required.
  • HR workstream: Ensuring that the OLR is able to successfully transfer employees under Transfer of Employment Protection of Employment Act (TUPE). North Star undertakes due diligence of the TOCs, including gathering HR-related information about the TOC and supporting the execution of all staff transfer-related activities.

Business industry partners have cited North Star’s approach as one of the most outstanding examples of cross-industry teamwork experienced.