The risk that disappointing operational performance by ScotRail and the associated negative publicity will lead to increased political pressure on the organisation, which could result in reputation damage for Abellio and NS. There is also pressure on the financial performance due to adverse economic developments.


The operational performance is falling behind the agreed targets. Performance has worsened due to industrial unrest and strikes concerning driver controlled operations, work on improving the infrastructure (such as the closure of Winchburgh Tunnel and Queen Street) and autumn weather, although ScotRail performs relatively well in the United Kingdom given the size and complexity of the franchise. This has all led to increased pressure from the media and politicians.


ScotRail has drawn up a Performance Improvement Plan that should make sure that the operational performance returns to the required standard as quickly as possible. The operational improvements lie to some extent in initiatives that will deliver results in the medium term, for example the introduction of new rolling stock. To make sure this major transformation of Scottish rail transport stays on course, ScotRail is liaising closely with the Scottish government and Transport Scotland and ScotRail also has a ‘deep alliance’ with NetworkRail. The aim of the Deep Alliance is to reduce the impact of maintenance and other infrastructural work and other unplanned disruptions on passengers through collaboration, and to improve punctuality. The four parties have now developed a joint approach. This will help improve the services to passengers, ensure proactive communication with passengers ensure fulfilment of the contractual obligations of the franchise. This forms one part of the proactive approach to safeguard our reputation in Scotland. Improvements in the operational performance and various financial initiatives will help improve the financial results.

Risk control trend

The above-mentioned measures should lead to results in the short and medium term. The effects can already be seen to some extent. The degree of risk control has therefore been improved.

Residual risk

Medium. The current risk profile does not yet match the desired risk profile.