Regulator blocks Network Rail board's bonus plans

Richard Price, the new rail regulation boss, has blocked Network Rail's £15.6m long-term management incentive proposals as he looks to overhaul the track operator's controversial bonus culture.

The move comes despite attempts by the revamped Network Rail board to introduce an improved incentive structure after the rows over director bonuses that marred the last days of Iain Coucher's leadership. The former chief executive was awarded £641,000 on top of his £613,000 basic salary last year, but successor David Higgins has proposed a more disciplined scheme.

Mr Higgins' team suggested that more of the bonus should be based on how Network Rail performs in its five-year control periods, the latest of which runs to 2014. The 10 executive directors and executive committee members are entitled to 2.6 per cent of anything up to £600m that the organisation saves over its £5.2bn efficiency target.

On top of this potential £15.6m pot, the executive directors and committee members could get an annual bonus of up to 60 per cent of salary, down from the Coucher era's 100 per cent. For example, Mr Higgins' basic £560,000 could become nearly £900,000 this financial year.

Although NR's members, who act in a similar way to a company's shareholders, have approved the proposals, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) believes the scheme does not meet the three core objectives for the incentive plan that it set out earlier this year. These are delivery, which includes improving service and health and safety; out-performance, so that NR is incentivised to beat efficiency targets; and accountability and transparency, such as openly seeking the views of the members and Network Rail's principal funders, which include the Government.

Bill Emery was due to write to NR with the ORR's concerns after a board meeting in April, but he has since been replaced by Mr Price. The ORR has instead met with NR several times as they try to hammer out a compromise.

NR chairman Rick Haythornthwaite told members at the annual meeting earlier this month that he "won't stretch [their] mandate", meaning that should the incentive plan significantly change he will put the proposals to a second vote.

A resolution is not expected for several months. An industry source said: "The gut feeling is that the new rail regulator with Mr Price at the helm wants to be seen to look at things anew."

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?