For those not on Facebook, here is the full text of the WSRA Review Interim Report as prepared for the recent WSRA AGM.

WSRA Review 2015: Interim Report
Issue : 1.0 Final

Prepared for the WSRA AGM to be held on 25 July 2015

Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference are as the Resolution passed at the General Meeting of the WSRA on 10 May 2015 which stated: “The Trustees shall cause to be conducted a review of the purpose, objects, structure and activities of the WSRA, intended to return the WSRA to its core role as supporting the West Somerset Railway as a whole. The review shall be chaired by a person independent of the WSRA or any group on the Railway but the review team shall include WSRA Trustees, representatives of the WSRA Reform Group, WSR plc, and the WSSRT, and may include representatives of other groups on the Railway as the review chairman shall decide. There shall be an opportunity for all interested persons to contribute to the review. The review report shall be completed within 6 months of this resolution being passed and shall be presented in its entirety to the WSRA membership on completion. The trustees shall then bring forward proposals to the WSRA membership to implement the review recommendations no later than the Annual General Meeting following the publication of the review report.”

Review Panel method of working
As noted, a guarantee was obtained from the Trustees that the Review would be independent and that they would fully engage in the Review process. To function as a cohesive team, the Review Panel itself must be independent. For this reason, while representatives selected to sit on the panel will naturally report back to their respective organisations on the process, the conversations within the Review Panel will follow the ‘Chatham House Rule’. The reason is that it allows people to speak as individuals, and to express views that may not be those of their organisations, and therefore it encourages free discussion. All members of the Review Panel have confirmed that: “They will well and truly serve the Review Panel acting with an open mind, fairly, impartially and inquisitively, and will do right to all manner of people connected with the Review, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.”

Review Methodology to be adopted
A nine-stage process will be adopted for the Review, these are:
Stage Process Progress
1 Scoping and appointment of Review Panel Complete
2 Invite and receive submissions from interested parties Ongoing – deadline 10 August
3 Establish lines of inquiry Ongoing
4 Research, visits, assessment, investigation and interviews August September 2015
5 Analysis of the evidence October 2015
6 Generating options and establishing possible ways forward October / November 2015
7 Conclusions, consultations and recommendations November 2015
8 Report and presentations 1 December 2015
9 Review and feedback December 2015

There will be a review of the WSRA’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities focusing on the purpose, objects, structure and activities of the WSRA (including WSRA Promotions). The Review will look at the relevant actions and policies of the WSRA and how they meet statutory requirements and best practice.

Given the nature of the WRSA, its relationship with its members, customers and other groups on the Railway it will be important to understand both the expectations of, and engagement with, these groups.

As a regulated Charity, one of the key areas of focus will be a review of WSRA’s charitable objectives;
• Are they still appropriate and relevant ?
• Are the activities contributing to the objectives of the Railway ?
• Is fund raising being carried out effectively ?

The review will examine whether the current organisation and structure of the WSRA is appropriate and working and if not, to identify any gaps. A high level delivery plan for the implementation of the recommendations will be created. This will provide a framework for the WSRA to demonstrate to the membership that the recommendations have been delivered in accordance with the motion that was passed at the EGM. The plan will include definitions of “measures of success” that will be understood by the membership.

The Review Panel aims to report on 1st December 2015.

The Review Panel is very keen to engage with those interested in the future of the West Somerset Railway and to keep everyone informed of progress. The Review has issued 3 press releases to date and created a Facebook page:

The Review Panel can be reached by email, the address is:

Written communication can be sent to the WSRA Review Chairman at the address below, where it will be collected and opened only by the review panel.

WSRA Review Chairman.
The Railway Station,
Bishops Lydeard,
Taunton, TA4 3BX

Robin Coombes
Chairman On behalf of the WSRA Panel 20 July 2015

The Review Panel Members
Name Role / Sponsor
Robin Coombes Independent Chairman
Brian Fraser WSRA Reform Group
Simon Stretton WSRA
Andrew Forster WSR Plc
Chris Austin West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT)
Ryan Pope WSR Youth & Apprentices
Martyn Snell WSR Volunteers
Nell Barrington External Consultant specialising in Tourism, Marketing and Business Support