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Deputy Director, Northern Powerhouse Rail & Crewe Sponsor

The UK’s transport system is used by most of the population every day, whether travelling to and from work, school, shops, hospitals, or just meeting friends and family. Nearly all journeys use the local roads network. The international freight industry ensures that there are food and goods in the shops, and prompt delivery of parts and raw materials. Most of the transport industry is in the private sector: much of it is subject to safety or economic regulation, often under international agreement; some of it – especially public transport – is subsidised by the taxpayer.

The Department’s High Speed and Major Rail Projects Group is responsible for the very largest rail projects: High Speed 2 (HS2) – the biggest infrastructure project in Western Europe; Crossrail 2; Northern Powerhouse Rail; and East West Rail. Delivering High Speed Two (HS2) is one of the Government's top priorities, and a key part of its long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and secure a better future for Britain.

Job Purpose

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is a new programme to transform existing links between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, and Hull and Newcastle. If approved, it is likely to lead to a capital expenditure of £24bn or more and further hybrid bills beyond the HS2 programme.

This role is responsible for leading DfT’s work on preparing infrastructure options and a business case for NPR; and for sponsoring work on Crewe Hub (itself a c.£0.5bn investment) and the Constellation Partnership Growth Strategy for Cheshire and Stoke. The post-holder will also lead the sponsorship of work on York station going forward (which, like Crewe, is likely to need a combined approach that pools funding from HS2, Network Rail renewals and potentially NPR to create the best overall scheme). The post holder will work very closely with Transport for the North, now established as the first statutory subnational transport body. Our work on NPR is co-cliented with TfN. The post
holder is the Department’s client for major pieces of work by both Network Rail Ltd and HS2 Ltd. They are responsible for brokering agreement within DfT – including with Rail Group – on the way forward, and for managing senior stakeholder relationships with local authorities and LEPs. The work is of high politically interest, a Government manifesto commitment, and vital for future economic growth.

Context and Current issues

Following earlier work on taking forward Northern Powerhouse Rail, we need to identify options that are value for money, technically credible, and capable of commanding local support in the North.

The intention is to reach an initial strategic business case in early 2019, to inform funding considerations in the spending review. This will lead to a revised business case in 2020 that narrows down the concepts on each corridor. It will remain a highly challenging piece of work. As well as sponsoring the detailed development undertaken by HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, there will be a range of complex scope to resolve, including at Manchester Piccadilly station - arguably a major project in its own right.

The Constellation Partnership has a wide range of interests in HS2. While a way forward on Crewe has been agreed, successful delivery will require ongoing oversight and challenge to avoid the risk of cost pressures or delays to the HS2 Phase 2a and Phase 2b hybrid bills. The project requires fully integrated work and planning between HS2 Ltd and NR, each with their own accountabilities and governance.

Main Activities

Sponsor of Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Crewe area sponsor – including remitting and holding Network Rail and HS2 Ltd project directors to account, managing senior stakeholder relationships;  

Sponsor of York station

Person Specification

Essential Skills and Experience:

 Experience of working with and influencing multiple senior stakeholders with competing interests and brokering consensus in a complex
 Highly developed leadership skills including direction-setting, motivation, and performance management;
 Proven ability to work effectively with senior politicians nationally and locally
 A successful track record of working under pressure and meeting demanding timescales.
 An influential figure who is able to command confidence;
 First class communication skills with the ability to build strong networks and influence across sectors and ability to work well in a political
 Strong presentational skills and ability to distil complex information into clear, concise summaries;
 Ability to analyse complex and inter-related issues in order to deliver effectively.
 Experience of leading or developing major projects (rail experience desirable) 


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