The recent Traingate affair has made me think of another type of risk.  Let us look at the story.

  1. For some time Jeremy Corbyn has been drawing attention to various problems on the railways. He is not alone in his concerns.
  2. He has advocated investing more money into the infrastructure and into the rolling stock. Many people of all political parties and none agree.
  3. He has advocated renationalising the network. That is certainly an option worth considering and should be debated sensibly.  Many people who believe in the free market in general believe this could be an exception.
  4. He has used overcrowding as an example of the shortcomings of the present arrangements. I can personally confirm that it is an issue, as can many people who use the railways.
  5. He has tried to illustrate his argument by making a video of himself on a train.
  6. In this instance, there appear to have been vacant seats. This could be because it is August when the railways are at their quietest.  Not the best time to make the video.
  7. Jeremy has been taken to task for claiming there were no vacant seats when there were. He allegedly sat on the floor, unnecessarily, merely to make his point.
  8. When challenged, he and his supporters vigorously defended his position, claiming Virgin Trains were lying when they said there were seats available.

You may notice that many people would have agreed with his overall points, but disapproved of his apparent dishonesty.

  • I do not intend to give an opinion on the truth or otherwise of the story, as I know only what has been reported.
  • I am concerned that the whole debate has moved away from the state of the railways, which is, or should be, a major issue. It has become focussed on Jeremy’s behaviour.

So what has any of this got to do with Risk Management?

  • I have found it all too easy for anyone to get distracted from a serious risk or other problem and to become focussed on such things as how the issue came to light or what we should have done some time in the past.
  • I have also found that managers can have rightly identified a risk and been well on schedule to finding suitable controls when they make a mistake in the presentation of their case and lose the support they need from colleagues or others.

Risk Dice


How easily sidetracked are you?  Do you start well and later go off the rails?

Perhaps an independent review could help drive things forward.  What signals do you see?