Weekly TA update – Rail engineering work timings; Sickness Absence Support; VE Domestic Sentiment Tracker Report

  1. Network Rail engineering works affecting leisure traffic
  2. ACAS Sickness Absence Support
  3. ICYMI: November’s VE Domestic Sentiment Tracker report

Network Rail engineering works affecting leisure traffic

This week we have continued discussions with Network Rail regarding the timing of their ‘possessions’, that is when they undertake engineering works. With shifting travel patterns linked to increased working from home, there is a strong case that automatically timing works for weekends and holidays is no longer appropriate, if it ever was.

Post-pandemic travel patterns are still being modelled based on the data the rail industry has access to. Network rail report that they have continued to see more demand and more revenue on weekdays than weekends but a far stronger recovery of the leisure market than commuting and business. 

NR have undertaken to gather more useful data, including through anonymised and aggregated mobile data, to better understand how disruption impacts long-term travel patterns by rail.

We pushed for two things in particular. Firstly, better recognition by NR of different types of travel in different parts of the country and on different lines. What may be appropriate for lines with large amounts of commuter traffic will not be appropriate on coastal lines, for example. And secondly, better understanding of the impact of disruption on the attitude and behaviours of tourists, both domestic and international, which is not something that NR has properly considered before. Many commuters are savvy enough to have work arounds to disruption (not least many being able to work from home) while the impact on leisure travellers – and the prospect of rail replacement buses – might be much more significant.

ACAS Sickness Absence Support

ACAS – the government-sponsored conciliation service, has asked for support in distribution some new guidance they have published on sickness management which your members may find useful.

For managers and employers, handling sickness absence is an inevitable aspect of staff management. With over one-quarter of employers reporting an increase in staff absences, now more than ever it is crucial for businesses to know how to manage sickness absence effectively, because failure to do so can have a detrimental effect on business. 

Our guidance offers tips to businesses and employers on how best to handle sickness absence and how to better support employees during their illness and upon their return to work.

The ACAS toolkit is available here

In case you missed it – November’s VE Domestic Sentiment Tracker report

You will be aware of the monthly Domestic Sentiment Tracker survey published by Visit England.

The latest report from fieldwork undertaken 1-7 November 2022 is available now.

A couple of key stats which jumped out:

  1. 74% of UK adults still believe the worst is still to come in regard to the cost-of-living crisis, although that figure is five points better than it was the previous month.
  2. 73% of UK adults are intending to take an overnight UK trip in the next 12 months, and that is also up by 5 points.

The next set of field work will take place in early December and report mid-month. It will be very interesting to see how the key metrics might move following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Will general doom and gloom, higher taxes, a squeeze on personal finances and high energy costs continue to dampen the mood, or will the Chancellor’s attempt to set the UK on a stable footing make people more confident for 2023? Let’s see.