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Scottish Rail Holdings - General Counsel


Thank you for your interest in the role of General Counsel of Scottish Rail Holdings Limited (SRH).

The information that follows should answer many of the questions you may have about the organisation’s work and the role of the General Counsel.

SRH is a limited company and public body in Scotland, accountable to Scottish Ministers for the delivery of rail passenger services in support of the Scottish Government’s objectives as set out in the National Transport Strategy.

SRH has oversight of the governance and performance of two subsidiary train operating companies, ScotRail Trains Limited (SRT/ScotRail) and, since June 2023, Caledonian Sleeper Limited (CSL). Together SRH, SRT, and CSL form the SRH group. We are also part of a group of stakeholders known as Scotland’s Railway, which includes Network Rail (the infrastructure owner), train operating companies, statutory bodies, and suppliers.

SRH commenced operations in April 2022, when ScotRail was taken into public ownership.

The General Counsel will join us at an exciting time in our development as Scotland’s Railway recovers from the impact of the pandemic and seeks to play a prominent role in Scotland’s drive to net zero.

While SRT and CSL face considerable challenges in restoring patronage, reducing the level of public subsidy, and securing the investment to modernise infrastructure and assets, we do not face these challenges alone. The new General Counsel will have a crucial role in maintaining and securing collaboration and partnerships with organisations across the system, working to improve outcomes for people and communities. The main stakeholders are Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, and Network Rail, the UK-wide organisation that owns and manages Britain’s railway infrastructure.

Working closely with me and the rest of the SRH Board, the General Counsel will fully contribute to and participate in the strategic management and governance of the SRH group. The General Counsel will be responsible for managing all aspects of legal compliance and governance for Scottish Rail Holdings, including providing legal advice, overseeing compliance with regulatory requirements, and ensuring corporate governance standards are maintained across all Scottish Rail Holdings subsidiaries.

We are looking for a leader who shares our values. We are collaborative, innovative, excellent, respectful, and we work with integrity. We expect the successful applicant to be committed to and personify the seven ‘Nolan’ principles of Public Life. These values underpin how we work with each other and with partners and guide our work as a Board.

We are keen to attract exceptional applicants with the senior-level experience required for this significant appointment. You do not need to be a professional expert in rail, but you do need to be able to demonstrate significant experience in leading impactful work to improve outcomes in a business or public service. Given the complexity of the industry and the challenges it faces, you will also have to be able to demonstrate evidence of and willingness to learn from others.

We are looking for applications from people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds who are sensitive to the diverse needs of the people of Scotland and their expectations of public transport, and the benefits that rail passenger services can have on individuals and communities. It is important that applicants understand the contribution made by the whole system rail network in Scotland to deliver the Scottish Government’s objectives for economic growth, social inclusion, and the achievement of net zero by 2045. Specific details on the requirements for this role are included in the person specification section of this pack.

If what I have described sounds like a challenge that you can rise to, then I hope you will apply and, once again, thank you for the interest you have shown.

Richard Cairns

Chair, Scottish Rail Holdings