Latest News

Weekly Update - 11.04.2014

When to authenticate...

Now new Sentinel has been rolled out the objective is for everyone to have their card authenticated every time they start work. This has led to the question being asked by Network Rail staff and supply chain organisations of when should an individual be authenticated.

Below are the rules on when to authenticate Sentinel cards:

  1. The Sentinel card must be authenticated once a shift;
  2. and each time you work with a different COSS;
  3. and upon request following an event/incident or investigation.

Looking at the card does not prove eligibility to work – the card must be scanned.

 

Notification Periods – an update

Who does this affect?

Training Providers

Background

To smooth the transition to the new database we extended the notification period to 76 days.

What is changing?

From the end of April, we are reverting to the previous time limit to 15 working days as in the RTAS rules:

8.4 Notification of Training and Assessment

Every Licensed Training and/or Assessment Provider shall nominate a person within their organisation to notify the Managers of the Sentinel Scheme within 15 days of any training and/or assessment event that it has taken place. This notification shall include:

  1. the name of the person(s) attending;
  2. the method of verification of identity;
  3. the competency that they have achieved.

Before notifying the Managers of the Sentinel Scheme the nominated person must check the Trainer and/or Assessor has collected all the required documentation and other supporting evidence required by section 8.3.

Where an individual fails to demonstrate competence this must be updated as soon as possible after the completion of the event and not later than the next working day after the event.

 

Sentinel audits for training providers

Background

In the past rail safety training providers have been exempt from having a Sentinel audit unless they were also registered with Link-Up to provide other auditable product code services.

What is changing?

For consistent assurance all sponsors including training providers  will need a separate audit from the end of June. To continue providing rail safety training you need to put the following in place by 30th June 2014.

  1. You must register with Link-Up under product code 07.07.01 Track Safety Training (NSARE) - SER if you have not already done so.
  2. You must book and pass a Sentinel audit. This must be completed by mid-May, as it can take up to 15 days to publish the result of an audit.
  3. You must transfer primary sponsorship of all your trainers and assessors to your own Sentinel registration.

The process will take up to 8 weeks to complete, so you should take action as soon as possible to ensure that your ability to access the track is not interrupted.

No further action is required for training providers that have already passed a Sentinel audit and sponsor all their trainers and assessors.

 

CORRECTION: Frequency of Drug and Alcohol tests

In Sentinel Transition Update No.12 we answered a question on the frequency of Drug and Alcohol tests (D&As). For clarity the correct answer is:

A negative (pass) D&A test must be undertaken and recorded on Sentinel within 3 months prior to a transfer of sponsorship.

Changes in competence expiry dates

The new Sentinel system applies different expiry dates for competences from the old system. These now expire on the day before their anniversary.

System update: ES and PICOP competencies

COSS or IWA (Individual Working Alone) are prerequisites for the Engineering Supervisor (ES) and Person in Charge of Possession (PICOP) competencies. This rule was not applied in the Sentinel system. We have now corrected this which may result in some competencies being made invalid.

 

07.02.2014 - Latest updates

Login and password security

Due to a recent incident that is under investigation all of the security processes we have imposed around system logins and password will change.

The Sentinel Hotline will only create the initial (Sentinel Co‐ordinators) login, all other logins for an organisation need to be created by the organisation after this.

The Sentinel Hotline will not change any passwords. There is a facility in the Sentinel system for password changes and this must be used.

We are aware that there are occasions when there are exceptional circumstances. In these instances the Sentinel Hotline will assist, but they will only accept requests from the Sentinel Coordinator for the organisation or the named director registered at Companies House.

Card Cancellation Notifications

You may have been aware of an issue in the Card Ordering Process for your track‐workers where, upon completing a request for a new card, you cancelled the issue 1 card after your order was placed and the system cancelled the issue 2 card. The reason for this occurrence is that upon ordering a second card the issue 1 card goes into a cancellation process and will cancel automatically when the issue 2 card is scanned for the first time. When you choose cancel afterward the system recognises a cancellation process on the issue 1 card and cancels issue 2 instead. In order to avoid this from occurring in the future we recommend the following methods are followed:

Investigations and Arbitration

For sponsors submitting a Local Investigation for Formal Review, or who have queries to do with the Sentinel Investigation process or for individuals requesting arbitration over sponsorship. Individuals – please note that you must contact your Primary Sponsor in the first instance to request de‐sponsorship. Individuals contact their primary sponsor via login into ‘MySentinel’ Web Portal to request desponsorship from a sponsor. Only request arbitration if your Primary Sponsor is refusing to de‐sponsor you, or is not responding to your request. Please contact mysentinel@networkrail.co.uk if you wish to escalate a desponsorship request.

Sponsors – remember, under the Sentinel Scheme Rules, you are not allowed to de‐sponsor an individual under investigation unless you have first completed a Local Investigation. If the recommendation is a Scheme Outcome, then this needs to be submitted to Network Rail Workforce Safety Team via this email address.

Details of the process for investigating breached of the Sentinel Scheme Rules can be found in Section 5 of the attached.

New Sentinel videos now available

Two new videos have been produced giving information and guidance on new Sentinel. One is on your new Sentinel card and the other focuses on the various ways to authenticate the Sentinel card. You can watch the videos here. More Sentinel information videos are planned in the near future.

Update on the Drugs & Alcohol process

A negative (passed) D&A certificate is required to be able to change Primary Sponsor. From 6th January 2014 the timeframe for this test has changed from 12 months to 3 months. This means that you need a D&A test and the negative certificate recorded within 3 months of changing Primary Sponsor.

Please note this is the ONLY time that a D&A certificate has a timeframe check.

In the early stages of the migration to new Sentinel there were problems with Sponsors not creating individuals in Sentinel prior to attending Competence Specific Medicals/D&As which meant that results could be recorded for those individuals. This has all except for a few cases been rectified. However, there are two other reasons why an individual’s record may not be found on Sentinel:

  1. Network Rail are currently unable to create individuals in Sentinel until after a Pre‐ Sponsorship Competence Specific Medical/D&A is undertaken. They have special arrangements at the moment with their Providers around this.
  2. There are train and freight operating companies and other organisations who align their medical standards to Network Rail and have used Wilsons certificates in the past to have the results of their staff recorded because it matched their requirements. However, unless they ask for a Network Rail or Sentinel Competence Medical/D&A their results do not need to go onto Sentinel. You can determine if any of their candidate’s results need to go onto Sentinel at the booking process. Many Providers have simply agreed their own templates with these types of customers to accommodate their requirements if results do not need to go on Sentinel. Please ensure that you check with your customer as to where the results are to be recorded.

What's next for Sentinel?

The purpose of Sentinel is to enhance people safety by knowing who is working on the infrastructure, that they are competent, medically fit and have the authority to do so.

Introducing Phase Two

In the coming year further enhancements to Sentinel are being collaboratively developed by Network Rail, the rail industry and with relevant trade unions to deliver the solution where the most effective safety enhancements can be delivered within a reasonable timescale. Sentinel has the potential to inform when and where work is carried out and to record key events such as competence usage and reduce paperwork underpinning our promise of Safer, Smarter, Simpler. Target date for starting roll out is Autumn 2014.

We will run trials of the new enhancements to Sentinel in two rail environments – Anglia Route for our Network Operations; and London North Western (North) for our Infrastructure Projects business during August 2014. We will keep you updated on how these trials develop over the coming months.

More of your questions

I wonder if you could help clear this matter up, regarding the sentinel scheme rules which state D&A’s now have to be undertaken every 3 months, in order to be sponsorship. Your sentinel scheme rules clearly state that it is 3 months however your team are now telling us its every 12 weeks. As I’m sure you understand this makes a big difference when calculating the period between two sets of dates. We have calculated from the 16/10/2013 would be 16/01/2014, however we are now unable to sponsor a worker as we have be informed it would of expired on the 08/01/2014.

Please can you clarify what the actually rules are regarding this. As this may need to be amended to make it clearer in your sentinel scheme rules, to avoid further confusion.
There has been a difference in what the Sentinel Scheme Rules state, 3 months, and what the Sentinel system has implemented, 12 weeks, this does lead to a few days difference. We have clarified the rule – it is 3 months and the system will be altered accordingly.

 

06.01.2014 - Latest updates

The new Sentinel system has now been live for everyone for more than three months; with cards now issued to almost all every eligible worker in the rail industry. It is now mandatory to hold and present a new Sentinel card when working on or near the rail infrastructure. The new card allows the authentication of all workers when they arrive at the work site. More functionality will be added to the card and the system that supports it in the coming months.

If you haven’t already done this, take some time to explore the site. There is plenty of background information on this website to get you started, including a training guide and other support materials. Click on Support for You and Get Started to learn more.

To check out your record as a Sentinel cardholder, you can access mySentinel.

 

27.11.2013 - Latest updates

New cards

At the moment, there is no backlog of new Sentinel cards. All new cards ordered should be delivered to sponsors within 48 hours.

Previously, we have communicated that there may be a backlog during transition and that cards could take longer then 48 hours to be processed and distributed as we are managing a process that can produce 1500 cards per day, as well as, delivering cards to a population of 66,000 individuals so it was likely that there would be a backlog at some stage. We have had a backlog issue which is now resolved.

If you experience any card delivery delays, please contact the Helpdesk, who will investigate and resolve the issue.

TVPs

We introduced some changes with the Track Visitor Permit (TVP) process on the Sentinel system. So when a TVP is requested it associates you with a sponsor for the duration of the TVP.

We have found a bug in the system which means it is not removing this association after the TVP has expired. It is not possible for another sponsor to generate a TVP for the individual (or indeed sponsor them) until the previous sponsorship is removed. Until this issue is fixed you need to de-sponsor anyone you provide a TVP for when the duration of the TVP expires.

Roles & Responsibilities

My colleagues are still unclear as to who is responsible for what in new Sentinel. In short, who does what?

The Sponsor
The Sponsor is responsible for the individual’s personal data including:

The uploading, updating or processing of this data will be done by the designated administrator at the given sponsor (at Network Rail this would be Assessment in the Line Co-ordinators).

Trainers and Assessors
Trainers and Assessors are responsible for training and assessment awarding only;/p>

Network Rail Trainers and Assessors are responsible for arranging for ORACLE to be updated with training and assessment records for NR Employees and for arranging for SENTINEL to be updated training and assessment records for non NR employees that they have trained/assessed.

Network Rail Managers and AiTL Coordinators are responsible for updating ORACLE with assessment records for NR Employees.

External Trainers and Assessors are responsible for arranging for SENTINEL to be updated for training and assessment for non-Network Rail employees and for advising Network Rail HRSS of training and assessment records updates that are required NR Employees. HRSS are responsible updating ORACLE with training and assessment records for externally delivered training.

NSARE
NSARE are responsible for Trainer and Assessor capabilities but not for Welding, E&P, Signal Sighting and Loading (Network Rail Training Delivery Specialists manage these). If you need to contact a Network rail Training Delivery Specialist, please use the Helpdesk.

Occupational health providers
Occupational heath providers are responsible for processing and logging drugs and alcohol (D&A) and medicals of individuals.

Learning support
Today I had a problem whereby I was informed that two  of our staff were still classed as requiring learning support completion during PTS refresher training, and I had to complete the event even though they had been PTS trained since 2009. Should other sponsors check their records,  in case it is a common problem? If a COSS spotted a PTS holder working without learning support being completed this could result in the individual being turned away from site, because they could be:

Where we have transferred over records from NCCA and there was no learning support event recorded the new Sentinel system will now be showing the Green Square on these individuals. In these instances a sponsor needs to log the learning support event against the individual to remove the Green Square, this will rectify the issue.

 

07.11.2013 - Common questions

With the new Sentinel card system now up and running there are questions that are frequently posed to the various Helpdesk support teams as well as via the Sentinel website. We have collated the most common questions and can now respond with answers below.

Cardholders

I haven’t received my new Sentinel card yet. When can I expect it?
Card delivery takes 3-4 days. Check when your Sponsor requested the card and if it was more than 4 days ago, please contact the Mitec Helpdesk on 0330 726 2222 or sentinel@mitie.com.

I have been told I do not have a valid D&A for my current Sponsor. What does this mean?
When a Sponsor takes on an individual they must have had a D&A test in the last 12 months. If the last D&A was more than 12 months before the Sponsor started Sponsoring the individual then they will need to have another D&A

I think my Primary Sponsor has ceased trading, how to I get released from their Sponsorship?
You should attempt to contact them first and if you do not get a response, email sentinel@mitie.com with the details of the company that has ceased trading and your Sentinel number and they will arrange for that Sponsor to be removed once they have confirmed that the company is no longer trading. Your new Sponsor can then become your Primary Sponsor.

When can I log into mySentinel and where do I enter my email address?
You can log into mySentinel at mysentinel.me as soon as you have a Sentinel number. Select register and you will be asked to enter your email address.

I want to change my Primary Sponsor. How do I do this?
Contact your Primary Sponsor and ask them to de-sponsor you. Once they have done this, you need to sign a Contract of Sponsorship before your new Primary Sponsor can sponsor you.

New Sentinel is not showing all my competences which were still valid under the old scheme. Why is this?
Please send an email to sentinel@mitie.com with your name, Sentinel number and the competences that are missing. It would also be helpful to email any proof of training. The Sentinel Support Team will look into your query and will correct your records where appropriate.

Sponsors

How do I get a login to Sentinel?
If your company already has a login to Sentinel, one of your colleagues is able to create you a login. If you are a new Sponsor, please call the Sentinel Helpdesk on 0330 726 2222.

COSS Assessments being awarded then being informed IWA assessment outstanding
The Training Provider must award the IWA assessment at the same time as COSS to align the competences (when renewing COSS you renew PTS/PTS AC and IWA).

Historically the competencies have always had to align due the fact that there were a limited number of lines on the card. Also training events are run so that when you renew COSS, you renew PTS/PTS AC and IWA at the same time in the same training event. Whilst they are independent competencies (e.g. you can hold IWA without holding COSS and hold COSS without holding IWA), it makes sense for them to have the same expiry date.

The standard requirements and training events themselves have not changed. However, training providers must record that they have renewed PTS and IWA at the same time as renewing COSS, as they database no longer ‘auto‐awards’ competencies.

In the future, PTS, IWA and COSS may have different re‐certification schedules, due to work being undertaken to calculate the right frequency of assessments. Separating the competences now means we won’t have to re‐programme the database to separate the competences in the future.

How do I temporarily suspend a competence on new Sentinel?
You must be the Sponsor of that person and have a Sponsors Admin login account. If the above is true, select the individual and select Details. Now click on "Takedowns". Enter any reference number you may have and the name of the person who has authorised the take down. Select the competence to suspend and set a review date, which should be the date by which you will have investigated the incident that led to the take down. Click Save and that competence will be suspended.

Once you have completed the investigation you need to review the takedown and decide if the competence can be reinstated or if the competence should be taken down for a longer period of time.

If you have concluded that the competence needs to be taken down for a longer period of time, then you should send the justification for doing so, and a copy of the investigation report to mysentinel@networkrail.co.uk who will formally review that decision.

Card readers

How do I get a Card Reader?
Details of approved card readers can be found here. Please ensure that you only purchase one of these models.

How do I configure the Card Reader?
Details of how to configure the card readers can be found here.

Where can I find the Card Reader software?
You can download the card reader software here.

Track visitor permits

How do I get a Track Visitor's Permit?
You can contact the Site Manager, Programme Manager or the Lead Contractor managing the site who will be able to arrange one for you.

I want to create Track Visitor Permits. How do I do this?
If your job involves you creating TVPs, email sentinel@mitie.com explaining why you need access to create TVPs and they will be able to create a special account for you.

In addition to frequently asked questions, we have received queries about one or two anomalies in the system. The response to these queries is shown below.

IWA (P) and COSS
"In the old system NCCA you would be awarded if competent as (P) COSS OLP/CRP etc. Only once you completed your mentored observed practical and post-mentoring assessment would you then receive a card back with the IWA endorsed. You were unable to conduct IWA duties under probationary COSS. I am sure the system is picking up IWA automatically and awarding IWA prior to removing probationary status."

It is an interesting anomaly that you could do IWA training and have IWA on your card (subject to your 4 month assessment at which point your IWA can be suspended), however when you do a COSS course you have to be mentored for 4 months before being allowed to use IWA. As we have de-linked competencies due to potential future changes the validity periods going forward, the rules of IWA competence apply to the IWA part when you are awarded COSS and IWA at the same time. The fact that you didn’t get IWA straight away when you did a COSS course was never actually stated in the standards.

Sentinel cards for people without PTS
"We currently have 4 SSOWPs in probationary period that do not hold the PTS competency but when I have attempted to order their new sentinel card the system will not allow me to as they do not hold a valid D&A. This was not a requirement of the course which was sat in September 2013."

The competence standard has not changed, however the SSOWP’s cards issued by NCCA do not meet the rules of the new database which require everyone to hold a valid D&A/Medical to obtain a card.

At the moment we are not issuing Sentinel cards for those that hold SSOWP but who don’t hold PTS. We are reviewing the requirement for these people to hold Sentinel cards, so if you have any thoughts on this, then please let us know if you feel it is a requirement. The competence details should still be recorded on Sentinel.

 

06.09.2013 - Rollout gathering pace

The rollout of new Sentinel within Network Rail is gathering pace and this week we issued our 10,000th smartcard as part of this transition, with more and more delivery units using smartcards and handheld technology to verify individuals and improve track safety.

Wales was the first route to complete the full maintenance delivery unit rollout. Ron Murray has coordinated much of the activity from a route perspective for Wales and said: "The Wales route team decided it would be easier to deliver the new cards to the whole route in one go rather than a piecemeal approach. We worked with the central Sentinel team to make this possible and the local staff took on the delivery of the cards to the end users. The technology is excellent – one of our section managers commented it was the best thing Network Rail had done for years."

 

27.08.2013 - Information to Sponsors on new Sentinel roll-out

A letter has been sent to all Network Rail sponsors via e-mail along with a road map illustration of what sponsors need to do and when to prepare both for the new system and changes to sponsor rules. The letter is available here and the roadmap here.

 

05.08.2013 - Guidance note: Sentinel iPhone app

Background
We have found that in a very small number of instances, when authenticating an employee using the Sentinel app, a graphical error is displayed indicating the status of all competences as 'probationary' – rather than the ones that are actually probationary. This means that the individual is not authorised to work alone, when in reality they are able to do so. Clearly, this can cause confusion and has the potential to stop an individual from doing their job on that day.

The solution
The issue has now been resolved and implemented in the form of an app update. You will be notified via a pop up message on your iPhone directing you to update your Sentinel app from the Maas 360 corporate app store.

Many thanks for your patience while we worked on resolving this issue.

Andrew Littlejohns
Sentinel Enhancement Programme Team
Network Rail

 

25.07.2013 - Reminder: Please complete the Sentinel Sponsors’ Survey

With the rollout of new Sentinel now underway within Network Rail, we will soon be turning our attention towards bringing the new system to the wider rail industry. New Sentinel will be available for use across the entire rail industry from late-September 2013.

We are running a short survey to understand where you still need information, guidance and support in using new Sentinel when the people you sponsor work on the rail infrastructure. Also, it contains a question on what mobile phones your staff uses when at work – the information you give us from this question will guide us to providing you with the best apps and software to suit your business needs.

The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete, depending on your responses.

We appreciate your co-operation.

Remember, you can get all the very latest on new Sentinel from this website.

Thanks and regards,

The Sentinel Programme Team

 

25.07.2013 - New Videos available for new Sentinel

As you are aware we are updating Sentinel and rolling the system out over the next few months.

As part of our engagement and communications programme, we have put together two introductory videos, which we hope you will find useful.

These are accessible on this website in the Support For You section. Alternatively, click here to view the videos.

Kind regards,

The Sentinel Programme Team

 

24.06.2013 - Raised Signal for new Sentinel

Here you can get the very latest developments as the new Sentinel service launches over the summer.

Please bookmark us and check back regularly for the latest news.

New Sentinel will 'go live' across the London North Western Route in July, starting with our Saltley Delivery Unit, near Birmingham. The full rollout will then follow across the network.

You will hear more about the adoption of new Sentinel at Network Rail in the coming weeks and months.

We are also gearing up for rollout to the rest of the industry from September and so look out for updates about that exciting phase of new Sentinel. In the meantime please explore this site to discover more about the positive impact it will have on our industry.

New Sentinel is part of a strategy that aims to ensure that 'everyone goes home safe everyday'.

Thanks and regards,

The Sentinel Programme Team

 

28.05.2013 - Complete the Sentinel Sponsors' Survey

As you are aware we are updating Sentinel and implementing changes over the next few months.

Over the past few months we have stepped up our engagement programme, holding workshops with sponsors, medical providers and training providers, as well as a selection of frontline staff to show them the capabilities of the Sentinel system and to get their feedback, guidance and insight into how to further improve Sentinel to make it an industry-standard way of working.

To ensure we can engage with you in the most effective way, please could you complete this short survey. The responses you give will help us to understand where you still need information, guidance and support in using Sentinel when the people you sponsor work on the rail infrastructure.

The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete, depending on your responses.

We appreciate your co-operation.

Thanks and regards,

The Sentinel Enhancement Programme Team

 

13.03.2013 - Network Rail launches Sentinel

Over the past few weeks we have stepped up our inclusive engagement programme. We have held workshops with sponsors, medical and training providers, as well as with groups of frontline staff from both Network Rail and other sponsors. We've demonstrated the capabilities of the Sentinel system and recieved feedback, guidance and insight into how to further improve Sentinel to achieve an industry-standard way of working.

The Sentinel Sponsors' Briefing Days being held at Network Rail's Leadership Development Centre at Westwood, Coventry, will be attended by representatives of over 300 sponsors and will provide colleagues across the industry with a chance to ask questions and get a fuller understanding of the Sentinel system we will be introducing later this year and how it supports the overarching safety strategy for the industry.

The aim is to discuss and agree on how Sentinel will work in terms of processes and day-to-day operations, as well as advising on how best to engage with and train the people who will be directly impacted by the changes. Andrew Littlejohns, the Programme Delivery Manager for Sentinel said: "Sentinel is a service so it's vital for the success of the programme that the users get involved and tell us how the system has to look and work for them. They are the best people to tell us how to engage with their colleagues and what communications and training methods work for them. Engagement so far has been great and is much appreciated."

Feedback tells us that delegates want engagement to be continuous in the run-up to the launch of Sentinel, so more workshops and events are planned for the coming months, as well as more news and ebriefs appearing on this site. To register your interest, please contact us.