Enforceable Voluntary Undertakings (EVUs) are formal written undertakings from a person in relation to a contravention or alleged contravention of the law.
Entering into an EVU reflects a high level and binding commitment to correct a matter that, if accepted, becomes a legally binding document. An EVU gives the rail transport operator an opportunity to resolve the issues in a timely manner and format that is agreed. They are completely voluntary and must be initiated by the rail transport operator.
As it may offer an alternative to enforcement actions, such as prosecution or suspension, an EVU will not be accepted lightly. For these reasons they will only be considered by ONRSR where proposed by the person accountable for the organisation (the ‘Accountable Person’ is normally the Chief Executive or Managing Director). ONRSR is allowed to accept EVUs under Section 251 of the Rail Safety National Law.
In accordance with section 252(2) of the RSNL, a Notice of Decision to Accept an Enforceable Voluntary Undertaking (Rail Safety Undertaking) and the reasons for that decision must be published on the Register.
An EVU may contain a broad range of immediate actions and other commitments on the part of the person, including, for example:
They should include processes for reporting to ONRSR on compliance with the EVU.
Ultimately the EVU must address the issues in a way that corrects the breach and prevents the breach occurring again.
Importantly a rail safety undertaking cannot be accepted by a rail safety officer. They also cannot be accepted for contravention, or alleged contravention, of the RSNL which is a Category 1 offence, as defined in section 58 of the RSNL (this is a failure to comply with safety duty – reckless conduct).