Governance of the programme

The Suicide Prevention Duty Holders Group (SPDHG)

The rail industry’s suicide prevention programme is directly governed by a cross industry steering group known as the Suicide Prevention Duty Holders Group (SPDHG) which oversees management and delivery of the programme.

This group is made up of representatives from those organisations within the industry that have responsibility for preventing suicide on the railway, namely:

  • Train Operators
  • Network Rail
  • The British Transport Police (BTP)


The Groups aims are to reduce the:

  • Potential for suicide on the rail network
  • Impact of suicide events on staff and customers through trauma management and support
  • Disruption and delay caused by fatalities

To support the SPDHG in their delivery of those aims are two sub-groups:

The Rail Industry Suicide Stakeholder Group (RISSG)

A broad coalition of all industry stakeholders that have an interest in preventing suicides on the railway, including Train Operators, Trade Unions, Public Health England and the Department for Transport.

The National Suicide Prevention Working Group (NSPWG)

This group comprises of representatives from the industry’s local administrative centres (Network Rail Regions and Train Operators) who manage suicide prevention on a day-to-day basis, namely Suicide Prevention Plan Coordinators (SPPCs). In part to achieve this they take the outputs of the SPDHG and RISSG and look to deploy them in their discrete areas.

The ultimate goal of the SPDHG, RISSG and NSPWG is to collectively reduce suicides on the railway and the trauma associated with these events.

The Central Suicide Prevention Team

The Central Suicide Prevention Team (CSPT) is a national team of five working on behalf of the rail industry. The long-term strategic aim of the CSPT is to reduce suicides on the railways and to support Network Rail Regions and Train Operators in doing so. Although the CSPT sits centrally within the programme, it does not govern Network Rail Regions or Train Operators, each of which act as independent organisations.

National groups

The outputs of the SPDHG are reviewed by two national groups representing all rail industry partners. They are:

The National Task Force (NTF) which is committed to improving punctuality on the railway

System Safety Risk Group (SSRG) led by the RSSB Board which considers all railway risk and how they are being managed by individual stakeholders and the industry collectively

Partners of the programme

From the outset of the programme Samaritans have partnered the industry in its suicide prevention work. A second partnership was formed in 2013 with a specialist British Transport Police Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Unit.

British Transport Police (BTP)

The BTP protect the millions of people who use the railway in England, Scotland and Wales every year.

More and more, they are responding to people whose mental health is at breaking point. The BTP help them to access support and take the first steps on the road to recovery.

The BTP’s Public Protection and Vulnerability Unit as well as the Mental Health teams bring together police officers and staff and psychiatric medical professionals. They signpost people to support and put in place suicide prevention plans for those who are vulnerable. They also provide support to families of those who have tried to harm themselves. When a life-saving intervention is made on the railway, the BTP will help the individual in crisis to access support and take the first steps on the road to recovery.


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