Berkeley Square clients UKRS Ltd have today issued this press release concerning their ongoing claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the NSAR. UKRS Ltd are challenging the decision of the RTAS scheme operator NSAR to suspend them from providing accreditation courses for rail operatives. A full copy of the press releases is below
As you are aware, UKRS Ltd has initiated legal proceedings against the NSAR in the Competition Appeal Tribunal following their decision to suspend our company after an audit that took place on 27 April 2016. That suspension has not been activated with the NSARs agreement while legal proceedings are in progress.
We are concerned that information posted on the NSAR website about this case presents a misleading impression about our situation and is inflammatory, inaccurate and designed to unfairly target ourselves to make an example of this company because we have bought this litigation in an attempt to pressurise us to withdraw the proceedings we have commenced in the CAT.
I am therefore writing to you now to set the story straight from our point of view.
On 27 April 2016 the NSAR conducted a snap audit. We were given a day's notice of their inspection. On 17 May 2016 the NSAR wrote to us stating that as a result of the audit we were to be suspended. We immediately instructed solicitors as we did not agree with the auditor’s findings and identified many mistakes in their conclusions. On the 21st of May we submitted a written appeal to UKRS which ran to 17 pages and contained several annexes and was prepared with the assistance of our lawyers.
On 8 June 2016 we attended an internal appeal hearing at UKRS's offices. While the appeal was being considered, the NSAR agreed not to activate the suspension.
On 17 June 2016 we were advised that the NSAR had rejected our appeal. They upheld this decision despite the fact that in their decision letter the NSAR recognised that some of their auditors had training needs and should attend further courses. We asked the NSAR to not to activate the suspension while we considered our position and any legal recourse open to us. On 24th June we felt we had no choice but to take legal action to protect our business and reputation and lodged an application for an emergency injunction against the suspension at the CAT.
At no point during the case before the CAT have the NSAR contested our application for an injunction. At the first hearing at the CAT on the 21 June 2016 the NSAR agreed to give an undertaking that they would not activate our suspension while the case was ongoing until a full hearing date for the injunction scheduled for yesterday, 21 July 2016.
On the 21st July we were told that the NSAR once again agreed to renew their undertaking until the next hearing in the case, when the CAT will determine a preliminary issue in late September or October 2016.
We were fully prepared to argue that the CAT should uphold our injunction at both of these hearings but, due to the undertaking given by the NSAR, have not had to do so. In law we cannot insist that the CAT rule on our application for injunction where the other side agrees to give an undertaking on the same terms.
We have bought these legal proceedings because we do not accept the results of the audit conducted on 27 April 2016.
We will pursue every legal option available to us to challenge the results of this audit and the decision made to suspend us by NSAR. Our insurers have agreed to provide us with legal expenses insurance for this purpose. We have instructed expert solicitors and barristers and are confident about the strength of our case.
We are disappointed that NSAR have seen fit to publicize the case in the manner they have. We recognise that as a result some of our customers may be reconsidering their use of our services. However, as the Managing Director of UKRS, I wish to give you my personal assurance that we will continue to deliver the quality of service that you expect of us. On a number of occasions in the past year our company has been audited by assessors independent of the NSAR. We have passed all these audits – including a NSAR audit on 11th of May 2015 conducted on behalf of NSAR by Tribal which gave us a good ranking. We passed a City and Guilds inspection in December 2015 and two RISQ audits in October 2015 and April 2016 – indeed, in that audit which took place in the same month as the NSAR audit, we received a five star grading.
We have confidence in our legal system to give us a fair hearing and recognise our justified concerns over the ability of NSAR to undertake the role of an accreditation organization, in line with best practice, and in a fair and equitable way.
MD, UKRS Ltd