Principal Contractor’s Licence

Become an Approved Principal Contractor to Network Rail

The process for applying to be a Principal Contractor is defined in the Network Rail standard NR/L2/INI/CP0070 – Principal Contractor Licensing Scheme.

We can help you once you have had your application accepted.

Developing your System:

You will need an extended UK Rail Compliance Management System and a Network Rail sponsor.  We will explain the process and work with you to write all the documentation, transfer knowledge of how it works, help you implement and maintain the system.

Maintaining Compliance:

If you have a Principal Contractor Licence, we can help you maintain it


First step is for Achilles to conduct a core audit. This looks at management systems, safety and environmental protection arrangements, and produces an initial recommendation as to the suitability of the new company.

If favourable, one of Network Rail sector-specific supplier assurance teams carries out its own audit. Primarily a desktop-driven exercise, including a gap analysis to examine the difference between the companies actual and expected performance, this includes a site visit. Recommendations and observations are made, and the most important are mandated to be addressed before the next stage. A second audit visit, to ensure that the comments have been closed out, will, if favourable, result in the company being granted a provisional principal contractors licence.

That licence qualifies the company to tender for jobs as they come along in the normal way. It does not guarantee success, as the tendering process is carried out by the procurement department who are divorced from supplier engagement, but it does enable the company to compete.

Once a first contract has been obtained, supplier assurance will arrange to audit the delivery process on site, and, following a stringent risk review, again make recommendations and observations. These will need to be addressed during subsequent contracts until, in the assessor’s opinion, everything is satisfactory and the company is ready to become a principal contractor.

On Track Plant Operations

Network Rail require companies that provide Road Rail Vehicles (RRV’s) to hold a POS licence demonstrating the company’s has the right processes and procedures in place to ensure they can deliver the service in a safe manner and with well maintained and safe equipment. Hutton Compliance can assist you to achieve and retain your POS licence by supporting you through the POS licence process and audit.

For more information on principal contractor’s licence, please contact a member of our team by emailing: or by calling 0151 318 6200 (during normal office hours).

Opening Times: Seven Days a week – 08.00am to 18.00pm.

0151 318 6200

@ The Office 26 Thingwall Road,

Wirral, United Kingdom, CH61 3UE