This is published today by the UK government's Department for Transport (DfT). It is worth reading. See for yourself here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-brown-review-of-the-rail-franchising-programme.
It has good bits and some not so good bits and there are some areas that I don't think are clear for the reader but overall, pragmatic if unimaginative. He comes down on the side of franchising (well he would wouldn't he?) and tells the DfT to get on with it. He also suggests that the franchising process should be properly mapped out and individual franchises renewed in a considered programme to avoid peaks and troughs in workload. Blindingly obvious really. Why didn't they do it before? See Laidlaw.
What they really need in the DfT are people who understand the railway business both commercially and technically. They need to understand the railway system and its interfaces at all levels. Then perhaps we can avoid some of the really daft ideas that have come out of the organisation over the last few years - IEP for example.