Our ref: FOI-2636-1617 & FOI-0089-1718
Thank you for your requests received on 27 March and 12 April 2017 asking for information about Uber, our compliance inspections and documentation relating to these inspections. I am sorry for the delay in replying.
Your requests have been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.
Effective and strong regulation of the taxi and private hire industry is essential to maintaining public safety. As the regulatory and licensing authority in London, TfL keeps all operator licences under review to ensure they continue to meet the standards required for licensing in London.
I can confirm that TfL’s systems show that 10 compliance inspections have taken place at Uber’s headquarters in the last four years, these include license variation inspections, which are carried out when there is a change in premises or a significant change in the systems used by an operator.
Uber have satisfied regulatory requirements, and like all private hire operators, are subject to ongoing tests and inspections to ensure that they remain compliant.
During a compliance inspection compliance officers record their observations onto a handheld device. This automatically generates a score on the taxi and private hire licensing system (TOLA), if an Inspection results in a ‘non-compliant’ finding these are passed on for further investigation so that a decision can be taken on what action to take.
Appendices 1 to 10, attached, show the record held on the TOLA system for each of the 10 Inspections on Uber and are listed in date order for ease.
In accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the names of individuals have been removed from the attached documents, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’.
We have also redacted Uber’s phone number from the inspection reports as it is no longer used by Uber and may now be used by another business. Release of this number to the general public could potentially generate a significant number of calls to that telephone number which would be likely to affect their ability to conduct their business.
The points tally for each inspection is shown in the ‘score’ box, with a zero indicating that licensing requirements were fully matched.
The overall score given for an inspection results in a corresponding ‘category’ which is also shown. These show the outcomes of the inspection, as follows:
Fully matches licensing requirements.
Matches the majority of licensing requirements with a few minor discrepancies.
Matches a majority of licensing requirements, but has some additional omissions.
Generally matches the majority of licensing requirements, but has some key additional omissions.
Matches a minimum of licensing requirements and has some important omissions.
Does Not Match licensing requirements.
Does Not Match licensing requirements - serious non-compliant issue.
Please note that in Appendix 8, following further investigation into the issues identified, TfL were satisfied that the operator took all reasonable steps to mitigate and respond to the issues and that the investigation concluded that the non-compliance identified was outside of the operators control. No further action was recommended as a result of this.
In addition to the 10 inspections recorded on the TOLA licensing system, there may have been other compliance visits to the operator which are not captured on the system as these were undertaken when compliance officers were transitioning to new handheld devices, which meant all compliance inspections for a period of time had to be manually recorded. To identify this information we would need to manually check each officer’s diary and then cross reference this information against archived files. This would take an excessive amount of time, and under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.
If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London