FOI request detail

Email correspondence

Request ID: FOI-0934-1718
Date published: 13 September 2017

You asked

Please could you arrange for searches to be conducted against Ms Chapman's and Mr Robinson's email accounts for the terms set out below and for the period 1 June 2016 until the present day. • New module • Enhanced topographical • Enhanced topo • Enhanced TSA

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-0934-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 18 July 2017 asking for information about correspondence held by Helen Chapman and Graham Robinson.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.

However, we are refusing your request under section 14(1) of the Act. After reviewing a sample of our records we consider that providing the requested information would place an unreasonable burden on us. Our principal duty is to provide an effective transport service for London and we consider that answering this request would represent a disproportionate effort. It would be a significant distraction from our work managing the TfL network, requiring re-allocation of already limited resources and placing an unacceptable burden on a small number of personnel. We do wish to clarify that whilst we consider that your request falls under section 14(1) of the FOI Act, this does not reflect a conclusion that it has been your intention to deliberately place an undue burden on our resources.

A search of our archived emails has found that there are 364 emails that are caught by the scope of your request by virtue of the fact they are held by the named individuals and contain one of more of the suggested keywords. Of those 364 emails, a significant number are likely to be email chains, whilst 236 emails contain one or more documents attached which would also be caught by your request and therefore require review. Some of the hits are likely to be duplicates, due to emails being repeated within email chains, as well as emails being forwarded internally for discussion during this time period. Therefore the actual number of original emails covered by your request will be a sub-set of these hits

A review of these emails and their associated documents has found that these emails vary on subject matter considerably, including (but not limited to) general staff management, complex internal financial information, discussion around social media activity, staff recruitment and legally privileged discussion.

In order to process this request, we would need to manually review each of these emails and documents one by one. Given the varying nature of the emails caught by your request, it is likely that it would be necessary to spend at least some time, and possibly a significant amount of time, considering exemptions which might be applicable to the information caught by the request, including in relation to personal data, commercial sensitivity and legal privilege. This is likely to include redacting exempt information from emails in which there is very limited public interest but which are caught by your request because they are simply emails held by those named and containing one or more of the keywords suggested.

We consider the burden of retrieving, reviewing and redacting the information would be disproportionate to the benefit of providing it. Therefore, due to the wide and unfocused scope of your request, we are refusing it under s.14 of the FOI Act. If you would like to re-submit a more focused request then we will, of course, consider it. For example, a request that includes only those emails sent by Helen Chapman (43 emails) and/or Graham Robinson (66 emails) would be less likely to raise concerns about the disproportionate effort required to answer it.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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