FOI request detail

Email inbox covid19 and toilet facilities

Request ID: FOI-1082-2021
Date published: 30 September 2020

You asked

Dear Transport for London, Please can you tell me how many emails was recieved between March 16 2020 to date: [email protected] and how many emails were actioned? How many emails on below recieved in regards to toilets on [email protected] and how many emaila were acitoned? Please can you also tell me for both how many emails were picture attachments attached of the total emails. Please list all job reference number and dates for all actions.

We answered

TfL Ref 1082-2021

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 14 September 2020 asking for information about volumes of emails sent to our [email protected] and [email protected] email boxes.

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

You asked:

  • How many emails was received between March 16 2020 to date: to the [email protected] email address and how many emails were actioned; how many of the emails included pictures; list all job references and dates for all actions
  • How many emails on below received in regards to toilets on [email protected], and how many emails were actioned; how many of the emails included pictures; list all job references and dates for all actions

Unfortunately, to provide the information you have requested would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

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 the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.

We have estimated that it would significantly exceed the cost limit to provide a response to your current request.  The Asset Operations Response Desk Buses inbox receives approximately 420 emails a month, so this equates to around 2400 emails over the period you’ve asked about just for this inbox.  It would therefore significantly exceed the cost limit to manually go through each email and to identify and extract those related to toilet facilities, and those which included picture attachments for this part of your request alone.    In addition, there is not a specific report that we can run from our systems that will show all the job references and action dates - this again would have to be done manually and would take a significant amount of additional time to achieve.

To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. If you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act allows you to request recorded information held by us. You should identify the information that you want as clearly and concisely as you can, specifying the types of document that you are looking for. You might also consider limiting your request to a particular period of time, geographical area or specific departments of the organisation.

We can say that in relation to the [email protected] email box, we received 57 emails in the period you have asked about.  Of these 57 emails, around seven which related to bus staff access to London Underground toilets were sent to London Underground to look into further. The remaining 50 or so others were forwarded to the Asset Operations Response Desk Buses inbox. 12 of the 57 emails contained picture attachments or images. For this inbox, job ref numbers are not used nor are dates recorded for emails received.  

Generally,  issues regarding toilets are received to the TfL Response Desk by a number of methods, which includes the [email protected], other email inboxes, along with telephone referrals and reports received direct from TfL staff through a reporting system called Cognito.  When these reports are received, they are then logged as tasks in a central operational system. It is likely that we can provide a report that shows the number of these tasks raised in relation to toilets for a similar time period to the one you’ve asked about if you submit a new request asking for this information. We can also try and provide you with information if there is a single specific toilet facilities location that if of particular interest to you.

Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, we do not have to answer your question if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at the time of your request.

If you are considering submitting a further FOI request please think carefully about whether the request is essential at this current time, as answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. Where requests are made, please note that our response time may be impacted by the current situation.

Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive your revised request.

In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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