FOI request detail

Trams - Minutes of safety meetings

Request ID: FOI-1298-1718
Date published: 03 October 2017

You asked

Please can I submit an FOI for the following information: - The minutes of meetings between TfL staff and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) about safety on the tram network. Please can I have them from the start of January 2016 to today’s date.

We answered

Our Ref: FOI-1266-1718 / FOI-1298-1718

Thank you for your requests received on 25 and 31 August 2017 asking for further information about tram speed monitoring and the minutes of meetings between TfL staff and Tram Operations Limited (TOL).

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 hold some of the information you require. You asked, in your email of 25 August:

Just to check on this line – Speed monitoring before the tram derailment on 9 November 2016 was carried out once every four weeks, the results of which – including any disciplinary action, was not routinely reported to us. Therefore we do not hold the equivalent of the post-9 November dataset previously disclosed.

Is that speed monitoring by Tram Operations Limited or by TfL too? Does TfL have any datasets at all for speeding instances before November 9?

You also made a similar query to our Press Office:

In the most recent FOI, which came back to me this morning, TfL are saying speed monitoring before the tram crash was carried out every four weeks, and the results, including disciplinary action, were not routinely reported to TfL. Is this correct?

Can you answer the follow questions in regards to this:

· In addition, was there any other way for TfL to monitor speeding instances by drivers?

Speed monitoring is carried out by TOL and then reported to us (as described in our replies to your earlier FOI requests, FOI-0780-1718 and FOI-1000-1718) and information about speeding instances before 9 November 2016 and information regarding the monitoring at that time of speeding incidents are exempt from disclosure as this information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under Section 31(1)(g) of the FOI Act.

As previously advised, this exemption relates to information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes listed in subsection 31(2) of the FOI Act. In this instance, the relevant purposes are 31(2)(c) ‘the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise’; 2(e), ‘the purpose of ascertaining the cause of an accident’; 2(i) ‘the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work’ and 2(j) ‘the purpose of protecting persons other than persons at work against risk to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the actions of persons at work’. The public authorities concerned are the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), the British Transport Police (BTP) and ourselves, as we are still currently conducting investigations into the incident of 9 November.

In your e-mail to the Press Office you also asked:

The other point in this FOI is how the ORR are investigating whether the safety risk system was adequate. Can you tell me exactly what the safety risk system is and how this works in practise?

Your e-mail of 31 August 2017 also requested:

The minutes of meetings between TfL staff and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) about safety on the tram network (January 2016 to present)

Information regarding the tram network’s safety risk system is also exempt under section 31(1)(g). The meetings referred to in your request of 31 August are integral to how that system operates.

The ORR's investigation includes the tram network's safety management system and therefore disclosure of the requested information could prejudice the ORR’s task of establishing whether the system in place was adequate and, for instance, took account of speeding incidents. The requested information will therefore be of relevance to their investigation and could be of relevance to the other investigations as they progress. The release of this information to the wider public at this time would be prejudicial to the investigators’ ability to gather, assess and validate information which they require in order to complete their work.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise that there is considerable public interest in the safe operation of the tram network and, in particular, in the events of 9 November and the factors that may have contributed to the incident. We recognise that transparency and public access to information will help satisfy that interest. At the same time we consider that this public interest will be largely met by the RAIB, who will publish a report on completion of their investigation and have already published an interim report, as well as the final, public, outcome of the investigations by the ORR and the BTP.

There is also a considerable public interest in ensuring that the investigations underway are able to reach conclusions, and recommend appropriate actions, that take full account of all available material. The publication of information that is under consideration by the investigators, and which may contribute to speculation about the causes of the crash, would be likely to prejudice the timely conclusion of those investigations and any proceedings that may arise from them. On balance, and taking into account the fact that the current investigations remain live, we consider that the public interest supports the application of the exemption in this case. The RAIB have stated that their investigation is nearing completion and hope to publish their report before the end of the year.

The following questions are not covered under FOI as they are not requests for recorded information:

- When it refers to speed monitoring, is that solely by TOL or does TfL have a responsibility to carry out speed checks too?
- How is TfL able to hold contractor TOL to account if the data was never given to TfL by TOL?

A separate response has been provided to you by our Press Office on these issues.

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

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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