FOI request detail

Crossrail Lift and Escalator Contract

Request ID: FOI-1816-2021
Date published: 08 January 2021

You asked

Please provide a copy of the contract (main terms and conditions and, if NEC Forms of Contract then, the completed Contract Data Parts 1 and 2 for the provision of lifts and escalators for the Crossrail Project. It is understood that these contracts were with Kone and Otis.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-1816-2021

Thank you for your request received on 10 December 2020 asking for information about the contracts for the Crossrail lift and escalators.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) 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 as 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 and the delivery of Crossrail, 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.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance states that one of the indicators of a request which may fall under section 14(1) is that it “appears to be part of a completely random approach, lacks any clear focus, or seems to have been solely designed for the purpose of ‘fishing’ for information without any idea of what might be revealed.”

The ICO guidance provides the following examples of a ‘fishing expedition’ request which may fall under section 14(1) if it:

·         Imposes a burden by obliging the authority to sift through a substantial volume of information to isolate and extract the relevant details;
·         Encompasses information which is only of limited value because of the wide scope of the request;
·         Creates a burden by requiring the authority to spend a considerable amount of time considering any exemptions and redactions.

Our view is that all three of these examples apply in this instance. Additionally, Paragraph 71 of the guidance on section 14(1) ( states the following:

71.       However, we consider there to be a high threshold for refusing a request on such grounds. This means that an authority is most likely to have a viable case where:
• The requester has asked for a substantial volume of information AND
• The authority has real concerns about potentially exempt information, which it will be able to substantiate if asked to do so by the ICO AND
• Any potentially exempt information cannot easily be isolated because it is scattered throughout the requested material

We further consider that all of these three elements are met.

Please note that there are different contracts for each station as the contracts were let by the Tier 1 contractors, with both Otis and Kone, and not Crossrail. In addition to the contracts with Kone and Otis, the lifts and escalators at Canary Wharf were provided by Schindler. The Contract Data will be specific to each station and there may also be Supplemental Agreements that are specific to each contract. We estimate that there will be 600+ pages for each station. While the contracts are likely to be very similar each of these contracts would have to be reviewed and any personal data redacted, alongside any other potentially exempt material.

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 section 14 of the FOI Act. If you would like to re-submit a narrower request we will consider it. For example, we could provide the contract for one station. They will all be quite similar although Contract Data Part 1 and Part 2 will vary from station to station. A narrow request such as this is less likely to raise concerns about the disproportionate effort required to answer it.

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

Yours sincerely

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

[email protected]

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