FOI request detail

Elizabeth Line

Request ID: FOI-1861-1819
Date published: 31 October 2018

You asked

Hello, A Freedom of Information request to ask for email correspondence relating specifically to the delay and/or postponement of the opening of the Elizabeth Line from 1 July 2018 to 1 September 2018.

We answered

Our Ref:          FOI-1861-1819

Thank you for your e-mail received on 23 October 2018 clarifying your request for correspondence regarding the delay to the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and TfL’s information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.

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 cost over the appropriate limit to provide a response to your current request. This is because it is estimated that it would take over 18 working hours to retrieve and compile the information you have requested.

When requests for email correspondence are received the FOI Case Management team may use a search tool called Discovery Accelerator. This allows us to conduct company wide email searches using keywords, dates and email addresses. The more specific a requester can be as to what they are looking for, the more we can narrow the search and therefore stand a better chance of a more relevant or focused result. A search will then return an amount of ‘hits’ which potentially contain information relating to the search terms used. Each ‘hit’ is a single email, although that email will often consist of a chain of emails containing the search term at least once.

We have done an initial search for all emails held by TfL sent/received using the terms ‘Elizabeth Line’, ‘Crossrail’, and ‘delay’. Even with the reduced timeframe the search has produced thousands of emails. This number will include duplicates, as well as emails that may not be relevant to your request. However, we would still need to manually review all of the emails identified by the search in order to extract and collate the relevant emails. Additionally, it is likely that the search has not captured all relevant correspondence as the term ‘delay’ may not have been used in the correspondence, although the subject may be the delay to the opening. If we were to do a search using only the terms ‘Elizabeth Line’ or ‘Crossrail’ then this would likely still produce several thousand hits.

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. Due to the broad search terms a reduced timeframe is still likely to produce a large number of hits, so you may wish to refine your request by providing additional search terms. As previously advised, you may wish to also narrow your request to correspondence received/sent by senior Crossrail ( or TfL ( employees.

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 Transport for London. 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 TfL.

Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, TfL does 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.

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 feel free to contact me.

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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