FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-2255-1617
Date published: 26 April 2017

You asked

Last year TfL committed to establishing an advertising steering committee. Can you please release all minutes, transcripts and meeting papers for this committee.

We answered


Thank you for your two requests received by Transport for London (TfL) on 16 February 2017 asking for all minutes, transcripts and meeting papers for the advertising steering committee and also asking for all correspondence between TfL and the Mayor's office concerning the advertising steering committee. I apologise for the delay in replying.


Your requests have 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.


The Advertising Steering Group gives guidance on our implementation of our Advertising Policy (published at: and has looked at advertising on our network since the Advertising Policy was updated in July 2016.


The Group met for the first time on 17 February 2017 and also on an informal basis in January 2017, so that members could meet each other beforehand.


The agenda and minutes of the meeting have now been published and are available at:  and:


The minutes are listed as ‘draft’ as they will be accepted as ‘final’ at the next meeting expected to be held in July.


Please also find attached a Pdf containing the emails between TfL and the Mayor’s office concerning the advertising steering committee, and the following items in relation to the meeting of 17 February 2017:


Copy of Agenda

Copy of Terms of Reference

Presentation from the informal meeting of the group on 4 January 2017

Briefing Pack: The updated TfL Advertising Policy and complaints since its introduction

Rejected advertisements

Amended and controversial ads

JCDecaux presentation

Exterion Media presentation part 1

Exterion Media presentation part 2


We are not obliged to provide copies of rejected images because they are subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 41 of the FOI Act (information provided in confidence).


In this instance the exemption has been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested would breach our agreement with our media partners including Schedule 15 of our Advertising Partnership Agreement (APA). The information is not in the public domain and there was no suggestion in the APA that the information would be made public. Rejected advertisements and previous versions of amended advertisements are not images owned by TfL.  Copy referrals are deemed to be Reserved Information under Schedule 15 of our APA with our media partners. Therefore we consider that disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence.


Since section 41 confers an absolute exemption, it is not necessary to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. Even if section 41 did not confer absolute exemption, there would be no special public interest in disclosure of this information that would justify a breach of confidence in this case.


In accordance with the FOI Act we are also not obliged to supply copies of rejected images, or identify the advertiser concerned, as this information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2).


In this instance the exemption has been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested would be likely to harm our commercial interests.


The withheld information contains images that have been rejected for use in advertisements in line with our Advertising Policy.  Advertisers will be reticent to advertise with us if they know rejected images or advertisements could be published. Likewise, it may put off advertisers submitting any material to us earlier in the process and us supporting them to produce more appropriate advertisements. This neither suits our commercial interests or the production of appropriate advertising in line with the Advertising Policy.


Whilst we recognise that there will be some interest in the rejected images, we consider that even if the disclosure did not lead to action for breach of confidence, it would damage our commercial interests and our ability to engage with advertising companies in the future. We do not consider that there are any other strong public interest factors in favour of disclosure.


The use of s43(2) exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. Whilst we recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, in this instance the release of the requested information would have a detrimental effect on our ability to negotiate, therefore adversely affecting our potential to secure value for public money. This detriment outweighs the general public interest in disclosure of the requested information.


Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) some personal data has been withheld, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’.


If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, 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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