Regular Audits of the Safety Management Systems of TfL's Bus Operators, 2016 and 2017
Request ID: FOI-2507-1718
Date published: 01 March 2018
In his response to Question 2017/4245 "Near-miss Collision Reporting" the Mayor of London states: "TfL regularly audits the safety management systems of bus operators to ensure they have processes in place to fulfil its expectations including the reporting of safety incidents."
For 2016 and 2017, please provide me with copies of all the "regular" audits TfL has conducted of the safety management systems of bus operators with a particular emphasis on any material relating to near miss collision reporting.
Our Ref: FOI-2470-1718 / FOI-2471-1718 / FOI-2472-1718 / FOI-2473-1718 / FOI-2503-1718 / FOI-2504-1718 / FOI-2506-1718 / FOI-2507-1718
Thank you for your e-mails asking for various pieces of information about FirstGroup and bus safety.
Your requests have been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy.
Our records show that you have made 11 FOI requests to TfL in a continuous period of 51 working days (excluding bank holidays) up to and including the date of your most recent requests of 1 December 2017. Because of this we are now applying an aggregate cost limit to the outstanding requests which we received from you between 29 November 2017 and 1 December 2017, inclusive.
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 of £450 provided for in the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.
We have estimated that, to date, it has cost £350 to provide a response to your earlier requests, equating to an estimated 14 hours spent locating, retrieving and compiling the information you requested. We believe to respond to your remaining current requests would require at least 15 hours to retrieve, assess and compile the information at a further cost of £450 totalling 29 hours of work at an overall cost of £725.
As this overall cost exceeds the £450 limit, we are therefore applying Regulation 5(1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, which permits us to take into account requests made by the same person which relate, to any extent, to the same or similar information.
Please note any further requests that we receive within a 60 working day timeframe may also be subject to consideration under Section 12 of FOI.
While we appreciate there is a high level of interest in bus and tram safety, there is a small team available to respond to these requests and the burden placed on them has to be balanced with their substantive roles. To help bring the cost of responding to your requests within the £450 limit, you may wish to prioritise the information you have requested and make a single request on a topic, rather than several requests in a short period of time.
With regard to FOI-2503-1718, ‘Item 33/06/17 of the Minutes of the 26 June 2017 Meeting of the Safety, Sustainability and Human Resources Panel states "An audit of FirstGroup’s fatigue management processes had taken place, these were found to be satisfactory and did not give rise to any concerns." Please provide me with a copy of this audit and all correspondence and documentation associated with it.’ Whilst this has been included in our aggregate cost estimation, we can advise that this information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 31(1)(g).
This information is exempt from disclosure as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 31(1)(g) of the FOI Act, which 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 RAIB, the British Transport Police (BTP), the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) and ourselves, all of whom are currently conducting investigations into the tram incident at Sandilands on 9 November 2016.
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 have just published their findings, and through the final, public, outcome of the investigations by the ORR and 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.
We are still processing two of your outstanding requests - FOI-1943-1718 and FOI-1967-1718. A response to these requests will be sent as soon as possible.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
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