FOI request detail

Correspondence between TfL and Delancey, DS2 and DP9

Request ID: FOI-2677-1920
Date published: 17 December 2019

You asked

TfL Ref: 2334-1920 Thank you for your response received on 22 November. In line with your suggestion that the scope of the request be narrowed, I am writing to request all correspondence, including attachments, sent to/from email accounts with suffixes of,,,, and since 1 October 2016 that contain any of the following keywords: 1) 'elephant and castle' 'elephant & castle' 'e&c' 2) '16/ap/4458' 3) 'TGL190331' 'LN113754' '271661' 'LN51641' Should you estimate this request would exceed the appropriate cost limit imposed by law, could you please advise what information may be available within the limit?

We answered


TfL Ref: 2677-1920

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 1 December 2019 asking for all correspondence, including attachments, sent to/from email accounts with suffixes of,,,, and since 1 October 2016 that contain any of the following keywords:

1) 'elephant and castle' 'elephant & castle' 'e&c'

2) '16/ap/4458'

3) 'TGL190331' 'LN113754' '271661' 'LN51641'

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations and TfL’s information access policy. I can confirm we do hold some of the information you require.

We are applying Regulation 12(4)(b) to your request as we believe that the request is ‘manifestly unreasonable’ because locating, extracting and collating all the information you have requested would impose unreasonable costs on us and require an unreasonable diversion of resources.

We have again ran some email searches using the criteria you have asked us to use as above and using names of some individuals within TfL who are most likely to have had involvement in communications with the organisations you’ve referred to.  The number of ‘hits’ for each search was as follows:

1) 'elephant and castle' 'elephant & castle' 'e&c' - 593

2) '16/ap/4458' - 8

3) 'TGL190331' 'LN113754' '271661' 'LN51641' – 5

We have also ran a further search on a TfL wide basis, i.e. not naming any specific individuals who may have sent or received emails from those same organisations and this produced 6,866 hits.

Essentially, the outcome of these searches is that we cannot be certain that the searches using the selected individual’s names would capture all the recorded information covered by your request. However, in any case, the work involved in reviewing all the emails identified in this search (which are likely to contain email trails and attachments within them) would impose an unreasonable burden on us. Furthermore, if we were to process your request fully it would be necessary for us to consider the information caught by the wider search to ensure that we have located all of the relevant information and then collate accordingly. This would clearly increase the processing time and resource required to complete your request. We are therefore refusing your request on the grounds these grounds.

The use of this exception is subject to a public interest test, which requires us to consider whether the public interest in applying the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. We recognise that the release of information would promote accountability and transparency in public services and also help address your particular concerns about this issue. However, the time it would take to provide the information you have requested would divert a disproportionate amount of our resources from its core functions and on balance we consider that the public interest currently favours the use of the exception.

We will consider your request again, if you are able to narrow its scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking for example by asking for specific documents or report(s). You may find it more beneficial to ask specific questions based on the recorded information we hold, rather than a very broad request for correspondence which is more likely to raise concerns around the resource required to process the request, as well as incorporate information which would be likely to be of limited value.

By their nature, email ‘fishing’ requests can generate a significant amount of information which is likely to be of very limited value and so are more likely to achieve a positive outcome if you are able to be as specific as possible as to the information you require.

In making any future request I would ask that you consider carefully what information is of most importance to you, and to take into account the guidance and advice provided by the ICO such as the “dos and don’ts” published on its website here:

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

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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