First Aid courses for station staff

Lewis Western made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

I understand that Customer Service staff, particularly Customer Service Assistants, are no longer able to book on to a "First Aid at Work Level 3" or equivalent advanced first aid course, but they were able to in the past. Please note I am NOT referring to the 1 or 2 day "Emergency first aid at work" courses that staff take when joining the company, which only covers basic first aid. Assuming this information is correct, I have the following questions:

1) When was the advanced/longer First Aid course changed/removed so that Customer Service staff could no longer book on to it?

2) Why was this change made?

3) What was the cost per person and cost overall of sending staff to this course?

4) How many people are in one class and how often were these classes held?

5) Has making the advanced first aid courses available again been considered?

6) Can a staff member refuse to provide first aid assistance if they are not confident in their abilities due to their basic training not covering certain first aid circumstances you may find occur on a station which are not an immediate emergency (i.e. cardiac arrest)? Would they face any actions against them for this?

Yours faithfully,

Lewis Western

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Lewis


TfL Ref: FOI-0304-1920


Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 29
April 2019.


Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. 


A response will be sent to you by 29 May 2019.


We publish a substantial range of information on our website on subjects
including operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data,
governance and our financial performance. This includes data which is
frequently asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1] to see if this helps you.


We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2] website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.


In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.


Yours sincerely


Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer


FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London




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FOI, Transport for London

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Western,


Freedom of Information Requests


I am writing in relation to the following FOI requests which you currently
have lodged with TfL:


FOI-0210-1920 – received 17^th April 2019 – about body cameras worn by
some operational staff;

FOI-0242-1920 – received 23^rd April 2019 – about the recruitment of train

FOI-0304-1920 – received 29^th April 2019 – about first aid courses for
station staff;

FOI-0321-1920 – received 29^th April 2019 – about the use of paper towels
in staff toilets, and;

FOI-0322-1920 – received 30^th April 2019 – about the “SAP” system used at


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 cases listed above represent five out of a total of twenty-three
requests that you have submitted to TfL this calendar year (the other
eighteen of which have already been answered). The twenty-three cases
submitted this year represent an average of more than 1.27 per week (in
the 18-week period from 1^st January 2019 to 30^th April 2019 - the date
of your last request).


The five cases listed above are being refused under section 14(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act, which provides an exemption to the disclosure
of information where a request is considered to be ‘vexatious’. In
reaching this conclusion we have drawn on guidance from the Information
Commissioner’s Office (ICO), both in relation to the specific application
of section 14 and in relation to FOI-handling more generally.


On the specific application of section 14(1) we have been steered by the
ICO guidance on the use of that exemption that can be found on its website
here: [1]


You will note that this guidance includes the following advice to public


“Section 14(1) may be used in a variety of circumstances where a request,
or its impact on a public authority, cannot be justified. Whilst public
authorities should think carefully before refusing a request as vexatious
they should not regard section 14(1) as something which is only to be
applied in the most extreme circumstances”;


“Sometimes a request may be so patently unreasonable or objectionable that
it will obviously be vexatious….In cases where the issue is not clear-cut,
the key question to ask is whether the request is likely to cause a
disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or
distress…This will usually be a matter of objectively judging the evidence
of the impact on the authority and weighing this against any evidence
about the purpose and value of the request”;


“The public authority may take into account the context and history of the
request, where this is relevant”;


“The information Commissioner recognises that dealing with unreasonable
requests can place a strain on resources and get in the way of delivering
mainstream services or answering legitimate requests.”


“Section 14(1) is designed to protect public authorities by allowing them
to refuse any requests which have the potential to cause a
disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or


“…the concepts of ‘proportionality’ and ‘justification’ are central to any
consideration of whether a request is vexatious”;


The guidance includes some specific indicators to help public authorities
judge whether or not a case should be considered vexatious. This includes
the following:


“Burden on the authority: the effort required to meet the request will be
so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and resources, that
the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how
legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the requester”;


“Frequent or overlapping requests: the requester submits frequent
correspondence about the same issue or sends in new requests before the
public authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier


“Disproportionate effort: the matter being pursued by the requester is
relatively trivial and the authority would have to extend a
disproportionate amount of resources in order to meet the request.”


Considering each of your requests in isolation it is unlilkely that we
would find that any of them would meet the criteria of being ‘vexatious’.
However, the guidance from the ICO makes it clear that public authorities
should take into account the ‘context and history’ in which a request is
made, and that this will “…often be a major factor in determining whether
the request is vexatious”. This part of the guidance goes on to say that:


“In practice this means taking account of:


-       Other requests made by the requester to that public authority
(whether complied or refused).

-       The number and subject matter of those requests”, and;


“A request which would not normally be regarded as vexatious in isolation
may assume that quality once considered in context. An example of this
would be where an individual is placing a significant strain on an
authority’s resources by submitting a long and frequent series of
requests, and the most recent request, although not obviously vexatious in
itself, is contributing to that aggregated burden”.


It is this ‘aggregated burden’ that is central to our decision to apply
the exemption set out in section 14(1) in response to your requests. Given
the sheer number of requests you have submitted this year (more than one a
week – and more than any other FOI applicant to TfL so far this year) we
believe the threshold for applying section 14(1) has been met. The
cumulative effect of these requests is that it ultimately provides a
sustained burden and disruption to our colleagues across the organisation
whose principal function is the running of transport services or the
support services required to make that happen. Your requests invariably
relate to matters that are clearly of a personal interest, but not
necessarily of wider public interest. This can mean that the information
is not centrally recorded and requires us to liaise with specialist staff
in the relevant business areas.


This requires the re-allocation and diversion of already limited resources
and places a burden on a small number of personnel. We also believe that
the purpose and value of your requests is not necessarily obvious, which
brings into question whether it is a justified and proportionate use of
our time to comply.


Please be assured that our application of the section 14 exemption does
not reflect a conclusion that it has been your deliberate intention to
place an undue burden on TfL, and we will consider any future request for
information on its merits and in accordance with the requirements of the
FOI Act and the expectations of the ICO. However, 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: [2]


You will note that the table halfway down that page includes the following
advice to FOI applicants:


Do….“Give the authority ample opportunity to address any previous requests
you have made before submitting new ones”;

Don’t… “Submit frivolous or trivial requests; remember that processing any
information request involves some cost to the public purse”;

Don’t… “Disrupt a public authority by the sheer volume of information
requested. Whether you are acting alone or in concert with others, this is
a clear misuse of the Act and an abuse of your ‘right to know’”, and;

Don’t…”Deliberately ‘fish’ for information by submitting very broad or
random requests in the hope it will catch something noteworthy or
otherwise useful.”


We would therefore encourage you to prioritise any future requests around
the information that is of most importance to you to ensure that you are
able to make the best use of our resources under the FOI Act.


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


Yours sincerely,


David Wells

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London




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