SHE Bulletin 09 - COVID razor blades

James Dyke made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Transport for London

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Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Transport for London,

On 2nd September 2021 you released an SHE Bulletin regarding claims that razor blades had been attached to the rear of posters in London. This was widely circulated in the media.

In this SHE Bulletin, there is a photo of a razor blade and a yellow COVID poster. It would appear that these photos were simply taken from another story dated 29th July 2021, and do not refer directly to this event, which you claim via the RMT, occurred in London. The incident on 29th July 2021 occurred in Wales, according to the claimant (it was not reported to the police).

I am therefore lead to believe that the photos in this SHE bulletin, and the wider content of bulletin itself, are not based on facts.

My questions for this FOI regarding this are as follows:
1. Please tell me how many copies of this SHE Bulletin were released.
2. Please provide me with more information about how you verify and "fact-check" claims made in this and all SHE Bulletins (if relevant).
3. Please tell me more about your regulatory standards regarding SHE Bulletins.

I am not looking for sensitive or privileged information.

Yours faithfully,

James Dyke

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Dyke

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1225-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 9 September 2021 asking for
information about the SHE bulletin regarding reports of razor blades
attached to posters.

 

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

 

A response will be sent to you by 6 October 2021. 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]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk 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

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, Transport for London

3 Atodiad

Dear Mr Dyke

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1225-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 9 September 2021 asking for
information about the SHE bulletin regarding reports of razor blades
attached to posters.

 

We act urgently to remove unauthorised materials from our network, such as
posters, including those relating to the pandemic. The safety of our
customers and colleagues is paramount and we issued guidance to our staff
on how to remove them safely after reports of instances outside of our
network of razor blades being attached to the back of such materials. We
are not aware of any instances of razor blades being attached to the back
of such materials on our network and there have been very few instances of
unauthorised adverts and materials relating to the pandemic more widely.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we do hold the information you require. You asked:

 

 1. Please tell me how many copies of this SHE Bulletin were released

 

The SHE Alert and Bulletin is circulated via email to a distribution list
comprising approximately 1,000 email addresses, the vast majority of whom
are managers. Recipient managers are then responsible for cascading the
information as necessary, and in many cases they will print out copies for
display on noticeboards. The cascade process will include the provision of
the information to non-TfL employees with whom we work.

 

 2. Please provide me with more information about how you verify and
"fact-check" claims made in this and all SHE Bulletins (if relevant)
 3. Please tell me more about your regulatory standards regarding SHE
Bulletins

 

The chain of events in respect of this particular bulletin was that
colleagues at Mitie – who are contractors for us as well as various other
companies – forwarded a copy of a safety bulletin on this topic that they
had prepared for their staff. Please find attached a copy of our bulletin,
which is similar to the one issued by Mitie (also attached).

 

The Mitie safety bulletin was received by a senior manager in Surface
Transport, who forwarded to SHE requesting that it be circulated further.
Our own in-house version was then prepared and circulated to across TfL
for comment (representing all the different business areas). The final
version was then signed off by a senior manager, before final sign-off by
the Chief Safety, Health & Environment Officer. We did not seek
independent verification of the content of Mitie’s bulletin because in the
circumstances it was not necessary: Mitie is a trusted contractor with
whom we have a long-standing relationship, and we would have had no reason
to doubt what they were saying in their bulletin, there had also been
national press coverage regarding this issue.

 

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

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Transport for London,

Thank you for providing this information, it was partially useful.

However, I politely draw attention to your statement:
"Mitie is a trusted contractor with whom we have a long-standing relationship, and we would have had no reason to doubt what they were saying in their bulletin, there had also been national press coverage regarding this issue."

There is clearly some confusion here, as I am referring to the original incident, which was first report during July 2021. It was then syndicated widely in the national media. Strangely, the *same* story seems to have made a second round in the national media several months later (September 2021).

Examples:
https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2021-07-2... - July 2021
https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-anti... - September 2021

As you will note, this is an identical incident, not a separate one.

My FOI request is related to the original claims made in/around July 2021. I apologise if that was not clear, but I assumed it was obvious. Therefore your statement that 'there had also been national press coverage regarding this issue' is false as it could be said that TfL in fact 'created' the original press coverage by circulating this SHE Bulletin. Can you please repeat this FOI request with this in mind?

Yours faithfully,

James Dyke

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Dyke

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1549-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 19 October 2021 asking for further
information about the SHE bulletin issued in July 2021 regarding reports
of razor blades attached to posters.

 

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

 

A response will be sent to you by 15 November 2021. 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]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk 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

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, Transport for London

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Dyke

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1549-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 19 October 2021 asking for further
information about the SHE bulletin issued in September 2021 regarding
reports of razor blades attached to posters.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we do hold the information you require. You asked:

 

There is clearly some confusion here, as I am referring to the original
incident, which was first report during July 2021.

 

To confirm, our Bulletin (we have produced only one on this topic) was
circulated on 2 September 2021 in response to our having been alerted by
Mitie to its own safety bulletin. The Mitie safety bulletin (dated ‘August
2021’) was prompted by the incident in Wales.

 

It was then syndicated widely in the national media. Strangely, the *same*
story seems to have made a second round in the national media several
months later (September 2021).

Examples:

[1]www.itv.com/news/wales/2021-07-29/woman-cuts-hand-after-removing-anti-mask-poster-with-razor-hidden-behind
- July 2021               

[2]www.news.sky.com/story/covid-19-anti-vaccine-posters-found-with-razor-blades-attached-to-back-of-them-to-cut-people-as-they-are-taken-down-union-says-12402796
- September 2021

 

As you will note, this is an identical incident, not a separate one.

 

My FOI request is related to the original claims made in/around July 2021.
I apologise if that was not clear, but I assumed it was obvious.

 

Therefore your statement that 'there had also been national press coverage
regarding this issue' is false as it could be said that TfL in fact
'created' the original press coverage by circulating this SHE Bulletin.
Can you please repeat this FOI request with this in mind?

 

Our bulletin was issued on 2 September, by which point there had been
media coverage of the incident in Wales. The press coverage in July could
not have been prompted by the circulation of our safety bulletin as it had
not at that point in time been circulated.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for 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

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir