Announcements

Steve Elibank made this Freedom of Information 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.

The request was refused by Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

Please provide me with an electronic copy of every audio recording used as recorded announcements on London Underground services (eg. "The next station is Finchley Central," that sort of thing), ie. the equivalent of iBus used on the Tube.

To clarify, I am not asking for a printed list of such recordings but for the actual audio files, preferably in either WAV or MP3 format.

Given the ruling of the Information Commissioner in the 'iBus' case, I would remind you that such material is most certainly covered by the Freedom of Information Act and should most definitely be released.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Elibank

 

TfL Ref:          FOI-1335-1112

 

Thank you for your e-mail received by Transport for London (TfL) on 4
January 2012 asking for a copy of the announcements used on the London
Underground.

 

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 provided to you by 1 February 2012.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
feel free to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

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Becky Bbear left an annotation ()

Steve - apologies for what is probably a really dumb question, but exactly what 'information' are you asking the authority to freely provide?

Seems like all you are asking for is free copies of the recordings - which is fine in itself but not really an FOIA request, any more than would be a request for free copies of every official poster/notice used by the authority.

Are you looking for a particular recording - maybe to check it is understandable, or does not give offence in another language due to dialect, accent, pronunciation, or linguistic coincidence?

Cockfosters maybe?

Just trying to understand the logic of asking for these recorded message files without any obvious/useful purpose.

Becky

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

Thank you for your interest.

I am indeed asking for 'free' copies of the recordings (whatever "free" means in this context), and must disagree that it is "not really an FOIA request." It clearly is an FOI request and I really don't know why you would suggest otherwise.

Becky Bbear left an annotation ()

Steve - Correct me if I missed something here, but doesn't the fact that these recordings are broadcast publicly mean that the authority could respond by saying they are already available/published within the context of the Act?

Seriously fail to see the point of this request, unless its just an exercise in wasting the authority's time under the umbrella of FOIA.

Becky

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

You said, "Doesn't the fact that these recordings are broadcast publicly mean that the authority could respond by saying they are already available/published within the context of the Act?"

If you had read my request properly, you would be aware that in the 'iBus" case a few months ago, the Information Commissioner had to decide on precisely this issue: whether public announcements are covered by the Freedom of Information Act or not. His ruling was that they were covered. As I clearly stated in initial email to Transport for London, at the top of this page.

Since you do not seem to have read my request thoroughly before complaining about it, I see little point in continuing this dialogue.

Becky Bbear left an annotation ()

Steve - I said it was probably a dumb question on my part, just seemed no purpose in requesting something that was already publicly available and which could therefore be refused by the authority on those grounds.

Humor aside, point I was making (trying to make) was that requests like this don't exactly fit within the 'spirit' of the Act - even if they do fit within the letter of it.

But I guess you (and other interested parties) already got that, so agree no point in further discussion.

Becky

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Elibank

 

TfL ref:  FOI-1335-1112

 

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 4
January 2012 asking for an electronic copy of every audio recording used
as recorded announcements on London Underground services.

 

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and TfL’s information access policy.

 

In accordance with the FOI Act, TfL is not obliged to supply the audio
files recorded for use on London Underground services as the information
is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information
under section 43(2).

 

In this instance section 43(2) has been applied as disclosure of the
information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial
interests of TfL and/or Global Services Ltd. The recordings in question
were provided to London Underground by Global Services Ltd under a signed
contract which contained explicit conditions concerning disclosure and
distribution.

 

The contract specifies that the recordings are solely to be used for the
purpose for which they were created and for broadcast on the London
Underground network only. If TfL were to disclose these recordings in
response to an FOI request, it would constitute an actionable breach of
contract and would be likely to result in a valid legal claim against
London Underground or the license to use the recordings being withdrawn,
which would impose additional, unnecessary, costs. TfL wishes to protect
its commercial interests and ability to participate in future commercial
activity. The disclosure of this information would be to the detriment of
present and future business activities for both parties.

 

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public
interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned.  TfL
recognises the need for openness and transparency within public
authorities and the degree of public interest concerning London transport
announcements in light of the recent disclosure of iBus announcements.
However, in this instance this is outweighed by the damage that would be
done to TfL’s ability to use these recordings and any future contractual
negotiations that may take place regarding the London Underground
announcements.

 

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached
information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team | Transport for London

Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

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WDTK user left an annotation ()

I too would like to understand the purpose of this request. There is a real danger in the current political climate that requests made purely "because I can" will lead to FOI being repealed or at least made much harder to use, which will benefit no-one.