Barclays Cycle Hire Critical Improvement Plan

The request was successful.

Hi Transport for London,

I saw in the TfL Board Commissioner's Report dated 29th June 2011 that TfL issued Serco a critical improvement plan regarding their performance as operator of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme.

Would you be so kind as to provide me with a copy of this critical improvement plan?

Thanks,

Josh

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Smith

TfL Ref: FOI-0432-1112

Thank you for your e-mail received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6 July
2011 asking for information about the critical improvement plan issued to
Serco regarding their performance as operator of the Barclays Cycle Hire
Scheme.

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 5 August 2011.

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

Corporate Governance Directorate

General Counsel

Transport for London

[1][TfL request email]

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith

TfL Ref: FOI-0432-1112

Thank you for your e-mail received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6 July
2011 asking for information about the critical improvement plan issued to
Serco regarding their performance as operator of the Barclays Cycle Hire
Scheme.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and TfL's information access policy.
I can confirm that TfL holds the information you require.

However, in accordance with the FOI Act, TfL is not obliged to supply any
of the information contained in the plan as it is subject to a statutory
exemption to the right of access to information under Section 43(2).

In this instance the exemption has been applied as disclosure of the
information you have requested would, or would be likely to, prejudice
Serco and TfL's commercial interests. The Critical Improvement Plan
contains specific items about aspects of Serco's service provision which
would undermine TfL's ability to negotiate best value contracts in the
future, by revealing details of performance which TfL regards as
acceptable, or unacceptable. Disclosure would also detail some of Serco's
key sources of competitive advantage or disadvantage in winning and
operating this contract with TfL. The disclosure of this type of
information would be detrimental to both 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 by public authorities,
and the degree of public interest in Serco's performance in the light of
some of the issues that have affected some users of the Scheme, but in
this instance releasing this information would be prejudicial to ongoing
negotiations over expansion of the Scheme, and be detrimental to the
ability to negotiate a best value contract with the existing service
provider, or any other. The information would affect TfL's bargaining
power with present or future service providers and therefore hinder its
ability to obtain best value.

The Critical Improvement Plan requires Serco to undertake a swift but
comprehensive `discovery phase' to determine the breadth and depth of the
issues identified by TfL. Following on, TfL has proposed a series of
actions to remedy each issue with associated timescales. The Plan was
delivered to Serco on 3 June, and it is our expectation that all actions
are completed by the end of July this year.

Serco have reacted very positively to the plan and to the concerns we have
expressed and Serco very quickly enhanced the management team and level of
resource in all of the areas which TfL highlighted. Both TfL and Serco
remain committed to the high standard of service which Barclays Cycle Hire
customers expect and deserve.

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

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

Corporate Governance Directorate

General Counsel

Transport for London

[1][TfL request email]

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Dear FOI,

Thanks for your response. I appreciate that - despite being unable to provide the document I requested - you took the time to write a brief description of the Critical Improvement Plan, its implementation, and its reception by Serco.

However, I am unsatisfied with your decision. Please consider this a request for an internal review.

I believe your outright rejection of the request is excessive, and against the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act; some sections of the plan are likely to be more sensitive than others, and you could have provided a copy with sensitive sections redacted.

I'd like to draw your attention to a similar Freedom of Information request made to you by Alex Skene (your reference: FOI-0155-1011) in February. He requested details of your contract with Serco; as with my request, you used section 43(2) exemption to withhold information.

Alex made the following points in his request for an internal review which I believe are relevant in this case. I ask that you consider them:

A) You applied a blanket refusal to the information as a whole,
without looking at each item on a case-by-case basis. This is
contrary to the rulings of the Information Tribunal in Guardian
Newspapers & Brooke V ICO & BBC (para 87.2) (EA/2006/0011 &
EA/2006/00110013)

"[...] the public authority is not permitted to maintain a blanket
refusal in relation to the type of information sought. The
authority may have a general policy that the public interest is
likely to be in favour of maintaining the exemption in respect of a
specific type of information, but any such policy must be flexibly
applied, with genuine consideration being given to the
circumstances of the particular request"

Different levels of prejudice & public interest will apply to
different items, so I would request that you re-examine each item
as a result.

B) You said that disclosure is "likely to be prejudicial to the
commercial interests of TfL and/or Serco".

"Likely to prejudice" is referred to by the Tribunal in John Connor
Press Associates Ltd v ICO (EA/2005/0005):

"We interpret the expression “likely to prejudice” as meaning that
the chance of prejudice being suffered should be more than a
hypothetical or remote possibility; there must have been a real and
significant risk."

I would request that you review your balance of the public interest
test given this lower level of potential prejudice and its effect
on the balance of the public interest test, in conjunction with the
useful guidance provided in the ICO's Line to Take LTT13
http://foiwiki.com/foiwiki/index.php?tit...

C) You said that disclosure would prejudice subsequent "future
re-procurement TfL might do for the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme".
Also in John Connor Press Associates Ltd v ICO (EA/2005/0005), the
Information Tribunal ruled that this argument needs to "depend on
the nature of the information and the degree of similarity between
the two transactions".

Given the bespoke and individually negotiated nature of the current
contract with Serco, I have doubts that any future contract would
be identical (or at least very similar) to this one.

There are further public interest arguments in favour of
disclosure:
- it would enable other companies to compete on an equal footing to
Serco, without it retaining its unfair advantage of having sole
access to the information.
- In the Information Tribunal hearing of the DoH v ICO
(EA/2008/0018) the Tribunal warned against ‘cosy’ relationships
that can develop between public authorities and incumbent
contractors in long running contracts. The Tribunal pointed out
that whilst such relationship may allow the smooth running of a
contract they can also reduce innovation and value for money. Serco
has a long standing relationship with TfL providing many of its
services (eg Traffic Signals, DLR, etc).

You can view all correspondence relating to my request online at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ba...

And Alex's at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cy...

Yours faithfully,

Josh Smith

Sloane Peter, Transport for London

Dear Mr Smith

 

Request for internal review

 

Our reference IRV-057-1112

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received by
Transport for London (TfL) on 17 October 2011. I am sorry about the delay
in sending you this acknowledgement.

 

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act

 

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance
with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following
URL:

[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/f...

 

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 11 November
2011. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will
contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as
possible.

 

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

 

Peter Sloane

 

Senior Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | General Counsel | Transport for
London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 4912 auto 64912
F: 020 7126 3185
E: [email address]

 

TfL has recently adopted an ‘information security classification scheme’
to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its
subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new
[2]Quick Guide or visit [3]Source for more information.

 

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References

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Hi Peter,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend.

I'm just getting in touch regarding my request for internal review. In your last email, you said you hoped to be in touch by 11th November (last Friday), but unfortunately I haven't heard from you.

Don't suppose you know whether there's any progress to report, do you?

All the best,

Josh Smith

Sloane Peter, Transport for London

Dear Mr Smith

Thank you for your email, and for the patience that you have shown despite the delays. I apologise for not being able to get back to you last week, but I was not in the office for most of it. Had I been in, I would have written to inform you that unfortunately we would not be able to get a response to you by 11 November and that we would be seeking to get a response to you as soon as possible, and in any event by 8 December. I am sorry about the delay. I am aiming to find out whether the BCHS and Serco still wish to rely on this exemption and, if so, further details of the public interest considerations taken into account.

On behalf of TfL, please accept my apologies for the delay and I will be in touch with a substantive response as soon as I can.

Yours sincerely

Peter Sloane

Senior Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | General Counsel | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 4912 auto 64912
F: 020 7126 3185
E: [email address]

TfL has recently adopted an ‘information security classification scheme’ to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new Quick Guide or visit Source for more information.

show quoted sections

Sloane Peter, Transport for London

1 Attachment

9 December 2011

 

Our ref: IRV-057-1112

 

Dear Mr Smith

 

The internal review of TfL’s response to your Freedom of Information
request has been completed. I am sorry about the delay in providing you
with this response.

 

The review considered whether it was appropriate to withhold the Critical
Improvement Plan and I can inform you that TfL is withdrawing its reliance
on the s43 exemption. Please therefore find attached the requested
information.

 

I hope that this response will be satisfactory to you. However, if you are
dissatisfied with the outcome of this internal review, you can refer the
matter to the independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom
of Information Act at the following address.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

A complaint form is available on the ICO’s website ([1]www.ico.gov.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

Peter Sloane

 

Senior Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | General Counsel | Transport for
London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 4912 auto 64912
F: 020 7126 3185
E: [email address]

 

TfL has recently adopted an ‘information security classification scheme’
to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its
subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new
[2]Quick Guide or visit [3]Source for more information.

 

show quoted sections

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
2. http://source.tfl/pdfs/IA_QG1_Informatio...
3. http://source.tfl/OurCompany/Governance/...

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