Dear SE Trains Limited,

During Storm Eunice, Govia Thameslink cancelled assistance bookings and refused new assistance bookings for services that they were still running.

Their head of public affairs said "that the Do Not Travel advice and guidance on providing assistance was agreed with other Train companies, the @RailDeliveryGrp and @railandroad in advance."

I would like to see that "guidance on providing assistance" please.

Please supply the notes and formal decision from any meetings that resulted in the above decision / guidance, copies of emails that mention or discuss plans for booked passenger assistance sent from RDG to the access and inclusion forum & the storm response management plan groups in each train operating company, and emails from the train operating companies to request action/cancellations etc. relating to booked passenger assistance during the storm.

Please also advise what actions and decisions you took regarding booked passenger assistance involving services and stations you manage and provide. Did you continue to provide said assistance? Did you mass cancel and refuse assistance bookings involving your stations and trains, as GTR did? Did you provide alternative transport for disabled people?

Were there any special arrangements for London region train operating companies? From what I understand, GTR wasn't offering taxis for people with booked assistance, but had South Eastern or GTR actually done any checks on whether there was availability with taxi providers?

Thank guy

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Information Rights, SE Trains Limited

Dear Mr Paulley,
 
I acknowledge receipt of your FOIA request.
 
Can I please ask that you clarify your request in relation to the
information that you require specifically from Southeastern.
 
Your request references the "storm response management plan groups in each
train operating company, and emails from the train operating companies"
had South Eastern or GTR actually done any checks on whether there was
availability with taxi providers?
 
Excepting where the plans and emails of each train operating company have
been copied to Southeastern, we will not hold that data. Similarly we will
not hold information on any checks on taxi providers by GTR.
 
I look forward to your clarification.
 
Regards
 
Mark Willson
Data Protection and FOIA Officer
southeasternrailway.co.uk
 
southeastern
2nd Floor,
4 More London Riverside,
London, SE1 2AU.
 

show quoted sections

Dear Information Rights,

Thank you for this,

The issue is or was I don't know what information you may hold. We were wondering, for example, whether there may have been a cross-London train operating company planning or emergency response meeting or series of conversations by email or other means. We were wondering, for example, whether there was cooperation or a cooperative policy over alternative accessible taxi provision - perhaps across London or amongst Govia / former Govia train operating companies. I have no idea if such happened and the comms exist, but I don't know unless I ask. GTR aren't subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so I can't send them a FOI request direct. So please just provide whatever information you do hold.

Thank you very much

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Information Rights, SE Trains Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Doug Paulley,

Please find our response to your request which has been handled under the FOIA. You requested

"Please supply the notes and formal decision from any meetings that resulted in the above decision / guidance, copies of emails that mention or discuss plans for booked passenger assistance sent from RDG to the access and inclusion forum & the storm response management plan groups in each train operating company, and emails from the train operating companies to request action/cancellations etc. relating to booked passenger assistance during the storm. Please also advise what actions and decisions you took regarding booked passenger assistance involving services and stations you manage and provide. Did you continue to provide said assistance? Did you mass cancel and refuse assistance bookings involving your stations and trains, as GTR did? Did you provide alternative transport for disabled people?"

I can confirm that we hold some of the information requested which is attached.

Personal Data Exemption
Please note I have withheld the names and email addresses of individuals from the disclosed documents under section 40(2) of the FOIA. This exemption allows us to withhold information relating to the personal data of identifiable individuals in circumstances where its disclosure would breach the key principles set out in Article 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation. The first principle mandates that data must be processed in a lawful, fair, and transparent manner. The named individuals in the document would have no expectation that their personal information would be disseminated to the world at large through the FOIA process. It would not be a fair or lawful processing of their data to disregard these legitimate expectations. This is an absolute exemption under the FOIA.

Appeal Rights
If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, please write to the Southeastern Company Solicitor, 2nd Floor, 4 More London Riverside, SE1 2AU, or by email at [email address]
Your request must be submitted within 40 working days of receipt of this letter.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner (ICO) can be contacted at Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF or you can contact the ICO through the 'Make a Complaint' section of their website on this link: https://ico.org.uk/make-acomplaint/

Regards

Mark Willson
Data Protection and FOIA Officer
southeasternrailway.co.uk

southeastern
2nd Floor,
4 More London Riverside,
London, SE1 2AU.

show quoted sections

Dear SE Trains Limited,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of SE Trains Limited's handling of my FOI request 'Booked Assistance during Storm Eunice'.

You say you "have withheld the names and email addresses of individuals from the disclosed documents under section 40(2) of the FOIA.". However, this is not all the information that you have withheld. You've redacted people's email signatures (including their job roles), Teleperformance's VAT number, and your Passenger Assistance booking telephone number, It is difficult to see how any of that fits with your quoted exemption for the names and email addresses of individuals.

It isn't necessary to redact the *whole* of the email address. For it to be personal data, only the actual individual involved can be identifiable. So the information after the @ - identifying the organisation for which the individual is working - can be left in. That's important information, because from some of the emails, it isn't clear what organisation was saying what - not just the individual - and that's essential to understand the context of some of the communication.

Finally, there's no evidence that you have undertaken a Legitimate Interests Test.
ICO guidance at https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... says:
"You must first consider the legitimate interest in disclosing the personal data to the public and what purpose this serves.
Examples of a legitimate interest include the general requirement for transparency in public life, or in the issue that the information in question relates to. This particularly applies to issues of interest to
the wider public and where disclosure demonstrates accountability. ...
you must consider whether there is a pressing social need for the disclosure of the information (ie what the legitimate interests are).
For example, the High Court case referred to above focused on the issue of MPs’ second home expenses. In that instance, the pressing social needs were the objectives of transparency, accountability, value for money and the health of our democracy; together with more specific interests such as the misuse of the expenses system and the fact that there was no independent oversight of it."

The reason I made this FOI request was that for the first time ever, a UK train operating company or companies block cancelled all assistance bookings for disabled people on their services over a period of 24-48 hours, and refused all new bookings for the same period. This is a substantial decision, because it has a significant impact on disabled people's transport rights, and because the obligation to conduct booked assistance is set out in train and station operating companies' licenses. Individuals and organisations making such a substantial decision should expect to be subject to public scrutiny about how that decision was made, communicated and acted upon. However even if they were not expecting such scrutiny, it is in the legitimate interests of the public to understand how the deicsion was made - and, crucially, who (individually and corporately) made the decision.

I would therefore argue that the legitimate interests of the public in knowing who made such a momentous decision over-ride the right to privacy of the individuals concerned. So for SOME of the communications you have released, it would be legitimate - and indeed required - for you to release their identity.

Please therefore re-make the decision in light of the above.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Legal, SE Trains Limited

4 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 1.jpg

    0K Download

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 2.jpg

    0K Download

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 3.jpg

    1K Download

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 4.jpg

    0K Download

Dear Mr Paulley,
 
Thank you for your email dated 18 March 2022 and request for a review of
your FOI request.
 
We have carried out a review and confirm as follows:
 
Firstly, where an FOI request is made and such disclosure contains third
party personal data that is not the personal data of the requester, the
exemptions under section 40(2) of FOIA may be engaged. This would include
the names, email addresses and job titles or other personally identifiable
information relating to a living person, other than the requester.
Therefore, it was correct to redact any personally identifiable
information not belonging to you, before making such disclosure.
 
Secondly, we confirm that the non-personal data that was redacted in the
information that was disclosed to you, such as ‘Teleperformance’s VAT
number’ and ‘Passenger Assistance booking telephone number’, that you have
requested, were redacted using a redaction tool which inadvertently
redacted this information, as this information was recognised as telephone
numbers, which are normally redacted under the personal data exemption.
Therefore, we confirm that the contact details for the ‘passenger assist
service’ together with train company details and can be found using the
following link
[1]https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_...
and the Teleperformance VAT number can be found via sites such as
[2]http://www.vat-lookup.co.uk/verify/vat_c....
 
 
Thirdly, under the Data Protection Act 2018:
 
“Personal data” means any information relating to an identified or
identifiable living individual and “Identifiable living individual” means
a living individual who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in
particular by reference to –

 1. an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data
or an online identifier; or
 2. one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic,
mental, economic, cultural or social identity of the individual.

 
On the basis of the above, it is reasonably, that any information that
could directly or indirectly, identify a living person that does not
belong to you, should be redacted prior to disclosure. This means, the
entire email address which would identify an individual and their place of
work, can be redacted.  
 
Lastly, we confirm that ‘Legitimate Interest’ is one of the six lawful
bases for processing personal data, which we may rely on in order to
process personal data in line with the ‘lawfulness, fairness and
transparency’ principle under UK GDPR, and section 40(2) is an absolute
exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, so we do not need to
apply the public interest test.
 
We trust that this brings this matter to a close. However, if you are not
content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The
Information Commissioner (ICO) can be contacted at Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or you can contact the ICO through the 'Make a Complaint' section of
their website on this link: [3]https://ico.org.uk/make-acomplaint/
 
Yours sincerely
Company Solicitor
southeastern
Second floor,
4 More London Riverside,
London,
SE1 2AU
 
[4][IMG][5][IMG]  [6][IMG][7][IMG] [8][IMG][9][IMG] [10][IMG][11][IMG]
 
 
_____________________________________________
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Company Secretary,

I have referred this to the ICO for their consideration and decision, in the following terms:

CONCERNS:
Request and correspondence: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...
Reasons for request for assessment are as listed in my request for internal review at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...
I believe the identity of the organisation the individuals work for is not personal data in that it does not identify the individual, and thus does not attract S40.
In any case, I believe there is a lawful basis for disclosure of the redacted data - the Legitimate Interests of transparency in public life, and of identifying how the decision to cancel all pre-booked disabled people's assistance on the rail network during Storm Eunice was made; which organisations played which part, and which individuals are responsible. Disclosure is necessary for these purposes, and the interests in disclosure outweigh the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require the protection of personal data. Some of the companies and identities are already public at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/8... . The data is not special category or sensitive. Harm or distress to the individuals are very limited; and the data concerned was produced as part of a cross-industry professional email list of senior managers in which they were acting in their corporate roles.

ACTIONS REQUIRED FOR SE TRAINS TO BE COMPLIANT:
:- Conduct a Legitimate Interests Balancing Test. The organisation does not appear to have conducted such a balancing test to consider whether in all the circumstances it would be legal under the legitimate interests of the public to release the personal data, overriding the fundamental rights of the data subject. They appear to not understand the obligation to undertake this test, despite me linking them to your guidance; erroneously instead referring to Public Interest Tests, which all concerned know does not apply to S40.
:- Release some or all of the information currently redacted under S40.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Legal, SE Trains Limited

Dear Mr Paulley,

Thank you for your email, the contents of which we note. We look forward to hearing the outcome of the decision made by the ICO.

Yours sincerely,
Company Solicitor
southeastern
Second floor,
4 More London Riverside,
London,
SE1 2AU

show quoted sections