Bus risk assessments

Mr A Earle 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.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Transport for London should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Transport for London,
In view of the following:

FOI TfL Ref: 2069-1213;

The report 'Driven to distraction' 17/717;

TfL bus operator contract .."..Risk assessments should be reviewed following a significant incident or change to vehicle or operating procedures.
..
4.3 The Operator shall not use any vehicles in the operation of the Services without the Corporation‟s written approval of the risk assessments required pursuant to this Schedule. "

Can you tell me how many risk assessments were forwarded to TfL by its bus operators in 2016 for accidents, vehicle and operational changes; with a summary list for each.

Yours faithfully,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle,

TfL Ref: FOI-0945-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 19 July 2017 asking for information about advertising costs.

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

Your request will be processed by TfL, the Greater London Authority and its subsidiaries to provide you with a response in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

A response will be sent to you by 17 August 2017. 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 see if this helps you.

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the 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,

Melissa Nichols
FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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Dear FOI,

Could you let me know the status of this request, please.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle,

Thank you for your email.

I apologise for the delay in replying to you. We are still locating the information you requested. Once received, I will send you an official response.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind regards,

Melissa Nichols
FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

Dear FOI,

Could you send the information you have so far and give a date when the rest will follow, please.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

Dear Transport for London,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'Bus risk assessments'.

As there as been no update or response for information .

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,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle

 

IRV-068-1718

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 7
September 2017.

 

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://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

 

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 5 October
2017. 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
feel free to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Advisor

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

[2][TfL request email]

 

 

 

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Earle,

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0945-1718

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 19
July 2017 asking for information about bus risk assessments. I apologise
for the delay in replying to you.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our Information Access Policy. You
asked:

 

Can you tell me how many risk assessments were forwarded to TfL by its bus
operators in 2016 for accidents, vehicle and operational changes; with a
summary list for each.

 

Operators have provided 104 risk assessments to us from the start of 2016
as part of the route re-tendering process or following operational changes
that result in new or emerging issues being added or updated. Our
Framework Agreement sets out the expectation that operators review these
following a major event or significant changes. We require them to send us
copies of their risk assessments so we know they have them in place. We do
not ask them to accompany the documents with the reasons for their
submission to us and do not hold the type of summary list you have
requested. We have robust monitoring systems to ensure bus operators have
suitable health and safety management arrangements in place including the
bus route risk assessment process.

 

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.

 

Melissa Nichols

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

Dear FOI,
You have said there were 104 risk assessments; and you have the copies; therefore it should take very little effort to categorise these, as they should start and end with both summary and conclusion. Annual Route risk assessments are not what was requested.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle

 

IRV-068-1718

 

I am contacting you regarding the internal review of your request for
information concerning bus risk assessments (FOI- 0945-1718)

 

It is clear that in failing to provide you with a response within 20
working days, TfL has breached the requirements of section 10 of the FOI
Act, and on behalf of TfL, please accept our apologies for the
shortcomings in the handling of your request.

 

Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act advises that ‘a public
authority must comply with section 1 (the general right of access to
information held by public authorities) promptly and in any event not
later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt’. We
will always try to provide a response as quickly as we can and no later
than the 20 working day statutory time period set out by the Act. However
we are a large organisation and the FOI Case Management team are reliant
upon the appropriate team to provide the information sought within a
timely manner. Sometimes responses are delayed by staff absence or by
necessary checks to ensure that the response is both complete and
accurate.  This means that although over 90% of FOI responses are sent on
time, we are sometimes unable to always respond promptly or, as in the
case of your request, within the statutory timeframe.

 

In the course of this review the panel were advised that the specific
individual who could provide the information you requested was at the
beginning of an extended period of leave and your request could not be
dealt with by another team member in the interim. This meant that the FOI
Case Management team were in the position where a response could not be
provided to you within 20 workings days. The panel discussed your
unanswered request with the Information Access Manager who is monitoring
FOI performance. We believe that a response has now been provided to your
request on 4 October 2017, however we do not consider that this
necessarily represents the end of the internal review process. We consider
that it would be appropriate in the context of this request to offer you a
further internal review of the content of the response to FOI-0945-1718 if
you choose, even though you have already exercised your right to a review
in view of our failure to provide a timely response.

 

Therefore, if you are not satisfied with the final response that we have
provided to FOI-0945-1718 please contact [1][TfL request email]. Again the
panel offer our sincere apologies for the unacceptable delay in providing
a response.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date
(IRV-068-1718) 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 also available on the ICO’s website
([2]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

Transport for London

[3][email address]

 

 

 

 

FOI, Transport for London

Mr Earle

IRV-084-1718

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 4 October 2017

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:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 1 November 2017. 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 feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Advisor
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

Dear FOI,
Can you update the status of this review, pls.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. By way of an update the Panel have met to discuss the handling of your request for information and from that meeting further actions were raised to ensure a thorough review is carried out. I am currently awaiting further information from the appropriate team.

A response will be provided as soon as possible.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]

Dear FOI,
With regard to your responses and their omissions; it is clear that having delegated the fundamental safety assessments to the private sector bus operators, TfL as deliberately ignored the absence of those checks where they were contractually required; a policy akin to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. This leads to the same accidents been repeated and the cause blamed simply on ‘poor driver training’.
The removal of the old routemasters reduced safety by a five-fold increase in standing passengers, reduced and slower customer service (removal of conductors and pay on entry); and the ever present threat of passengers distracting drivers
It cannot be argued, it is safer to stand whilst been driven around London’s roads; the incidents of stumbles and falls have increased with the introduction of new ‘silent’ hybrid technology.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle

 

IRV-084-1718

 

I am contacting you regarding the internal review of your request for
information concerning bus risk assessments (FOI-0945-1718). This review
has been carried out by an independent panel following your email of 4
October 2017. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. The
panel have reviewed examples of the information held in relation to your
request and liaised with the relevant individuals with the appropriate
expertise.

 

Firstly, the Panel again offer their apologies for the severe delay in
providing you with a response to your original request (FOI-0945-1718).
The issues which caused this delay were outlined in response to
IRV-068-1718.

 

In your original request of 19 July 2017 you asked: "Can you tell me how
many risk assessments were forwarded to TfL by its bus operators in 2016
for accidents, vehicle and operational changes; with a summary list for
each." The response provided advised that 104 risk assessments were
forwarded to TfL and that we did not hold the summary list you required.

 

In your subsequent email of 4 October you stated: “You have said there
were 104 risk assessments; and you have the copies; therefore it should
take very little effort to categorise these, as they should start and end
with both summary and conclusion.      ”

 

The Panel approached the appropriate team within Surface Transport and
were advised that to try and provide the summary lists you require would
take substantially more time and resource than you may believe to be the
case. Each individual operator has their own way of recording and
providing a risk assessment to TfL as it is their responsibly to record
and report this information for each individual route. TfL do not provide
them with a standard template to use and therefore there is no “start and
end summary and conclusion”

 

Due to the varying size and formats in which they are provided (i.e. some
are excel spreadsheets, some are written reports and some are very large
amounts of data sent on a CD), it would require the full manual review of
each of the 104 assessments to then ‘summarise’ what each assessment said.
Additionally, this would have to be undertaken by individuals who have
detailed knowledge of each specific bus route to understand the
information which had been submitted by the operator.

 

When the Panel reviewed what would be involved in summarising each of the
104 assessments, it was agreed that this went beyond simple manipulation
of recorded information into a list or schedule, this constituted the
creation of new information and therefore fell outside the scope of the
Freedom of Information Act.

 

The Panel then went on to consider the viability of disclosing the 104
risk assessments in full as a alternative. However upon the analysis of a
sample of the information in question and discussions with the appropriate
team within Surface Transport, is was concluded that there were safety
concerns with the disclosure of the risk assessments in full and that s38
of the Freedom of Information Act was engaged.

 

One of TfL’s upmost priorities is ensuring the safety of the general
public when traveling on our network. To be able to ensure any health and
safety concerns are being identified and addressed, there is a need for
TfL to obtain the information provided in the risk assessments quickly and
with as much detail as possible. This gives TfL the confidence that the
operators have appropriate risk management arrangements in place.  In
order to obtain what is needed TfL have to be able to offer a safe space
to facilitate this sharing of vital information so that operators are not
deterred from sharing frank and honest information out of concern of it
being released into the public domain.  Disclosure of these risk
assessments could potentially damage TfL’s relationships with individual
operators and impact on the important information shared as part of this
relationship, affecting TfL’s ability to oversee the safety of the
traveling public. 

 

There is concern that if the health and safety arrangements of operators
are published the information may be used against them in potential claims
or compensation negotiations and whilst TfL recognise that there is a
public interest in disclosure of this information, especially for affected
parties to exercise their legal rights, there are already existing
processes in place by which an injured party can bring a claim and
determine liability for an accident. There are also processes in place to
investigate accidents of a more serious nature. The Panel noted that there
is public interest in disclosure of information which would allow people
to take steps to ensure their own safety.

 

However the panel consider the public interest is served by TfL obtaining
full and frank safety information as outlined above, it would be more
beneficial to the general public for TfL to be able to retain the full
disclosure and co-operation of the operating companies.  If the operators
thought this information would go into the public domain, they may be
reluctant to share as much information and that would prevent us from
fulfilling our safety and security functions. Another potential
consequence of not receiving full details is that we are not able to share
risks with other operators. Therefore the Panel agree that the public
interest in disclosure is outweighed by the interest in maintaining the
exemption and your complaint has not been upheld on this occasion.

 

More information on s38 can be found on the Information Commissioners
website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

 

If you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date
(IRV-084-1718) 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 also available on the ICO’s website
([2]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

Transport for London

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,
It is not true or necessary to assess the risk assessments again; you have their number so after a year you must know what they were for; otherwise you are declaring you haven't read, or have no idea what was the risks in up to 104 serious incidents in 2016; despite having said previously :-

TfL Ref: FOI-1269-1213 30/1/13 “ ... in more serious incidents
such as fatalities TfL will monitor the investigation progress to a
conclusion to assure itself that processes are robust”

Therefore you must know at least how many you have monitored, which is the minimum number you should have revealed, are matched with a risk assessment.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Earle

 

I am contacting you following Decision Notice FS50704775 issued by the
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on 25 May 2018.

 

Following the recommendations outlined in the notice, please can you
provide the further clarification required in relation to your original
request of “Can you tell me how many risk assessments were forwarded to
TfL by its bus operators in 2016 for accidents, vehicle and operational
changes; with  a summary list for each.” Please be as clear and concise as
possible as to the information you are seeking.

 

Additionally please keep in mind the previous explanations we have
provided in our responses to yourself and the ICO where by the only
information that we hold are Route Risk Assessments that are periodically
provided and updated by the bus operators.  These can range from a 2 page
pdf report to a vast spreadsheet depending on the size of the route being
operated.  These risk assessments are not summarised in any format or
categorised under any headings.

 

If we hear nothing further from you by Monday 11^th June 2018, we will
consider the matter concluded and advise the ICO accordingly.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

FOI Case Management Team

Transport for London

[TfL request email]

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/

Dear FOI,

The three lists of risk assessments requested were as stated in your agreement with your bus operators; namely for (major/serious)accidents, vehicle and operational changes. Each list should start with the total for 2016, followed by a total by bus operator if known.

In previous FOI requests, you've stated you monitor the progress of bus accidents with fatalities; so this should be the minimum number of accident risk assessments you have, to begin with.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Earle

 

Our ref: FOI-0562-1819

 

Thank you for your email of 31 May 2018 clarifying what information you
are seeking.

 

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

 

However, we do not hold the information you require, as we do not have
three lists of risk assessments as you suggest. We have one list under
which all risk assessments are recorded and we do not make a distinction
over the reason why the assessment was updated. We only require sight of
this list as our contract asks. We appreciate the assessments could be
updated for one of three reasons but it is sight of the document that is
important to us, not the reasons for it being updated, and we do not
require the bus operators to make this distinction.

 

Separately, we monitor operator investigations into fatalities on the bus
network and, if there are new lessons, these would be shared by us under a
different process. These events might also result in the operators’
assessments being updated and sent to us under the contract requirement.
However, this might not be the case if the cause lay outside the capacity
or capability of the bus operator, or were a human factor (i.e. not
connected to the risks along the route).

 

It is therefore important to note that:

 

·         risk assessments and operator investigations are two separate
sets of information

 

·         An operator investigation can result in an operators assessment
being updated, but this is not always the case

 

·         We only hold one list showing all risk assessments

 

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

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/

Dear FOI,

You have confirmed that you have only one type of list, the route assessments used for tendering; and none of the risk assessments requested. Therefore operators are not complying with the terms of their contract below or MHSW 1999; eg. Silent Hybrid bus operation causing falls.

4. Risk Assessments
4.1 All vehicle types used in the operation of the Services shall be subject to a documented risk assessment by the Operator which demonstrates that the risks of operating that vehicle type have been adequately mitigated taking account of any specific operational issues arising from the use of the vehicles in the London traffic and passenger environment. All such risk assessments shall be undertaken in accordance with any relevant legislation, including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These assessments should include the identification of risk and compared to existing vehicles where appropriate and of any new hazards. A structured approach should be followed in making judgements on the change in risk associated with the vehicle type, assessing both the likelihood and consequences of the identified hazards and actions to ensure risks are reduced to “as low as is reasonably practicable”. Risk assessments should be reviewed following a significant incident or change to vehicle or operating procedures.
4.2 In the event that the Operator wishes to use a vehicle in the operation of the Services that has features not previously covered by a risk assessment for that vehicle type, the Operator shall submit a risk assessment for that vehicle type, which shall include such new features, to the Corporation for its prior written approval.
4.3 The Operator shall not use any vehicles in the operation of the Services without the Corporation‟s written approval of the risk assessments required pursuant to this Schedule.

5. SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
5.1 In providing the Services the Operator shall take all steps necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all persons including:
5.1.1 members of the public;
5.1.2 passengers boarding, travelling on and alighting from the vehicles used in operating the Services;
5.1.3 all employees, agents and contractors of the Corporation whilst on or visiting any of the Operator's vehicles or premises used in the provision of the Services for any purpose in connection with this Route Agreement; and
5.1.4 other road users.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Earle