Contents of Customer Information Group meeting on 17th February 2022

The request was partially successful.

Dear SE Trains Limited,

Please can you supply information regarding the phone meeting of Rail Delivery Group's Customer Information Group telephone meeting on 17th February?

To identify the group, I'm informed that RDG’s organisation comprises an internal governance structure, headed by its Customer Board. The Customer Board sits above the Customer Information Strategy Group (“CISG”), which itself heads two sub-groups: the Customer Information Group (“CIG”), which deals with issues related to customer information, and the Accessibility & Inclusion Group (“A&IG”), which deals with issues regarding compliance with licence-linked accessibility requirements. Apparently the CIG and the A&IG have delegated authority from the CISG in relation to a number of matters (including, in the case of the CIG, the power to adopt a “Do Not Travel” recommendation). Representatives from all TOCs sit in the CIG. I'm assuming that a Network Rail representative also sits in the CIG.

I'm informed that on Thursday 17 February 2022, shortly after the Met Office issued a Red Weather Warning for Storm Eunice, a meeting of the CIG took place, by way of a telephone call. During this call, the CIG apparently agreed a course of action which included the nationwide issue of “Do Not Travel” notices for train operators.

It is this meeting that I am specifically interested in.

Please could you supply me with the notes and communications your representative made during and as a direct result of this meeting? I'm wanting anything that indicates what topics were discussed and what decisions were made. Contemporaneous notes, internal or external emails received or sent that reveal what was discussed at this meeting, and what decisions were made and actions agreed, would be great.

Please can you also advise me about the power and responsibility of your representative on the group? I am not wanting any personal data, I am wanting to know what their role involves and what powers they have to bind your company / to agree to proposals agreed by the group.

In specific, I am instructed that the issue of pre-booked assistance bookings was raised during the call. Apparently the CIG discussed the actions to be taken in that regard, considering the risk that TOCs would not be able to deliver the pre-booked assistance during Storm Eunice. It was apparently agreed during the call that customers with pre-booked assistance bookings should be contacted by TOCs to cancel their assistance booking; and that no further pre-booked assistance bookings should be arranged for 18 and 19 February 2022.

I'm not sure I find it credible that this group, which is not the accessibility and inclusion group, has the authority to agree to cancel and refuse assistance bookings. What I'm wanting to know is whether the group did actually discuss such and reach that decision. If so, whether your rep on that group agreed to such cancellations and refusals, whether they had authority to do so and if so, how they communicated this decision within your company.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Dear SE Trains Limited,

Please can you advise the status of my request? It has gone beyond 20 working days.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Information Rights, SE Trains Limited

Dear Mr Paulley,

Please accept my apologies for the delayed response.

We hold some information relevant to your request however I am in the process of consulting with 3rd parties, in order to determine if disclosure is appropriate.

This process should conclude shortly and I aim to issue our final response within 5 working days of today,

Regards

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

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

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Information Rights, SE Trains Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Paulley,

Please find our response to your FOIA request dated 22nd April 2022, the detail of which is below. Your request has been handled under the FOIA. I can confirm that we hold some of the data requested.

"Please could you supply me with the notes and communications your representative made during and as a direct result of this meeting? I'm wanting anything that indicates what topics were discussed and what decisions were made. Contemporaneous notes, internal or external emails received or sent that reveal what was discussed at this meeting, and what decisions were made and actions agreed, would be great."

Our representative did not make contemporaneous notes of the meeting however, the outcome was summarised in the attached email. I also attach a summary of the positions adopted by each TOC

"Please can you also advise me about the power and responsibility of your representative on the group? I am not wanting any personal data, I am wanting to know what their role involves and what powers they have to bind your company / to agree to proposals agreed by the group."

Decisions made about the services Southeastern could run and assistance that could be offered during storm Eunice, were made by Southeastern not the CIG. The purpose of the CIG call was to gather information on the decisions made by each TOC, so these could be effectively communicated by customer information teams and press offices. The Head of Information Delivery represents Southeastern on this group.

"In specific, I am instructed that the issue of pre-booked assistance bookings was raised during the call. Apparently the CIG discussed the actions to be taken in that regard, considering the risk that TOCs would not be able to deliver the pre-booked assistance during Storm Eunice. It was apparently agreed during the call that customers with pre-booked assistance bookings should be contacted by TOCs to cancel their assistance booking; and that no further pre-booked assistance bookings should be arranged for 18 and 19 February 2022."

The summary email is the only recorded information from that meeting, confirming what was discussed.

"I'm not sure I find it credible that this group, which is not the accessibility and inclusion group, has the authority to agree to cancel and refuse assistance bookings. What I'm wanting to know is whether the group did actually discuss such and reach that decision. If so, whether your rep on that group agreed to such cancellations and refusals, whether they had authority to do so and if so, how they communicated this decision within your company."

The summary email is the only recorded information from that meeting, confirming what was discussed. To confirm, whilst Southeastern encouraged people requiring assistance not to travel, we did not refuse assistance and attempted to provide it where possible.

Regards

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

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

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/

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