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Independent review of Customer Experience LNER

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Dear DfT OLR Holdings Limited,

Can you please provide me with the report on The Customer Experience Directorate of LNER commissioned by yourselves in May 2023.

Yours faithfully,

Peter [name removed]

Company Secretary, DfT OLR Holdings Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Peter [name removed]

Freedom of Information Act request – 2309-026.

Thank you for your information request dated 19 September 2023.

You requested the public disclosure of an independent review carried out
by a third-party contractor on behalf of DOHL. The review, conducted
between May and July 2023, focused on LNER's Customer Experience

DOHL confirms that it holds the information you have requested, however
not in the completed form your email implies.

After careful consideration, we have decided to withhold the requested
information under Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which
relates to "Information intended for future publication”.

Our reasons for withholding under Section 22 are:

• We can confirm that DOHL possesses the requested information,
currently in draft form, with a firm intention to publish it in due
course. To clarify, the document is undergoing active revisions and
has not yet reached its final version.

• The information intended for future publication is the same specific
information that you have requested. Any material that may be
discarded or rejected during the preparation for publication is not
covered under Section 22.

• While there is no fixed date for publication, there is a clear
intention to publish the information in the future. This will occur
once the relevant parties have properly received the document and have
been afforded a fair opportunity to analyse it within the context of
their operational setting.

• The term "publication" in this context includes making the information
available for public inspection, with appropriate and reasonable
access facilities to be provided.

We have conducted a public interest test to weigh the public interest in
maintaining the exemption versus disclosing the information. We
acknowledge that there is significant public interest in understanding
the culture within an organisation like LNER. The way it operates, treat
its employees, and handles internal processes potentially impacts the
quality of services it provides to the public. Transparency in these
matters is not just a matter of public curiosity but a vital aspect of
accountable governance. Therefore, we recognise the weight of public
interest in this area. However, we strongly believe that releasing a
report that is still under active revision could lead to confusion,
misinterpretation, and potential harm to those involved. This could
undermine the very transparency and accountability that the public
interest test aims to uphold.

Factors considered include:

• Withholding the information at this stage is a sensible course of
action because it is part of a comprehensive review that is intended
for future public scrutiny. Releasing partial or unverified findings
could compromise the integrity of the entire review process. It's
crucial that the public receives accurate and complete information,
which can only be assured if the report is finalised and released in
its entirety.

• It is fair to all stakeholders involved—be it the general public,
employees, or other interested parties—to release the information in a
structured and planned manner. This ensures that the findings and
recommendations are contextualised appropriately, allowing for a
nuanced understanding of the issues at hand. A piecemeal or premature
release could lead to misinterpretation or misuse of the information,
which would not serve the interests of any stakeholder.

• Releasing the information before its intended publication date could
provide certain parties with an undue advantage. This could skew the
fairness of any subsequent actions or decisions that may be taken
based on the review's findings. For example, individuals or groups who
gain early access to the information could use it to shape public
opinion or take pre-emptive actions that could compromise the
integrity of the review process.

• The report contains information about the culture among employees of a
third party. Disclosing this information prematurely could not only
unfairly advantage or disadvantage certain parties but also risk
breaching the privacy and integrity of the individuals and
organisations involved. As such, withholding the report until its
intended publication date is both prudent and necessary to ensure that
its findings are disseminated in a balanced and fair manner.

• The report is currently in a state of active revision. Releasing it in
this unfinished state could lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and
potential harm to those named or implicated in the report.
Stakeholders may draw conclusions based on incomplete or inaccurate
information, which could have serious repercussions. Therefore, it is
in the best interest of all stakeholders that the report is accurate,
complete, and finalised before being made publicly available.

In light of the above, we find it reasonable in all circumstances to
withhold the information until the intended publication date. Once the
information has been published, Section 22 will no longer apply, and the
information will be accessible to the public.

If you are dissatisfied with the way we have responded to or handled your
request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. These should be
submitted within two calendar months of the date of this letter and
addressed to [1][DOHL request email]. When making your request, please
clearly identify the aspects of our initial response that you would like
us to revisit, along with your rationale for the review. Please remember
to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you ask for an internal review and are still not content with the
outcome, you have the right to apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
via their online form:

Yours sincerely, 

Matt Bentley

Business Manager DOHL

Email:  [3][email address]

Mobile:  +44 (0) 7592 920119

Waterloo General Office, 3rd Floor Walker Suite, Waterloo Station, London

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Peter Anthony please sign in and let everyone know.