Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

Please provide all documents you hold in relation to your planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade)

Dear Connor,

Thank you for your request.

This will be considered under the freedom of information act (2000) (FOIA).

As such we will respond within 20 working days.

Kind Regards,

James Sivell

Information Access Manager
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

T: 020 8555 1200x30415
E: [email address]

london-fire.gov.uk

Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal information will be processed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the purpose of fire service administration. We will keep your details secure and will not disclose them to other organisations or third parties (except contractors or suppliers working on our behalf) without your permission unless we are legally required to do so. For more information about how we use your personal information, see our notification entry (Z7122455) at: www.ico.org.uk

John Smith left an annotation ()

What are you trying to achieve with all these various requests about emergency plans? For heaven's sake, there was a bomb attack on the Tube today which left dozens of people injured! Are you trying to do the terrorists' job for them?!

London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade)

Dear Connor,

Thank you for your request, dated 2 September 2017 for information in relation to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In response, I can confirm that we hold the information you have requested.

During the Olympic period, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) along with other emergency services based their planning on the London Emergency Safety Liaison Panel Manual. A link to the latest version of this manual is publicly available here https://www.met.police.uk/globalassets/d....

The Major Incident Procedure Manual contains information about what each of the emergency services and local authorities will do during a major incident in London. Every incident is different and the procedures outlined in the manual are designed to act as a framework for the emergency services to work together for maximum efficiency.

Additionally, you may be interested to know that a summary paper in relation to the role of the LFB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 was presented to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) in late 2012. This is publicly available via our external website http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/ with the specific document here; http://moderngov.london-fire.gov.uk/mgco... (FEP 2008 – Summary of the role of the London Fire Brigade in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic).

I hope you find the information provided useful. If you have any further questions please let me know.

Your request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). If you are dissatisfied by this response you can request an internal review by writing to the Head of Information Management and Performance at the address below (or email [email address]).

Further information about your information rights (including how to raise a concern or make a complaint) is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office on their website at www.ico.org.uk or by writing to them at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind Regards,

James Sivell

Information Access Manager
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

T: 020 8555 1200x30415
E: [email address]

london-fire.gov.uk

Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal information will be processed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the purpose of fire service administration. We will keep your details secure and will not disclose them to other organisations or third parties (except contractors or suppliers working on our behalf) without your permission unless we are legally required to do so. For more information about how we use your personal information, see our notification entry (Z7122455) at: www.ico.org.uk

Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

Please provide me with the information you have confirmed you hold.

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade)

Hi Connor,

Thanks for your e-mail.

Within my original response you will have been provided with links to the information requested regarding our planning for the 2012 Olympics.

If you are having any trouble accessing these links, please let me know and I will see what I can do to help.

Kind Regards,

James

Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

You say, in your original response, that "the London Fire Brigade (LFB) along with other emergency services based their planning". I would like a copy of that planning.

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade)

Hi Connor,

We have tried to provide in our original response, a general and helpful overview to the process that was put in place by ourselves (and other emergency services) when planning our involvement in the London 2012 Olympics.

The most detailed of plans regarding our involvement would however be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA via Section 24 – National Security.

Whilst we accept your interest in knowing how the LFB are involved in such events and plan for public safety. We feel that as this information would mimic that of our response and involvement to similar large scale public events the information should not be disclosed to the world at large.

I’m sorry this may not be the response you were hoping for, however I hope you can understand our position.

Kind Regards,

James

Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

I would like to make a formal complaint in regards to your handling of my Freedom of Information request regarding your planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

First and foremost, you state in your latest response that "we have tried to provide in our original response, a general and helpful overview to the process that was put in place by ourselves (and other emergency services) when planning our involvement in the London 2012 Olympics." This is in contrast to my original request which requested "all documents you hold in relation to your planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games." I would argue that this is a breach of Section 1(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in yourselves having completely ignored my original request and having provided something other than what was requested.

Secondly, you mention that "the most detailed of plans regarding our involvement would however be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA via Section 24 – National Security". I do not accept that these would be exempt from disclosure automatically under Section 24 — in fact, you will find that the London Ambulance Service disclosed a number of plans including their CBRN coverage of the Games at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c....

You then go on to say that you "feel that as this information would mimic that of our response and involvement to similar large scale public events the information should not be disclosed to the world at large." I would argue that your planning for the Olympics is much larger than that of any public event, as highlighted by the enormous amount of work that went into contingency planning for the Games. As such, I would argue that the difference would be significant.

As such, I would ask that you review your decision and report back to me within 20 working days with a final response or an extension, with a definitive date for a final response. Should this timescale be broken or the request be refused, I intend to follow this request up with the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade)

4 Attachments

Mr Gurney

 

I refer to your request to review our response to the Freedom of
Information request you submitted on 2 September 2017 (our reference
FOIA3296.1). At that time, you submitted a request asking for:

 

“Please provide all documents you hold in relation to your planning for
the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

 

Mr Sivell replied to you on the 26 September 2017 saying:

 

“During the Olympic period, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) along with other
emergency services based their planning on the London Emergency Safety
Liaison Panel Manual.  A link to the latest version of this manual is
publicly available here
[1]https://www.met.police.uk/globalassets/d...,
previous versions are available to purchase via good bookstores.

 

The Major Incident Procedure Manual contains information about what each
of the emergency services and local authorities will do during a major
incident in London.  Every incident is different and the procedures
outlined in the manual are designed to act as a framework for the
emergency services to work together for maximum efficiency.

 

You may be interested to know that a summary paper in relation to the role
of the LFB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 was presented to
the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) in late 2012.
This is publicly available via the LFEPA external website here
http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/ and the specific document is here 
[2]http://moderngov.london-fire.gov.uk/mgco...  (FEP
2008 – Summary of the role of the London Fire Brigade in the London 2012
Olympic and Paralympic).”

 

There were subsequent emails on the 3 September 2017 and 6 September 2017
between you and Mr Sivell dealing with the clarifications of our response.
Then on the 20 December 2017 you submitted a request for a review of our
response saying:

 

“First and foremost, you state in your latest response that "we have tried
to provide in our original response, a general and helpful overview to the
process that was put in place by ourselves (and other emergency services)
when planning our involvement in the London 2012 Olympics." This is in
contrast to my original request which requested "all documents you hold in
relation to your planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games." I would
argue that this is a breach of Section 1(a) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, in yourselves having completely ignored my original request and
having provided something other than what was requested.

 

Secondly, you mention that "the most detailed of plans regarding our
involvement would however be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA via
Section 24 – National Security". I do not accept that these would be
exempt from disclosure automatically under Section 24 — in fact, you will
find that the London Ambulance Service disclosed a number of plans
including their CBRN coverage of the Games at [link included].

 

You then go on to say that you "feel that as this information would mimic
that of our response and involvement to similar large scale public events
the information should not be disclosed to the world at large." I would
argue that your planning for the Olympics is much larger than that of any
public event, as highlighted by the enormous amount of work that went into
contingency planning for the Games. As such, I would argue that the
difference would be significant.”

 

I have started my review by first considering whether or not your original
request was reasonable.

 

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has published a range of
guidance for potential requestors so that they can make requests within
the spirt of the Act. The ICO recognises that whilst most people exercise
this right responsibly, a few may misuse or abuse the Act by submitting
requests which are intended to be annoying or disruptive or which have a
disproportionate impact on a public authority. The Information
Commissioner recognises that dealing with unreasonable requests can place
a strain on resources and get in the way of delivering mainstream services
or answering legitimate requests. Furthermore, these requests can also
damage the reputation of the legislation itself.

 

The Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption which is Section
14(1) (“vexatious requests”) which is designed to protect public
authorities by allowing them to refuse any requests which have the
potential to cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption,
irritation or distress.

Section 14(1) may be used in a variety of circumstances where a request,
or its impact on a public authority, cannot be justified. However, the ICO
suggests that public authorities should think carefully before refusing a
request as vexatious and they should not regard Section 14(1) as something
which is only to be applied in the most extreme of circumstances.

 

The ICOs guidance on the use of Section 14(1) lists a range of indicators
to help identify vexatious requests which includes what they call a
“Scattergun approach”. They define scattergun as a request that appears to
be part of a completely random approach, lacks any clear focus, or seems
to have been solely designed for the purpose of ‘fishing’ for information
without any idea of what might be revealed.

 

I am of the view that your original request falls within this definition
of a “scattergun approach” where you asked for “ all documents you hold in
relation to your planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games”. Given the
nature and scale of the Olympic games, this request clearly lacks focus
and it is not clear what you are trying to learn from the request.
Furthermore, given the obvious scale of the event and the likelihood that
the Authority would hold a significant amount of relevant information
within the scope of “… all documents …”; a simple search of our document
management system reveals over 10,000 document which mention the Olympics.
Your request is likely to also meet the vexatious indicator of “Burden on
the authority” which recognises that the effort required to meet the
request will be so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and
resources, that the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no
matter how legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the
requester. This time would be needed to determine which of the documents
we hold were about “planning for” for the Olympics, rather than other
aspects of our work in relation to the Olympics.

 

I am therefore of the opinion that your request falls within the scope of
a vexatious request (S14(1) of the Act) and am refusing your request on
those grounds. This email can therefore be consider a refusal notice under
the Act.

 

Mr Sivell was no doubt mindful of the Authority’s responsibility to help
and support requestors and therefore rather than refusing your request
under Section 14(1), choose to make a reasonable response to your request
and provide you with some high level information.

In Mr Sivell’s reply, he directed you to two documents that set out how
the Authority plan for major events (the Major Incident Procedure Manual)
and the public report which detailed how the Authority manged the Olympics
response (Summary of the London Fire Brigade role in the London 2012
Olympic and Paralympic Games). He also explained that our detailed event
plans would be exempt from disclosure citing FOIA Section 24 – National
Security.

 

If Mr Sivell was looking to engage Section 24 (Section 24(1) provides that
information is exempt if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for
the purposes of safeguarding national security) then he should have gone
on to set out the public interest test as Section 24 is a qualified
exemption.

There is clearly a public interest in knowing that the Authority had
adequate plans and resources in place to deal with an emergency during any
of the Olympic Games events. This interest is, however, met by disclosing
(what are already public documents) the Major Incident Procedure Manual
which explains how emergency responders work together and the summary
report of the London Fire Brigade’s role in the London 2012 Olympic and
Paralympic Games.

 

There is, however, also a real threat to public safety caused by terrorism
and this is heightened at public events where large numbers of people
gather. When a public authority engages Section 24 it must consider that
withholding the information is reasonably necessary to protect national
security and although there has to be a real possibility that the
disclosure would undermine national security, the impact does not need to
be direct or immediate.

 

I am of the view that there is a real threat of terrorism at public events
(as sadly demonstrated at the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017). I am
also of the same view as Mr Sivell, that having the detailed information
about how the Brigade responds to particular types of emergencies and/or
at certain locations could be used to hamper our attendance, or at worse
used to plan and organise an attack on our firefighters. I am clear that
there is both a real possibility that the information would undermine
national security and that the impact is direct.

 

I believe that our engagement of Section 24 is similar to the
circumstances of Avon Fire and Rescue Service when it sought to withhold
“operational intelligence” in 2013. I have attached the ICOs decision
notice on this matter for your information (ICO Decision Notice
FS50501428).

 

I should further add that your further correspondence with Mr Sivell on
the 3 and 6 September add weight to my view that your original request
falls under the description of vexatious where you demonstrate
‘intransigence’ as I believe you have taken an unreasonably entrenched
position, rejecting attempts to assist and advise out of hand and shows no
willingness to engage with the Authority.

 

Might I suggest that if you are able to focus your request on specific
information you require about the planning for the 2012 Olympic Games,
then you might submit another request to us. If you decide to do this,
please be mindful of anything you request that might be impact on national
security, for the reasons I have already explained above.

 

This concludes my review.

 

 

Your request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000. Information about your information rights (including how to raise a
concern or make a compliant) is available from the Information
Commissioner’s Office on their website at www.ico.org.uk or by writing to
them at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

 

David Wyatt
Head of Information Management
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street  London  SE1 0LL
T: 020 8555 1200 x30352
M: 07775 826 404
E: [3][email address]

 

[4]london-fire.gov.uk

 

[5][IMG][6][IMG][7][IMG]

 

 

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