NMM Inspections

Mr D Swift made this Freedom of Information request to Highways Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Highways Agency,

I would like to take this opportunity and use the Freedom of
Information Act

Please can you supply the Inspection Reports
As detailed in the NETWORK MANAGEMENT MANUAL,
Chapter 3.1.2 (Inspections)
For the M1 between Junctions 37 and 38
For the last twelve months will be fine but any more would be
greatly appreciated.
The area of the NMM inspections I am most concerned about is
3.3 Drainage
3.3.1 General
Adequate drainage facilities must be present and operate correctly.

Please do not supply details of any other type of inspection because I do not require these details

Earlier inspection reports you have supplied showed (X) defects with no mention of the defect in question.
I would like to know how a blocked drain or an uncleaned gutter are reported, so these defects can be rectified by a cleaning team at a later date.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Derek Swift

This is an automated response:
 
Thank you for your email to the Highways Agency.
 
If you are reporting a real time incident which requires immediate
attention please call the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123
5000.
 
The Highways Agency is responsible for operating, maintaining and
improving the Strategic Road Network in England on behalf of the Secretary
of State for Transport.  This consists of the Motorway network and the
Major Trunk roads. A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be
found here
[1]http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/...
 
If your email relates to an issue which is not on the strategic road
network, for example a suburban, local or residential road, you should
forward your email to the relevant Local Authority who should be able to
assist you. You can find details of Local Authorities using the search
facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
 
Your email will be passed to the relevant team within the Highways Agency
and they will respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.
 
If you have made a request under the Freedom of Information Act your
request will be dealt with in line with our guidelines which are published
here: [3]http://www.highways.gov.uk/freedom-of-in...
 
Yours sincerely
 
Highways Agency Information Line

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Calvert, Tim,

53 Attachments

Dear Mr Swift
 

I am writing to confirm that we have now completed our search for the
information, which you requested on 25 July.

 

The information is attached and comprises copies of the yearly long stop
inspection reports and copies of the weekly safety inspection records. We
are unable to provide the daily safety patrol reports as we have estimated
that keeping this part of your request in scope would exceed 24 hours work
(£600) and therefore fall under Section 12 of the FOI Act. Section 12 of
the Act does not oblige the Highways Agency to comply with requests that
exceed this limit. 

 

In response to your query I have summarised our process for dealing with
defects below:

 

Defects identified are allocated a priority category depending on the
severity.

Cat 1 defects require a make safe action within 24 hours and a permanent
repair within 28 days. They are actioned as a priority response and
a Tactical Incident response Team (TIRT) is mobilised where possible to
deal with these.

Cat 2.1 defects generally have to be repaired within 6 months. These
are generally programmed for repair in co-ordination with other works.

Cat 2.2 are not detrimental to the asset and usually go into schemes for
repair. They are monitored during inspections and if necessary may be
escalated to higher category eg. in the case of significant further
deterioration.

In keeping with the spirit and effect of the legislation, all information
is assumed to be releasable to the public unless exempt. We may therefore
be publishing the information you requested, together with any related
information that will provide a key to its wider context, via our website:
[1]http://www.highways.gov.uk/

 

 If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you may ask
for an internal review. Our internal review process is available at:

[2]http://www.highways.gov.uk/foicomplaints

 

If you require a print copy, please phone the Highways Agency Information
Line on 0300 123 5000; or e-mail [3][Highways Agency request email] . You
should contact me if you wish to complain.

 

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 can be contacted at:

           

            Information Commissioner’s Office

            Wycliffe House

            Water Lane

            Wilmslow

            Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

If you have any queries about this email please don't hesitate to contact
me or my colleague Derek Cotton.

 

 

Regards 

Tim

 
Tim Calvert, Service Delivery Manager (South Yorkshire)
Highways Agency | Lateral | 8 City Walk | Leeds | LS11 9AT
Tel: +44 (0) 113 2835382 | Mobile: + 44 (0) 7770700315
Web: [4]http://www.highways.gov.uk
GTN: 5173 5382

Safe roads, reliable journeys, informed travellers
Highways Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Transport.
 

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Dear Highways Agency,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Highways Agency's handling of my FOI request 'NMM Inspections'.

Please thank the officer who provided the information but if I copy the question again...

"The area of the NMM inspections I am most concerned about is
3.3 Drainage
3.3.1 General
Adequate drainage facilities must be present and operate correctly.
Please do not supply details of any other type of inspection
because I do not require these details
Earlier inspection reports you have supplied showed (X) defects
with no mention of the defect in question.
I would like to know how a blocked drain or an uncleaned gutter are
reported, so these defects can be rectified by a cleaning team at a
later date"

I would like you to explain during the internal review how the spreadsheet you supplied as an answer provides the details I require.

I only require two details
1 Identification of the blocked drain not an anonymous defect
2 Cleaning log of when the blocked drain that has been identified during the inspection was actually cleaned.

I am very sorry if my request was not clear enough, but I have a feeling that you do not have this info to hand and that is why you are just supplying an unreadable meaningless spreadsheet that tells me none of the details I require.

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

Yours faithfully,

Mr D Swift

This is an automated response:
 
Thank you for your email to the Highways Agency.
 
If you are reporting a real time incident which requires immediate
attention please call the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123
5000.
 
The Highways Agency is responsible for operating, maintaining and
improving the Strategic Road Network in England on behalf of the Secretary
of State for Transport.  This consists of the Motorway network and the
Major Trunk roads. A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be
found here
[1]http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/...
 
If your email relates to an issue which is not on the strategic road
network, for example a suburban, local or residential road, you should
forward your email to the relevant Local Authority who should be able to
assist you. You can find details of Local Authorities using the search
facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
 
Your email will be passed to the relevant team within the Highways Agency
and they will respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.
 
If you have made a request under the Freedom of Information Act your
request will be dealt with in line with our guidelines which are published
here: [3]http://www.highways.gov.uk/freedom-of-in...
 
Yours sincerely
 
Highways Agency Information Line

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
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Peter Silverman left an annotation ()

This annotation is to help the Highways Agency deal with Mr Swift's request for an internal review.

Mr Swift is clearly interested in seeing inspection reports which might show where action is required to rectify any drainage problems and how blocked drains and un-cleared gutters are reported and dealt with.

As far as I can see the words "drain", "drainage", "gutter" or "gulley" do not appear in any of the information you have supplied.

It is not clear whether or not you hold the information being requested. You may therefore be in default of your duty under FOIA 1(1) to "confirm or deny” whether information is held.

There are two possibilities. Either the relevant information exists but is included in the documentation which you have refused on cost grounds or you do not hold the information.

In the latter case it would mean that for the times and locations specified in the request you have no inspection reports which refer to drainage etc and that you have no documented procedures for reporting and dealing with "blocked drains" or "un-cleared gutters".

If however the information is contained in the documents refused on cost grounds then you should have provided "advice and assistance" to Mr Swift, as required by S16 of the FOI Act, enabling him to modify his request so that his requirements could be met within the costs limits.

In summary you need to provide advice and assistance or confirm that the information is not held.

I hope this is of help.

Peter Silverman
www.cleanhighways.co.uk

Dear HAIL,

By law you should have conducted the internal review and replied within twenty days.
Please respond immediately with the reason why this has not happened and be under no illusion that I will take this matter further if you continue to ignore me.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D Swift

FOI Advice,

Dear Mr Swift

The ICO allows Public Authorities up to 40 working days to conduct internal reviews as outlined in their Freedom of Information Guidance No.5. Please be assured that the Highways Agency is fully aware of the FOI complaints review process and It is intended that your case will be completed prior to this. I hope to issue a reply within the next couple of weeks and will keep you informed of progress in the meantime.

Regards,

Nick
Highways Agency FOI Team

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Peter Silverman left an annotation ()

Time to deal with a request for an internal review.
----------------------------------------------------------------

Advice for the Highways Agency
---------------------------------------------

The Freedom of Information Good Practice Guidance No. 5 can be seen via this link:
www.ico.org.uk/upload/documents/library/...

It says:
...............................
In view of all the above the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In those circumstances, the public authority should, as a matter of good practice, notify the requester and explain why more time is needed.

In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days. In such cases we would expect a public authority to be able to demonstrate that
it had commenced the review procedure promptly following receipt of the request for review and had actively worked on the review throughout that period.
..............................

However you not explained to Mr Swift the exceptional circumstances that apply which require you to take more than 20 days to complete the review.

You should now do so and confirm that you commenced the review promptly and have been actively working worked on it continuously since them.

Advice for Mr Swift
-------------------------

I would recommend you send a further communication via this web site to the Agency drawing their attention to my two annotations and asking them to take them into account in considering your request for an internal review. Otherwise they might overlook them.

Peter Silverman
www.cleanhighways.co.uk

Dear Nick
Highways Agency FOI Team,

The FOI guidance quite clearly states

In view of all the above the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In those circumstances, the public authority should, as a matter of good practice, notify the requester and explain why more time is needed.

Your extreme use of the time limits allowed has previously been noted and I would like you to explain why more time is needed for such a simple case.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D Swift

FOI Advice,

Dear Mr Swift

I would be grateful if you could be more specific about the exact location of the blocked drain you are requiring information on between Junction 37-38 of the M1.

I can confirm that Managing Agents do hold records of drainage defects and with more specific location details the Highways Agency should be able to correctly identify the blocked drain on this section of Motorway.

Regards,

Nick
Highways Agency FOI Team

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Dear Nick FOI Advice,

There is not a singular blocked drain and that is not the purpose of my FOI request.
The only purpose for....

"The area of the NMM inspections I am most concerned about is
3.3 Drainage
3.3.1 General
Adequate drainage facilities must be present and operate correctly.
Please do not supply details of any other type of inspection
because I do not require these details
Earlier inspection reports you have supplied showed (X) defects
with no mention of the defect in question.
I would like to know how a blocked drain or an uncleaned gutter are
reported, so these defects can be rectified by a cleaning team at a
later date"

I would like you to explain during the internal review how the
spreadsheet you supplied as an answer provides the details I
require.

I only require two details
1 Identification of the blocked drain not an anonymous defect
2 Cleaning log of when the blocked drain that has been identified
during the inspection was actually cleaned.

.....Is that I want to know if any drains or gullies are cleaned or are forms just filled in fraudulently to say they have been cleaned by MAC's with no other aim other than profit.

Your stalling tactics have been noted, there is no need in law for me to reply at this stage, I am just being polite.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D Swift

Mark Goodge left an annotation ()

I suspect the answer you're going to get (certainly, the one I'd expect) is that there are no written records of defects beyond the simple fact that they exist.

The inspection records show locations that need attention, the maintenance crews go to those locations and fix the visible defects, and then a later inspection shows no defect. That's how the system works.

It would only be recorded in detail if it's something more than a simple problem which can be resolved by the next routine maintenance visit.

Your request also makes the assumption that there are separate inspections, and hence separate records, for blocked drains as opposed to any other kind of defect. That, too, is almost certainly a false assumption. The inspection team will report all the locations that need attention, irrespective of the type of attention needed, and the maintenance crew will then fix everything that needs attention, irrespective of the type of attention needed.

I don't think that the response from the Highways Agency has been particularly clear, and it would have helped a lot if they'd given some background information about how their inspection and maintenance programme works. But you're not helping yourself by insisting on getting information in a form which almost certainly does not exist.

Peter Silverman left an annotation ()

Advice for Highways Agency
-----------------------------

You should I think answer the question posed in Mr Swift's communication of 5th October. He said: "I would like you to explain why more time is needed for such a simple case"

If you feel his request was not sufficiently specific you should not have taken 10 weeks to ask for clarification.

You are now saying "that Managing Agents do hold records of drainage defects". He is however not asking for "records of drainage defects". He is asking for "the Inspection Reports As detailed in the NETWORK MANAGEMENT MANUAL, Chapter 3.1.2 (Inspections) For the M1 between Junctions 37 and 38"

He could not be more specific.

Your reply does not satisfy the requirements laid down in my annotation of 3rd October. You are not providing advice and assistance and you have not confirmed whether or not the information, i.e the reports, are held.

Advice for Mr Swift
--------------------

You do not have to give the reasons for your request. Best not to question the motives of the Agency and/ or the contractors. The Agency might use your comments as an excuse for not supplying the info. You have the moral high ground and should hold it.

Peter Silverman
www.cleanhighways.co.uk

David Kear left an annotation ()

Dear Mark Goodge
So the inspector says there are unspecified defects at a location and a repair team are despatched some time never, when they eventually arrive at the location they don't know what defect they are looking for, little or no training assists this confusion, they don't actually know what a blocked drain looks like, so they leave the location without doing a defect repair but they fill in their daily log as defect cleared, job done.
Now I understand why there are so many defects on my local motorway.

FOI Advice,

Dear Mr Swift

I am pleased to inform you that I have now completed my response to you
Freedom of Information request and you will be able to find this
published in the FOI Disclosure Log on the Highways Agency website.

Please find below a link to the website.

[1]http://www.highways.gov.uk/foi?year=2013

Your Sincerely,

Nick

Highways Agency FOI Team

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Dear Nick
FOI Advice,

Many thanks for your reply

It has given me and possibly onlookers a bigger insight into the antics of the HA or primarily your MAC's
Although I'm still not sure what happens if the inspector doesn't spot the defect in the first place.
I would like to know who phoned in the defect for the attachment you have supplied. Was it staff or the public.
The HA and its contractors seem to use an inordinate amount of free
assistance from the general public whilst the inspectors do as little as possible.

That aside, I would be glad to give a marker point as reference on any of my reports but there are some problems with this;
1/ I need a spotter or a driver to be able to identify the post whilst traveling at a safe motorway speed.
2/ A large number of the marker posts have no numbers.
3/ Some marker posts have individual numbers missing.
4/ Some have photographically negative numbers.
5/ Some are just difficult to read at speed.
6/Some posts are damaged, leaning or twisted.
7/ Some posts are missing.

I intend to use some of your suggestions from the reply and enter another FOI as a test case, on a newly reopened stretch of motorway in my area.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D Swift

FOI Advice,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Swift

Thank You for your comments regarding marker posts, please be assured I will pass these on to the team. In terms of reporting defects if it is of any help then the blue driver location signs will be sufficient for identification of defects. These signs are also currently installed on the M1 J37-38 and will have been installed on the recently upgraded stretch of motorway you are interested in. Giving this location will be more than sufficient for any future request you make for data. Further, please don't worry to much about identifying the marker post, if you are requiring the log for a particular day then we should be able to supply a list of defects for a particular day from between two junctions. I hope that this is of some use for submitting a request along the upgraded stretch of motorway in your area. As additional information I have attached the Current Interim Advice Note on Driver Location Signs in case it is of any interest.

Finally, I can confirm in the case sent to you it was a member of staff who phoned in the defect.

Regards,

Nick
HA FOI Team

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