Oxford City Council and Network Rail/Rail industry

Rabyah Khan made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford City Council

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Oxford City Council.

Dear Oxford City Council,

1. Please can you provide information on what contracts the Council has awarded to

- Network Rail (including any subsidiaries, franchises, representatives or otherwise linked companies) and Oxford City Council

2. Please can you state what the relationship between Oxford City Council and Network Rail (including any subsidiaries, franchises, NR representatives etc.) is

3. Please can you provide minutes and dates of meetings between Oxford City Councillors, council officers and Network Rail (including representatives, franchises, subsidiaries etc.)

4. Please can you provide details of any contracts and/or dealings/communications/relationships/investments between Oxford City Council (cllrs and officers/staff) and rail companies.

Yours faithfully,

Rabyah Khan

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,

Oxford City Council – Reference: 10233

Thank you for your email. Your request was received on 5th July 2021 and you will be sent a response within 20 working days (of receipt) in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000/ Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recognises the unprecedented challenges all are facing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In particular they understand that resources, whether they are finances or people, may be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights work. Whilst the ICO can’t extend statutory timescales, they will not be penalising public authorities for prioritising other areas or adapting their usual approach during this extraordinary period.

Therefore while the Council will make every effort to comply with the Statutory Requirements you may experience understandable delays when making information rights requests during the pandemic.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

show quoted sections

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference: 10233
 
Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your Freedom of
Information Act 2000 request received on 5th July 2021 as follows:
 
1. Please can you provide information on what contracts the Council has
awarded to
 
- Network Rail (including any subsidiaries, franchises, representatives or
otherwise linked companies) and Oxford City Council
 
Oxford City Council and Oxford Direct Services do not have any contracts
with Network Rail or any subsidiaries.
 
2. Please can you state what the relationship between Oxford City Council
and Network Rail (including any subsidiaries, franchises, NR
representatives etc.) is
 
Not applicable
 
3. Please can you provide minutes and dates of meetings between Oxford
City Councillors, council officers and Network Rail (including
representatives, franchises, subsidiaries etc.)
 
Not applicable
 
4. Please can you provide details of any contracts and/or
dealings/communications/relationships/investments between Oxford City
Council (cllrs and officers/staff) and rail companies.
 
Not applicable
 
If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your reply.

Can the Council please explain this press release published on the City Council website on behalf of Network Rail?

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/news/article/1...

Published: Wednesday, 30th June 2021
Press release on behalf of Network Rail

A new study highlighting future opportunities to expand Oxfordshire’s railway and help deliver economic growth to the region has been published.

The Oxfordshire Rail Corridor Study (ORCS) looks in detail at the county’s predicted growth in jobs and housing over the next two decades and presents an industry vision for how the rail network can best support it.

Commissioned and funded jointly by the Department for Transport and the Oxfordshire Growth Board, the study has been produced by Network Rail, with oversight from the Growth Board, in collaboration with industry partners and the County and City Councils, to help develop an overarching strategy for rail development.

The study recommends a number of potential future improvements to support increasing interconnectivity across Oxfordshire. Subject to future funding and viable business cases, these include increasing capacity through Oxford station, reopening the Cowley branch line, plus a new platform and extra services at Hanborough. It also recommends additional infrastructure to provide greater capacity in and around Didcot, including the proposal for a new station at Wantage/Grove, subject to additional main line infrastructure.

It identifies parts of Oxfordshire’s rail network where demand for train services is expected to increase in the medium (2028) and long-term (2033), giving recommendations for how this additional demand could be met. This includes improving connections between Oxfordshire’s seven growth hubs, as well as improving the city’s connections with Birmingham, Reading and Bristol.

The study cites a predicted 70% increase in services across Oxfordshire, which was calculated prior to the emergence of the COVID pandemic. While the impact of the pandemic on future passenger numbers and demand for services is still emerging, the study’s recommendations are considered critical to supporting growth and connectivity across the county in general over the longer term.

It also identifies increasing capacity at Oxford station as a vital first step to opening up the network for further growth. Last month, the Department for Transport confirmed £69m of funding for the next stage of the Oxford Corridor Capacity Phase 2 project. This latest investment will increase capacity and journey times on this key route, as well as further develop plans for a new platform and western entrance to inform a funding bid later this year. These improvements will enable more trains to serve the station in the future and create more access for passengers.

The study’s recommendations have now been drawn together to form an overarching industry strategy for the county known as ‘Oxfordshire Connect’, which will be used to decide future investment priorities and help seek future funding through the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) and third parties. Work is already underway on some of the priority projects that have been identified, with the aim of progressing them to the next stage of business case development.

“Oxfordshire plays a central role in the national rail network, linking the south to the midlands for the movement of passengers and freight. This vital study maps out the county’s future to ensure the railway keeps pace with the expected growth and continues to deliver for the communities it serves.”

Mike Gallop, Western Route Director

“This is an important study for mapping out the future needs of Oxfordshire’s rail network as we build back better after Covid-19.

“As new jobs are created and new houses are built, and with its central location in our nation’s rail freight lines, Oxfordshire’s railways will continue to play a key role in the wider network.

“Modernising and upgrading our vital transport links is critical to unleashing our economy and spreading opportunity.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister

“We welcome the publication of the Rail Corridor Study, which reinforces the importance of railways as a backbone for travel in Oxfordshire and beyond, with potential for future expansion to provide the transport infrastructure Oxfordshire needs to support planned growth. We already know that investment is planned and this study highlights the need for more to come, including new opportunities like passenger services on the Cowley branch line, a new station at Wantage/Grove, and potential future projects connecting communities across the County to rail services. This will help make public transport convenient, reliable, affordable and a realistic alternative to car journeys for many people – with knock on benefits for family time and household budgets, traffic jams, the environment and air quality.”

Councillor Duncan Enright, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy at Oxfordshire County Council

“This report heralds the start of a rail renaissance for Oxford and the rest of the county. It will set our city at the heart of an enhanced network that will open up rail travel to our city centre for many more local people with the creation of the Cowley Branch Line and new stations at Begbroke and Grove. It should make the train the vehicle of choice for getting to Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Heathrow or further afield. And it will also help unlock the West End of Oxford and the creation there of a new mixed housing and innovation district.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

"We're delighted to see this study published today. With additional investment in the railway infrastructure as outlined in the report, this will pave the way to improve rail services for our customers and provide the opportunity to offer a wider range of direct, faster journeys from Oxford and stations in the County."

John Czyrko, Head of Network Strategy, GWR

“Since 2015, Chiltern Railways has led the way in supporting growth in Oxfordshire, doubling the track from Bicester to Oxford and building the new Oxford Parkway station in a £320m investment, providing fast and frequent services between Oxford and London Marylebone. We are pleased to have supported the development of this important study that clearly sets out what investment is required for the railway to continue supporting the economic success of Oxfordshire, and the wider region. This report makes clear that reopening the Cowley branch line should be a priority for investment in the next few years, and we look forward to working with our partners to make the case for continued investment in the railway to support jobs, development, and the economic recovery from Covid-19 in Oxfordshire and beyond."

Richard Allan, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways

ENDS [added by me]

Yours sincerely,

Rabyah Khan

Dear freedomofinformation,

Can I have an update on this FOI please?

Yours sincerely,

Rabyah Khan

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,

Thank you for your email. I am still waiting for further information from the departments, which I have chased again today. I will respond as soon as I am able

Apologies for any inconvenience.

Kind regards

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

show quoted sections

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,
 
Further to the email below, I am writing to let you know that the
Authority requires further information.  Section 1. (3) (a) of the FOIA
provides that
 
“Where a public authority -
 
(a) reasonably requires further information in order to identify and
locate the information requested, and
(b) has informed the applicant of that requirement,
 
the authority is not obliged to comply with subsection (1) unless it is
supplied with that further information.”
 
You have requested information:
 
Many thanks for your reply to my FOI.
 
Can you clarify the following:
 
1. Does Oxford City Council have any connections to rail industry
spokespeople, representatives or associated bodies?
 
2. If it does, what is the nature of those relationships/connections? 
 
3. If OCC does have connections to the rail industry as described in 1.,
please can you provide times and dates of all communications between
councillors, officers and anyone else the Council is legally accountable
for. Please also provide minutes of any meetings. 
 
Is it possible to narrow the request? This is extremely open ended. For
example- are you wanting correspondence that relates to a specific element
e.g. a specific time period or subject/project?
 
To look through all correspondence the Council has ever had with the rail
industry will take a very long time to gather and will cover several
projects.
 
Are you able to clarify what information it is that you wish to receive
please?
 
It would be helpful if you could be more specific in describing the
information you require.
 
Should the Council not receive a response to this email by 31^st August 
2021, your additional request for clarification will be closed
accordingly.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [1][email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your response.

Please see my answers below.

Is it possible to narrow the request? This is extremely open ended. For
example- are you wanting correspondence that relates to a specific element
e.g. a specific time period or subject/project?

------Time period: January 2015-present.

To look through all correspondence the Council has ever had with the rail
industry will take a very long time to gather and will cover several
projects.

Are you able to clarify what information it is that you wish to receive
please?

------- Minutes of meetings.

Yours sincerely,

Rabyah Khan

Dear Oxford City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Oxford City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Oxford City Council and Network Rail/Rail industry'.

This request is still outstanding.

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

Yours faithfully,

Rabyah Khan

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,

Oxford City Council – Reference:10233

Thank you for your email.

At this stage we are not treating this as an internal review.

We are awaiting information from third parties before we can respond to your request.

Apologies for any inconvienience

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

show quoted sections

Dear Oxford City Council,

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

I am again writing to request an internal review of Oxford City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Oxford City Council and Network Rail/Rail industry'.

This FOI is overdue.

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

Yours faithfully,

Rabyah Khan

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,

Oxford City Council – Reference:10233

Thank you for your email.

At this stage it is not appropriate to treat this as an internal review.

We are waiting for information from third parties before we can respond to your request. Which I have chased again today.

Apologies for any inconvenience

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

By law, this request should have been completed by now.

It is long overdue.

Please send me what you have ASAP and conduct an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Rabyah Khan

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Rabyah Khan,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:10233
 
Further to the email below, I can respond in accordance with the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) as follows:
 
Your clarification received on  the 17^th August 2021 was:
Rail industry- Minutes of meetings.
Time period: January 2015-present.
 
As you know I was waiting for information from third parties. Whilst you
have already requested an internal review because of the delay in
responding, one has not been carried out at this point in time. If you
still require an internal review please let us know.
 
Under Regulation 5 (1) of the EIR I can confirm that the Council does hold
the draft minutes and the names/contact details contained in the minutes
however, the Council considers that the documents contains confidential
and commercially sensitive and  personal information.  I therefore
consider that exceptions under Regulation 12 (4)(d),12(5)(e) and 13(1) of
the EIR are engaged.
 
12(4)(d) 
 
I can confirm that the Council does hold the draft minutes, however. I
therefore consider that Regulation 12(4)(d) is engaged.
Regulation 12(4)(d) is engaged when the request relates to material that
is still in the course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete
data.
Material which is still in the course of completion can include
information created as part of the process of formulating and developing
policy, where the process is not complete. Draft documents are unfinished
even if the final version has been produced.
 
 
Public Interest test
 
Regulation 12 (4) (d) is a qualified exception which means that
information is exempt from disclosure if it passes the public interest
test.  I have therefore applied the public interest test i.e.
notwithstanding this exception, is there a greater public interest in
providing the information or in maintaining the exception?  This test
requires me to consider whether the public interest in disclosure
outweighs the importance of the principle of copyright.  In this instance
by disclosing the draft documentation would not be of any benefit, as it
would be ‘work in progress’ and incomplete. This would include information
which is in draft form or negotiations, permitting the Project Team a
‘safe space’ and a ‘thinking space’ to consider the plan and potential
solutions in advance of publication. It is likely to be changed as a
consequence.  The relevant ICO guidance for this exception can be found
at: [1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
I therefore consider that maintaining the exception not to release the
document outweighs the public interest to disclose.
 
 
Under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) 
Regulation 12(5)(e) states:

12.—(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may
refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would
adversely affect—
(e) the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such
confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic
interest

 
Public Interest test
 
Regulation 12 (5) (e) is a qualified exception which means that
information which is considered to be confidential is exempt from
disclosure if it passes the public interest test.  I have therefore
applied the public interest test i.e. notwithstanding this exception, is
there a greater public interest in providing the information or in
maintaining the exception?  This test requires me to consider whether the
public interest in disclosure outweighs the importance of the principle of
the confidentiality of commercial information. The project is in draft
form as we work up to consultation. These meetings are very much
discussing draft and commercially sensitive information. We intend of
consult on the project and at the at point relevant information would be
finalised into a publicly accessible format.
 
I therefore consider that maintaining the exception not to release the
report outweighs the public interest to disclose the information.
 
 
13.— Personal data
 
(1)  To the extent that the information requested includes personal data
of which the applicant is not the data subject, a public authority must
not disclose the personal data if—
(a)  the first condition is satisfied, or
(b)  the second or third condition is satisfied and, in all the
circumstances of the case, the public interest in not disclosing the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.
 
 
(2A)  The first condition is that the disclosure of the information to a
member of the public otherwise than under these Regulations—
(a)  would contravene any of the data protection principles, or
(b)  would do so if the exemptions in section 24(1) of the Data Protection
Act 2018 (manual unstructured data held by public authorities) were
disregarded.
(2B)  The second condition is that the disclosure of the information to a
member of the public otherwise than under these Regulations would
contravene—
(a)  Article 21 of the GDPR (general processing: right to object to
processing), or
(b)  section 99 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (intelligence services
processing: right to object to processing).
 
(3A)  The third condition is that—
(a)  on a request under Article 15(1) of the GDPR (general processing:
right of access by the data subject) for access to personal data, the
information would be withheld in reliance on provision made by or under
section 15, 16 or 26 of, or Schedule 2, 3 or 4 to, the Data Protection Act
2018,
(b)  on a request under section 45(1)(b) of that Act (law enforcement
processing: right of access by the data subject), the information would be
withheld in reliance on subsection (4) of that section, or
(c)  on a request under section 94(1)(b) of that Act (intelligence
services processing: rights of access by the data subject), the
information would be withheld in reliance on a provision of Chapter 6 of
Part 4 of that Act.
(5A)  For the purposes of this regulation a public authority may respond
to a request by neither confirming nor denying whether such information
exists and is held by the public authority, whether or not it holds such
information, to the extent that—
(a)  the condition in paragraph (5B)(a) is satisfied, or
(b)  a condition in paragraph (5B)(b) to (e) is satisfied and in all the
circumstances of the case, the public interest in not confirming or
denying whether the information exists outweighs the public interest in
doing so.
(5B)  The conditions mentioned in paragraph (5A) are—
(a)  giving a member of the public the confirmation or denial—
(i)  would (apart from these Regulations) contravene any of the data
protection principles, or
(ii)  would do so if the exemptions in section 24(1) of the Data
Protection Act 2018 (manual unstructured data held by public authorities)
were disregarded;
(b)  giving a member of the public the confirmation or denial would (apart
from these Regulations) contravene Article 21 of the GDPR or section 99 of
the Data Protection Act 2018 (right to object to processing);
(c)  on a request under Article 15(1) of the GDPR (general processing:
right of access by the data subject) for confirmation of whether personal
data is being processed, the information would be withheld in reliance on
a provision listed in paragraph (3A)(a);
(d)  on a request under section 45(1)(a) of the Data Protection Act 2018
(law enforcement processing: right of access by the data subject), the
information would be withheld in reliance on subsection (4) of that
section;
(e)  on a request under section 94(1)(a) of that Act (intelligence
services processing: rights of access by the data subject), the
information would be withheld in reliance on a provision of Chapter 6 of
Part 4 of that Act.
 
(6)  In determining for the purposes of this regulation whether the
lawfulness principle in Article 5(1)(a) of the GDPR would be contravened
by the disclosure of information, Article 6(1) of the GDPR (lawfulness) is
to be read as if the second sub-paragraph (disapplying the legitimate
interests gateway in relation to public authorities) were omitted.
 
If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [2][email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [3][email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 

show quoted sections