Post-19 July face covering mandate correspondence
Owen Walker made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London
This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am hereby making a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I would like to request a copy of any correspondence you have had with government bodies (e.g. the Department for Transport) or other transport operators or bodies (e.g. the Rail Delivery Group, non-TfL train companies, TfL contracted train operators such as Arriva Rail London Ltd. etc.).
This is in respect of the continuation of the face covering mandate on TfL services beyond 19 July 2021 (or any continuation that had been proposed beyond the originally intended end date of the general mandate on 21 June 2021).
In particular I would be interested in any correspondence relating to the coordinating of policy/mandates, as well as messaging and enforcement.
I appreciate there may be correspondence which relates to the introduction of the general mandate on 15 June 2020. I am only interested in correspondence which relates to the changes which were due to happen/have happened in June/July 2021.
Dear Mr Walker
TfL Ref: 0815-2122
Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 19 July 2021. Please accept my apologies for not getting back to you sooner.
We will aim to issue a response by 13 August 2021in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.
We publish a substantial range of information on our website on subjects including operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.
We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.
In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
Dear Mr Walker
Our Ref: FOI-0815-2122
Thank you for your request received on 16 July 2021 asking for information
about the use of face coverings on our network.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we do hold the information you require.
Throughout the pandemic, TfL has taken its lead from prevailing UK
Government policy, which has been very clear in its communications
relating to the ‘Step 4’ changes (introduced in England on 19 July 2021)
that, although the legal requirement to wear a face covering has been
removed, it (the Government) “still recommends and expects that people
wear face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces where they come into
contact with people they don’t normally meet – such as at airports and on
public or international transport.” On 14 July, the Secretary of State for
Transport stated in a television interview that he “expected, and indeed,
wanted” some train, bus and rail companies to insist on mask-wearing on
their services and he publicly backed the decision to keep the wearing of
them compulsory on London’s public transport services (except for those
who are exempt).
On 15 July 2021, TfL decided to retain the requirement, under paragraph
2.4 of its Conditions of Carriage, for customers and passengers to wear
a face covering on the TfL network. TfL’s decision on 15 July 2021 was
taken under its statutory powers contained in section 173(1), and Schedule
11, paragraphs 1(1) and 32 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (as
amended). The Mayor did not direct TfL to take this decision but requested
it to do so.
A copy of the papers comprising TfL’s decision is enclosed. These papers
contain the information and scientific evidence considered by TfL in
taking this decision:
1. TfL Conditions of Carriage and Byelaws - Face Coverings post 19 July
2021- Memo to the Commissioner
a) Appendix 1 Appendix Commissioner's Memo - Face Coverings on TfL
b) Appendix 2 STAC Advice
c) Appendix 3 Face coverings - HS risk assessment (July 2021)
d) Appendix 4 REqIA Introduction of face coverings 15.7.21
2. Follow up email Howard Carter to TfL Commissioner [Notice to cease
3. Response from Commissioner
In accordance with the FOI Act, some of the information contained in the
attached documents has been removed as it is subject to a statutory
exemption to the right of access to information under section 42. In this
instance the exemption has been applied as some of the information you
have requested relates directly to the seeking, provision, and result of
Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts legally privileged
information, including legal advice, from disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act. There is a very strong element of public interest inbuilt
into the concept of Legal Professional Privilege and this has long been
recognised, by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and
the courts, and it reflects the importance of legal advice being sought,
and given, in confidence as a fundamental condition on which the
administration of justice rests. There is an inherent public interest in
TfL being able to obtain full and frank legal advice, and this is
consistent with TfL’s responsibility to analyse and address legal risks
Additionally, in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection
legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section
40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data
would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle of
Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation which requires all
processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to
disclose this personal information when the individuals have no
expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the
conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.
This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute
exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest
favours use of the exemption.
To provide you with the information you have requested would exceed the
‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.
Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a
request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the
information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other
information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25
per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.
We have estimated that it would cost over £450 to provide a response to
your current request. This is because it is estimated that it would take
in excess of 18 working hours to retrieve and compile the information you
Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with (and therefore
in constant communication with) with various branches of the UK
Government, most notably the Department for Transport (DfT), the
Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), and – within the auspices of
the latter – Public Health England / the UK Health Security Agency.
Concurrently, we have been working closely with a great number of other
transport operators, regulatory authorities and trades bodies both in the
UK and abroad to share best practice and learnings.
We have discussed and prepared for the easing of restrictions, including
the possible need for the continued use of face coverings and any
necessary enforcement. The information you have requested is not centrally
held and will form part of many of the discussions we have had. It is not
possible to extract the requested information from the documentation that
To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450
limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more
easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. If
you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act
request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act
allows you to request recorded information held by us. You should identify
the information that you want as clearly and concisely as you can,
specifying the types of document that you are looking for. You might also
consider limiting your request to a particular period of time or specific
departments of the organisation.
Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a
request for specific documents, we do not have to answer your question if
it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a
judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at
the time of your request.
Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive
your revised request.
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]
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