Dear Department for Transport,
Request for Information
I am making this request for information on behalf of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign. The Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign (CLC) was formed on July 4th 2017 in response to the RNLI’s decision to strip New Quay of its All-weather Lifeboat in 2020, replacing it with an Atlantic 85 inshore vessel.
The community-driven CLC action group is made up of representatives of local fishermen, boat trip operators, yacht clubs, rowing clubs, long-time fundraisers, and other committed supporters of New Quay Lifeboat Station. There are also crew members in the group, independently supporting the campaign in their own right. We have over 25,000 petition signatures.
Our MP is building up cross-party political support in Westminster; the Leader of the House of Commons and members of the House of Lords have already backed our campaign. We have support too from a growing number of Welsh Assembly Members, including the Presiding Officer, and the unanimous backing of Ceredigion County Council. The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, the Welsh Fisherman’s Association, and a wide range of other groups, associations, communities, and influential individuals across the UK have also offered their support.
When the decision was announced, 14 months ago it came as a shock to many as it was unexpected. We have not been able to identify a single organisation or individual that has been consulted specifically about the removal of the all weather lifeboat. From the outset we have been asking to see what evidence of any consultation that has taken place but the RNLI has refused to provide us with any evidence.
This decision has caused significant concern and leaves many along the coast feeling vulnerable. Nobody understands this decision and the RNLI has refused to provide us with any of the information surrounding how they have arrived at a decision of this magnitude. Not only does it depart from the status quo of over 150 years but also makes the objectives detailed in their ‘Plans and Purpose’ document unachievable in Cardigan Bay.
As an authority you must consider the relative weight of the arguments for and against disclosure. There can be little prejudice in disclosing the information as the decision has already been arrived at. This decision is fairly recent so all the information should be easily accessible. Crucially, the information we have requested will inform us to what extent the RNLI has consulted with its principal stakeholder and further our understanding of how this decision has been arrived at. This information is not available from any other source and is not in the public domain as the RNLI is refusing to be transparent and accountable.
There is a public interest in transparency and accountability, to promote public understanding and to safeguard democratic processes. There is a public interest in good decision-making by public bodies, in upholding standards of integrity, in ensuring justice and fair treatment for all, in securing the best use of public resources and in ensuring fair commercial competition in a mixed economy.
Further to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we request the following disclosure:
a. Any evidence of any consultation that may have taken place to ascertain whether your department was consulted, and if so to what extent prior to the release of the RNLI's proposed plans to reduce the all-weather lifeboat cover in Cardigan Bay. If available, to include
(i) the 'document set' that the RNLI should have provided to you. These documents define in detail the presumed mitigations and controls in place to ensure the level of risk to the UK Search and Rescue team (including your employees and staff) remains extant - despite the withdrawal of the All-Weather Lifeboat stationed at New Quay, Cardiganshire.
(ii) the RNLI documents should take the form of a Safety Case, Hazard Log and/or Risk Register - or possibly an overview of the processes the RNLI claim exist (or will exist) to ensure the level of risk to Service Personnel, Civil Servants and Government Employees (or employees of third-party companies providing UK government-provided services) remains at a level not below that of 'As Low As Reasonably Practicable' (ALARP).
(iii) any similar documentation (redacted, if necessary) that outlines any extra mitigations (out-with those suggested by the RNLI,) that will be provided by the Responsible/Accountable Managers or Operational Duty Holders (or equivalent) of your organisation."
b. Any evidence to ascertain whether your organisation remains engaged as a key stakeholder in this process.
Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign
Dear Ms Powell,
I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which
has been allocated reference number P0016412.
A response will be issued to you in due course.
Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
Please find attached the Department for Transport’s response to the FOI
request placed by Sara Powell on 21/08/18 about the RNLI’s decision to
remove lifeboat coverage at Ceredigion.
[IMG] Liam Cox
Policy Adviser, Maritime Safety, Maritime
Infrastructure, People, Services and Safety Division
2/33, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR
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