Uber decision

Steve Elibank made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

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 refused by Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

Please can you publish a full copy of the decision letter in it that you told Uber their licence was not being renewed. https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-...

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

 

 

Dear Mr Elibank

 

TfL Ref: FOI-1589-1718

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 22
September 2017 asking for information about a decision notice.

 

Your request will be processed by the Greater London Authority, TfL and
its subsidiaries to provide you with a response in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

 

A response will be sent to you by 20 October. 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
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]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.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Elibank

 

TfL Ref: FOI-1589-1718

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 22
September 2017 asking for information about a decision notice.

 

Your request his being considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. I
can confirm we do hold the information you require.

 

However, in accordance with Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act
we are still considering the balance of the public interest in relation to
qualified exemptions that apply to the requested information and have not
yet reached a conclusion. The exemption under consideration is section 31.
It is estimated that a decision will be reached by 17 November and I will
write again to inform you of that decision.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for the update and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Elibank

 

TfL Ref: FOI-1589-1718

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 22
September 2017 asking for information about a decision notice.

 

However, the requested information is exempt from disclosure under
s31(1)(c) of the FOI Act which applies where disclosure would, or would be
likely to, prejudice the administration of justice. In addition, to the
extent that some of the information is held in connection with ongoing
investigations by TfL in its role as regulator, we consider that s31(2)(c)
applies where disclosure would be likely to prejudice “the purpose of
ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action
in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise”.

 

We consider disclosure would be likely to cause prejudice to the
administration of justice in two ways. The first way that we consider
prejudice would be likely to be caused is through the effect that
disclosure will have on the effective operation of the appeal process. The
court are considering an appeal, and will hold a directions hearing, at
which the court may be asked to consider whether any of the hearing should
be considered in private rather than in open court, and whether there
should be any restrictions on reporting. Their decision would be
pre-empted, and could be prejudiced by disclosure of the letter of 22
September and supporting materials.

 

Secondly, disclosure would be likely to cause an increase in the number of
enquiries and, potentially, legal submissions from third parties who are
not directly involved in the decision whether to grant Uber an operators
licence. The licensing decision is the subject of an appeal to the courts,
which will require significant specialist resources from TfL’s Legal and
Taxi and Private Hire functions. Although a summary of the licensing
decision has been made public, the appeal will be heard through the
courts, in accordance with a structured and scheduled process that will
allow adequate time for both sides to prepare and submit their arguments
and evidence in accordance with court rules. The disclosure of detailed
information about the licensing decision whilst that licensing decision is
being challenged in the courts will inevitably require the diversion of
these specialist resources to provide answers to the inevitable follow up
questions from third parties at the very time their efforts are most
required for the purposes of the court hearing.

 

In both cases TfL recognises that there is a significant amount of
interest from the public in the outcome of the Uber licensing decision and
the subsequent appeal. Such decisions potentially affect the livelihoods
and choices of many people who live and work in London, and as a public
authority with a regulatory role, TfL expects its decision making to be
transparent and open to scrutiny. Although there is considerable interest
in this decision, not least from the media, it should be borne in mind
that this is a regulatory decision involving a private company, and the
appropriate way to determine what information should be considered in
public should rest with the courts. Since the appeal has now been lodged
with the courts, we consider that the public interest supports the
application of the exemption during the court’s consideration of the
appeal.

 

Ongoing investigations require the free flow of information, which would
almost certainly be restricted if information about the investigation were
made public before its conclusion. This information is protected from
disclosure under s31(2)(c). Disclosure in these circumstances would also
be likely to prejudice future investigations in a similar way as the
investigated party would be less likely to cooperate if a running
commentary were to be given through FOI disclosures. Effective working
between the trade and the regulator relies on a safe space where
information can be shared at a sufficiently early stage, which may avoid
the need for formal enforcement action. Even if enforcement action is
required, the relatively free exchange of information is useful to all
parties.

 

There are benefits to the public as it enables greater oversight of
private hire operators and better scrutiny by the regulator. TfL benefit
because proactive discussion avoids costly enforcement activity, delayed
access to information and increased bureaucracy. Finally, the taxi and
private hire trade benefit from being able to share information in
confidence because it allows them to provide full answers to regulatory
matters whilst protecting their commercial interests.

 

There are public interest arguments in favour of disclosure. We recognise
that there is a public interest in understanding the scope of regulatory
activity, and whether concerns are being sufficiently addressed, as well
as a curiosity about the specific information exchanged. A number of
parties are interested in the effective regulation of Private Hire
Operators, including the travelling public, the Taxi and Private Hire
trade and the drivers themselves.

 

Whilst there is some public interest in disclosure, the balance of the
public interest supports maintenance of the exemption in order to enable
the effective and timely sharing of information between TfL and the taxi
and private hire trade. There is also a public interest in preserving
TfL’s ability‎ to act as an effective regulator (through the sharing of
information), which ensures that the services offered by the trade are
safe and compliant.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Please internal review this because the exemption is not engaged and even if it is the public interst fvours disclosure.

Your reasons for refeusing:
1. Disclosure could interfere with the legal process.
> No it couldn't. This country believes in open justice and the hearing will be run by professional judges who won't bow to public opinon.

2. Disclosure could cause an increase in the numbers of enquiries you receive.
> This is a factor inf avour of disclosure, because it shows the level of public concern. However, actually, if you proacively release information you will have LESS inquiries, not more, because there will be less for people to ask about.

3. There might be more legal submissions if you disclose.
> That is a good thing. The legal process works best if it is fully informed (and the judges can always refuse to accept submissions they don't find helpful).

4. Disclosure would put companies off from cooperating in future.
> Not only is that not true because you have legal powers to investigate (and Parliament decided that those were the powers you should have and no more), in this case all of the material is going to end up in public as part of the inevitable appeal process so this is not a reason that weighs against disclosure now.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Elibank

IRV-118-1718

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 19 November 2017

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following URL:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 15 December 2017. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Advisor
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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Dear FOI,

Where is this please?

Yours sincerely,

Steve Elibank

Dear FOI,

Are you just going to ignore?

Yours sincerely,

Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Elibank

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding, I have been away from the office for 3 weeks and today is my first day back. The Panel are currently taking into account some further information which relates to the information you seek and your complaint and a response will be provided as soon as possible.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]

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Dear FOI,

Can you get on this.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Elibank

FOI, Transport for London

This message has been hidden. Removed from public view as officer accidentally used wrong email signature. Please contact us if you have any questions. If you are the requester, then you may sign in to view the message.

FOI, Transport for London

 

Dear Mr Elibank

 

IRV-118-1718

 

I am contacting you regarding the internal review of your request for
information concerning decision letters relating to Uber. (FOI-1589-1718).
This review has been carried out by an independent panel following your
email of 19 November 2017 regarding the response provided to your Freedom
of Information request. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay
in providing a response.

 

In the course of this review the Panel have taken into account the
circumstances surrounding the information in question at the time your
request was made on 22 September 2017 and also any subsequent
developments. The Panel agree that at the time your request was made,
s31(1)(c) was applied appropriately as there is an ongoing court appeal
and there is an existing process to obtain documents directly from the
court. S31(1)(c) does not exclude information which is available directly
from a Court from being considered against other exemptions and Courts
manage separate decisions on the disclosure of information contained in
documents before it.

 

It is for the Courts to decide what should be public and what should
remain private in connection with ongoing legal proceedings and the Court
is the appropriate place the determine disclosures in relation to the
ongoing appeal brought by Uber as this was a decision TfL made regarding a
private company.

 

The Panel agree that when considering the administration of justice any
burden of dealing with an increase of enquires concerning a Court appeal
is a valid consideration. In this instance when considering the public
interest in relation to a decision TfL have taken in a regulatory capacity
which has generated considerable interest, the Panel agree that it should
be a decision made by the Court as to what is appropriate to be released
into the public domain as part of the appeals process.

 

After full consideration the panel agreed that at the time your request
was made s31(1)(c) was engaged appropriately and your complaint has not
been upheld.

 

However, the Panel are aware that since your request on the 23 September
2017 and your internal review request of 16 November 2017, TfL’s letter
setting out its decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London on 22
September 2017 has been disclosed into the public domain via the LTDA
website.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date
(IRV-118-1718) you can refer the matter to the independent authority
responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act, at the following
address:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website
([1]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

Transport for London

[2][E-bost cais TfL]

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/
2. mailto:[E-bost cais TfL]
3. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/