Londoners could be asked for their views on how to make Transport for London more open and transparent under plans to be discussed next week.
The organisation’s Audit & Assurance committee is to receive a proposal to hold a public consultation “to inform the development” of a new Transparency Strategy setting out how TfL should publish information.
Last year it received 2648 FOI requests, the highest number ever and a 13 per cent increase on 2012/13, from the public, journalists and politicians. The cost of processing these requests exceeded £1m.
Assembly Members have previously indicated that they’ve often been forced to make FOI requests after less formal requests for information have gone unanswered.
The organisation has also been criticised for artificially increasing the number of requests it receives by refusing to provide information on first request only to provide it at a later date.
Earlier this year a release of emails revealed senior managers instructed staff to exclude data from a response filed by this site and require that it make a further request for that information, thereby increasing costs to the taxpayer.
Commitments given by Mayor Boris Johnson in response to a London Assembly report on transparency within City Hall and its agencies led to TfL proactively publishing information on its finances, performance and other aspects of its operations.
It has also agreed to drop the use of secrecy clauses in contracts such as the cycle hire sponsorship deal with Barclays which it repeatedly cited to deny requests for the contract’s publication.
In deciding which information to publish, TfL assessed the areas of its business which attracted the highest number of FOI requests. Early indications suggest this approach may have resulted in a decrease in the number of requests made.
TfL is now seeking to further reduce the number of requests by seeking the public’s views on additional action it can take to place more, useable, information in the public domain.