Transport for London failed to answer almost 400 Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests in time last year.
The capital’s transport authority received 2,501 requests in 2011/12 of which it answered 2,124 (85%) within the statutory deadlines. It also claimed exemption for at least 118 requests during the same period.
Figures provided to MayorWatch show that the number of FOI and EIR requests to TfL has doubled from 1,267 in 2008/09 to 2,501 in 2011/12.
In 2008/09 81% of all requests were answered within statutory deadlines, this number fell to 71% in 2009/10 and 78% in 2010/11.
The number of exemptions TfL claims has also increased from 99 to 118, although the figure has fallen from its 2010/11 peak when 144 requests were denied.
However the true 2011/12 figure could be much higher as TfL say the figures provided do “not include requests managed by London Underground Customer Services, as the number of those requests which involved the use of an exemption or exception was not recorded.”
TfL has declined to say how long it took to answer those requests not resolved within the deadlines.
In its response to this site TfL claimed its lack of central record keeping meant the cost of providing this information “would exceed the FOI cost limit of £450”.
Justifying its refusal TfL said: “retrieving this information, from a number of different databases and customer relationship management systems, would require substantial manual effort, as each overdue case would have to be identified, prior to relevant records being retrieved (sometimes from systems which are no longer in regular use) and checked to establish how many days late a request was replied to.”
It has also declined to provide details of any internal reviews into its response rates and times and denied having “produced any action plans to improve its compliance with the requirements of the FOI Act or the EIR.”
The number of FOI and EIR requests made to TfL
The number of FOI requests TfL claimed exemption for
The number of responses provided within statutory deadlines
2011/12: 2124 FOI and EIR requests were replied to within the statutory deadline (85 per cent of all requests)
2010/11: 1556 FOI and EIR requests were replied to within the statutory deadline (78 per cent of all requests)
2009/10: 1035 FOI and EIR requests were replied to within the statutory deadline (71 per cent of all requests)
2008/09: 1026 FOI and EIR requests were replied to within the statutory deadline (81 per cent of all requests)