Recently I asked Transport for London how much Sir Peter Hendy’s regular glossy, full colour, photo-laden and often very dumbed down report to the Transport for London board costs to produce.
As well as answering with a best guess (a reasonable £2-3 per copy depending on length, excluding staff time) TfL also included an unasked for lecture advising that answering an FOI costs “approximately £400”.
Implied in there seems to be the suggestion that answering this request wasn’t a good use of public money.
But there’s the thing – if you politely ask TfL for information via a quick call, email or personal request it doesn’t give it to you.
At the launch of the South West extension members of the Mayor’s office also witnessed me asked Leon Daniels, head of surface transport, for a copy. Leon was clear that one would be sent over once the legal team had had a look and redacted anything that needed to be withheld.
Presumably this is a very long document which is still being checked because a copy has not yet been provided.
I’ve emailed, I’ve reminded Leon in person and yet still I don’t have the document.
Tired of waiting and chasing, in January I made an FOI request which is due for answer today.
That’s £400 TfL could have avoided incurring had its staff and senior managers dealt properly with a perfectly legitimate request for information instead of promising and then failing to deliver.