I was curious to know more behind the TfL FOI situation whereby they are discouraging requests. This was understandable early in the pandemic when they were running an essential service but a year on it’s beginning to feel like an excuse to reduce an inconvenient cost centre.
Perhaps I’m being unfair; I’m sure you’ll tell me if so! Is it to do with the FOI team, or the teams they need to reach out to? Is the issue that ongoing self isolation leads to reduced staffing (I would expect much of this work could be done remotely), or are they just hoping to save money while in a financial pickle? And do they expect to restore normal service in the foreseeable future?
As with many things there isn’t a clear answer. My understanding is that the FOI team are largely working from home. Many requests do require input from other parts of the organisation, and often require access to files which are currently in buildings not being staffed. Furthermore some of the operational areas are under a lot of stress and isolation is causing issues. You can’t drive a train from home!
That makes sense, especially the stuff about accessing offline materials and staff being stretched across teams. I note multiple lines are often unavailable due to staff shortages especially on weekends, so FOI is a distant relation of essentialness by comparison. I guess I’d better cut some slack for a bit longer (much to the relief of the team who would otherwise receive my frivolous not critical requests!)