For background to the FOI request see this post from earlier in March
Response from the Department for Transport
We got a response from the DfT on 24th March denying the request for the actual stats that Southeastern are being measured against.
This request has been declined and the data will not be released.
Two reasons were stated:
1 - Information provided in confidence This was a point blank no without a public interest test
2 - Commercial interests
Ten reasons were cited for why the public interest test failed
Six of them were due to ‘provisional data’
One was about disclosure of ‘commercially sensitive information’ that would ‘give Southeastern’s competitors an advantage’. Which competitors? for the majority of Southeastern users they don’t have a choice of another rail operator. And those that do have the choice get to use another Govia train operating company, which operating equally as poor.
Another was about data provided in confidence, and that the TOC wouldn’t then provide data that wasn’t required under the franchise agreement. In another point this data was classed as ‘highly sensitive commercial information’
But wait…what did the MD say?
However the important part is here - start playback at 16 mins and 30 seconds:
And from my write up of the Radio Kent show:
David: The delay in the FOI is down to the DfT as opposed to ourselves, we want to be more transparent.
Julia: You could just answer the question…
David: This week we’ll publish our customer magazine, with performance targets, and actual performance by line of route, so much more granular information as opposed to a target for Southeastern overall.
Me: The results are there, but have you made your targets available to your consumers?
David: The targets will be published in the customer report this wek
Julia: You’re not going to tell us them now?
David: I haven’t got, there a lot of targets, it’s done by line of route
Julia: You must have an overall target set by the government for punctuality
David: We’ve three different sets of performance targets for the govt: seat capacity, delay minutes (in terms of those we cause for ourselves), and cancellations. There are targets within the franchise to deliver those. The new agreement also includes customer satisfaction and how customers feel…
OK, David kept saying he’s ‘really committed to being more transparent’
And he goes on to talk about the three sets of performance targets - the results of which I have tried to get from DfT.
These are the targets that Southeastern must deliver, and get reported every 4 weeks to the DfT.
I’ve responded to the DfT’s response and asked to clarify if Southeastern also denied the release data - hopefully the response to that wouldn’t be ‘commercially sensitive’ too.
And the Department for Transport
Remember what the DfT/Claire Perry said on 11 September 2014 when the direct franchise award was given to Southeastern?
Tough targets and £70 million investment to ensure major improvements under new South Eastern franchise deal.
We’ve seen those tough targets in the franchise doc, but without the actual results we can’t see how ‘tough’ they in context…
I recognise that LSER has not always met the expectations of passengers and so this agreement contains rigorous satisfaction and performance targets, with financial penalties if they are not met. I am determined that this contract will ensure an improvement for passengers on the franchise.
We aren’t seeing an improvement. PPM is consistently below target - is this reflected in the ‘tough targets’ that Southeastern are being measured against?
Right now the DfT don’t want us to know this, though from the feedback daily from rail users, the service has been continually deteriorating since the franchise was award.
Claire Perry’s letter
Remember this letter?
And this excerpt:
With a new Managing Director in place to lead the company forward; a commitment to building a long term relationship with you, their customers based on trust; financial penalties payable to the Department for poor performance; and a very clear, frequent and transparent level of reporting on how much progress is being made; I am confident that the improvements you need will be delivered.
(I added the bold)
So clear, frequent, and transparent level of reporting.
Which we haven’t seen.
And that the DfT are refusing to be transparent about.
This will only lead to increased anger from rail users that the DfT and Claire Perry are not doing their jobs for the good of the rail user as they keep saying day in and day out.
So will Southeastern be transparent?
I have a meeting with David Statham with my ‘Dartford Rail Travellers Association’ hat on - and will raise this issue there.
Let’s try again
I’ve filed another FOI request to get an understanding of when data is submitted to the DfT, and how much final data they have.
Stay tuned to see how they try and get out of this one.