In relation to your response to my claim, I have a number of queries and requests for information which I am entitled to make under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. I would respectfully ask that this information is provided to me within the timescales which are clearly set out within the legislation.
In paragraph two of the above referenced letter, you state that “The A77 is maintained by Scotland TranServ and, under the terms of the contract with the Scottish Ministers…”
1. In relation to this statement, I have two requests:
(i) TranServ’s website http://www.scotlandtranserv.co.uk/ states “Scotland TranServ manages and maintains…”. The Company’s responsibility is, therefore, not simply to maintain the roads within the provisions of your contract, but, also to manage the roads. Management of a road implies a far wider responsibility than simply maintenance and I request clarification that TranServ Scotland does indeed have management responsibility in this regard. If it does not, your website is at best inaccurate and actually misleading.
(ii) By referring to the terms of the Company’s contract with the Scottish Government, it appears that you are using adherence to this contract as a counter argument to my claim. Please, therefore, provide me with a full copy of this contract with the relevant section(s) highlighted.
2. Paragraph three of your letter refers again to the contract with the Scottish Government and states that TranServ would be deemed responsible for this claim if there were not “reasonable procedures” in place in respect of inspections, etc. As mentioned at the start of my letter, it took 11 weeks to receive a response to my claim. During my telephone conversation with you on 31 May 2018, you advised me that this delay was due to the fact that you were “inundated” with claims regarding issues on the A77. A high volume of complaints, in itself, evidences that TranServ were neither managing nor maintaining the road in a “reasonable” manner. I have two requests in relation to this:
(i) Your website does not refer to your complaints procedure or the timescales for responding to complaints or claims. As part of your contract with the Scottish Government, I would expect that you have clearly laid out timescales for response times. I would be grateful if you could provide me with this information.
(ii) Please provide data on the volume of claims received regarding issues on the A77 over the 24 months leading up to my incident on 16 March 2018 and the number of these claims which were upheld.
3. In paragraph four of your letter, you infer that the seven-day inspection intervals are deemed reasonable and the most recent formal inspection of the section of the road relating to my claim was on 13 February 2018. In relation to this, I have four requests:
(i) My claim relates to an incident which took place on 16 March 2018, some 32 days following the date of the last inspection (13 February 2018). This is clearly significantly out with your seven-day timeline. Apart from anything else, this immediately invalidates the statement that appropriate periodic checks have been carried out within the terms of what you deemed to be “reasonable”.
(ii) How did TranServ arrive at the conclusion that a seven-day inspection period is “reasonable”? Please provide a copy of the criteria used for setting at this interval, or indicate the section in your contract with the Scottish Government which details this information.
(iii) Is this duration periodically reviewed? For example, during difficult weather conditions or in response to being inundated with complaints. If so, who carries out such reviews and what would be the criteria for deciding that a review is required? Again, is this part of the terms of the contract with the Scottish Government and has the seven-day period ever been increased or reduced? If so, when and for what reason?
(iv) Please provide me with evidence and details of the inspections for the section of road to which my claim relates for the three month period prior to my incident.’
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.