Tag Archives: transparency

Network Rail explains transparent bogs

I RECENTLY made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Network Rail.

Thing is, I was down to meet some bods in King’s Cross and, before I headed back to Oxford, realised I needed a wee.  In King’s Cross proper, you have to pay money to get access to a bog, but I remembered that if you walked a few hundred feet, the bogs in St Pancras International are free.

But after I’d had my wee, my little brain started thinking about how it would be if elderly and foreign folk like yours truly didn’t have spare change to “spend a penny” – or 30 pence to 50 pence as it is on Network Rail stations these days. Public toilets seem to have disappeared.

Network Rail’s reply is interesting, and you can find it here. I will follow this up.

NR has a transparency policy and it does make a profit on its bogs, if you take the time to read the reply.  But, it insists that any money it makes is spent on “improving the facilities”.

It wants to discourage “illegal activities” and that’s why it’s thrown up barriers, although, let’s face it, 30 pence or 50 pence is hardly going to be a barrier to illegal activities in a bog.

I mean, call me cynical, but really Network Rail doesn’t give a toss about its customers and its bog policy, far from being transparent, is pretty damn opaque. 

Oxford City Council delays FOI requests

Through a glass, darkly

Unusually, in our experience, the normally *very* transparent Oxford City Council has decided to delay replying to two FOI (freedom of information)  requests and so is potentially breaking the law.

On the 14th of October 2014, we asked about Oxford’s surveillance of peoples’ bins after we got a snottogram from a functionary – you can read our request here.

Then, being sort of IT biased, we made a request of the cost of IT during the calendar year 2013. That request has been delayed too. You can read that request here.

Finally, we asked Oxford City Council the cost of hiring IT firm Capita to try and cut down the number of people claiming a 25 percent discount because they live alone.  We received a letter from said Capita saying if we didn’t reply, Oxford City Council reserved the right to knock off the discount. Fortunately, the letter was in 14 point Tahoma, so we could just about read it with a magnifying glass.

We haven’t had a response to that question either.

Transparency, through a glass darkly.  We have emailed the City Council meisters in charge of the requests.  Maybe they haven’t had the influenza immunization yet.