Publication - FOI/EIR release

Document 'Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal' questions: EIR review

Published: 11 Sep 2019

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
11 Sep 2019
Document 'Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal' questions: EIR review
FOI reference: FOI/19/01550 Review
Date received: 31 Jul 2019
Date responded: 30 Sep 2019
Information requested

Thank you for your e-mail dated 31 July 2019 requesting an internal review of the response to your request for information, which was dealt with under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), pertaining to Document Title : Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal (A96PEA-AMAR-GEN-CBRP-ZX-000001). As I was not involved in the handling of your original request, I have been asked to carry out this review by Transport Scotland’s Chief Executive. As such I have looked at this case afresh to establish whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications as appropriate, or a fresh decision should be substituted.

I note your request for review stated:

There already exists two revisions of this document in circulation:

  • P04 (dated 6th December 2018) which is the version uploaded to the Transport Scotland website on the 15th of April 2019, and
  • P05 (dated July 2018) which was released under FOI/18/03589 on the 3rd of January 2019

It is very unclear which of these is the earlier revision as the revision numbers contradict the publication date, but at the very least one of these should have been provided under this FOI request.

This also undermines the statement “The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because it does not hold any prior revisions……”.

Later in the correspondence it is stated that “AmeyArup ensures compliance with the Arup Management System (AMS) - certificated to ISO 9001:2008, OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 14001:2004. Arup’s AMS combines quality, health and safety and environmental management into a single, integrated system which provides consistency to project delivery”

It is unbelievable that a company making this statement a) does not have a sufficiently robust document management system that maintains verifiable audit trail with archived document revisions, or indeed b) operates a process of deliberate and complete deletion of all records of prior document revisions.

Furthermore, it is incredible that Transport Scotland consider this standard of document management and record keeping to be acceptable or compliant practice. Transport Scotland are publicly accountable body, and it is expected that their decisions and the justifications are transparent, robust, verifiable and defensible.

I restate my request:

Document Title : Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal (A96PEA-AMAR-GEN-CB-RP-ZX-000001)

Please provide all prior revisions of the above referenced document including drafts?

By way of clarification, I am requesting the release of revisions P01, P02 and P03. This request applies to documents retained by either Transport Scotland or AmeyArup.

In reference to the response to my second request:

No action required

In reference to the response to my third request:

In responding to my FOI request the author of the correspondence has completely evaded answering the questions.

I asked that Transport Scotland evidence that the document titled “Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal” was subject to appropriate review, approval and authorisation by Amey Arup and Transport Scotland through all stages of revision and publication. Additionally, I stated an expectation that this validation would be the form of email correspondence and or date stamped Document Management System logs.

The response informed me:

  •  the document had been reviewed by Amey Arup, but provided no substantiation whatsoever.
  •  that AmeyArup have a quality management system.
  •  the document was reviewed by Transport Scotland’s A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Project Manager prior to publication on the Transport Scotland website, but again provided no substantiation

What it did not provide is verifiable audit trail or evidence:

  •  of review, approval and authorisation by AmeyArup.
  •  that AmeyArup followed process under their own quality management system
  •  of review, approval and authorisation by Transport Scotland

I restate my request:

Document Title : Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal (A96PEA-AMAR-GEN-CB-RP-ZX-000001)

Please can you evidence that the above referenced document was subject to appropriate review, approval and authorisation by AmeyArup and Transport Scotland through all stages of revision and publication?

I expect this validation to take the form of email correspondence, date stamped Document Management System logs or in other date verifiable form.

By way of clarification, I am requesting this information in reference to revisions P01, P02, P03, P04 and P05. This request applies to information retained by either Transport Scotland or AmeyArup.

Response

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.

I will now respond to each of your requests and clarifications in turn.

First Request - Document Title : Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal (A96PEA-AMAR-GEN-CB-RP-ZX-000001)
Please provide all prior revisions of the above referenced document including drafts?

By way of clarification, I am requesting the release of revisions P01, P02 and P03. This request applies to documents retained by either Transport Scotland or AmeyArup.

I have now completed my review of our response to the first part of your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), and I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modification.

The original decision to apply exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs was incorrect as Transport Scotland do hold previous versions of the above document. However, I can advise this is information not for release as revisions P01, P02 and P03 are unfinished documents as such an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) should have been used rather than an exception under regulation 10(4)(a) and I apologise for any confusion caused.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because they are unfinished documents.
This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this was met with the publication of the finished document (i.e. P04) which is available from the Transport Scotland website at https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/online-at-inverurie-dualling-feasibility-and-appraisal-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.

Explanation of version numbers P04 and P05
In relation to the version numbers AmeyArup have confirmed that documents P04 and P05 are identical, other than the dated footers and apologise for the confusion that this has caused.

By way of explanation AmeyArup operate a document management system, known as Projectwise that controls the flow and authorisation of project documentation. Projectwise has a number of protocols that control the flow and dictate the version control and dating. AmeyArup started using Projectwise on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen commission in the autumn of 2018; prior to this, more traditional document management processes were adopted.

The OLI report was an outcome following the First Fix workshop in April 2018. Details of the First Fix workshop are reported in the First Fix Alignment Workshop Report which is available from the Transport Scotland website at https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/dmrb-stage-2-early-sifting-reports-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/.

Document P04 was prepared through the new Projectwise system in December 2018 to allow its formal external issue however the system would not permit its release. As a result, a temporary document P05 was created to allow the document to be issued to Transport Scotland.

Thereafter, AmeyArup reverted to the formal authorised document P04, dated December 2018, and this was the document that was uploaded onto the TS website in April 2019, and remains the current document.

Second Request - Document Title : Online at Inverurie – Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal (A96PEA-AMAR-GEN-CB-RP-ZX-000001)
Please can you evidence that the above referenced document was subject to appropriate review, approval and authorisation by AmeyArup and Transport Scotland through all stages of revision and publication?

I expect this validation to take the form of email correspondence, date stamped Document Management System logs or in other date verifiable form.

By way of clarification, I am requesting this information in reference to revisions P01, P02, P03, P04 and P05. This request applies to information retained by either Transport Scotland or AmeyArup.

I have now completed my review of our response to the second part of your review request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), and I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modification to further explain the consultants role and authorisation process within Transport Scotland.

The authorisation process within AmeyArup is an internal matter for the company to manage and the Contract we have with AmeyArup states that AmeyArup’s Quality Management System shall comply with the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001. Transport Scotland does not hold a copy of the authorisation process used by AmeyArup

I can confirm that the reference document was issued to Transport Scotland by AmeyArup on 19 December 2018. Although the referenced document was also reviewed and approved for publication by Transport Scotland’s A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Project Manager, Transport Scotland does not hold any email correspondence or date stamped documentation recording approval or authorisation of the referenced document. The referenced document was published on Transport Scotland’s website on 15 April 2019. Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the review, approval and authorisation of reports, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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