Response sent: November 2010

Request:

1) Did your organisation permit any spending on first class rail fares for staff as of 3 November 2010?

2) If so, how many staff were permitted to travel first class? What restrictions, if any, were there on the circumstances in which those staff could travel first class? Please also provide all information contained within any policies or guidance your organisation had as of 3 November 2010 on this topic.

3) If not, when was the most recent date any of your staff were allowed to travel first class on trains? As of that date, how many staff were permitted to travel first class? What restrictions, if any, were there on the circumstances in which those staff could travel first class? Please also provide all information contained within any policies or guidance your organisation had as of that date on this topic.

4) How much has your organisation spent on first class rail fares in the current financial year (2010/11)? How much has your organisation spent on first class rail fares in each of the last three full financial years? (2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10)? This information is specifically required to relate to financial not calendar years. If your accounting system does not work on that basis, please contact me as soon as possible to discuss a mutually acceptable form in which the relevant information can be disclosed.

Outcome:

Successful

Response:

On 3 November 2010 The National Archives' existing travel policy permitted spending on first class rail fares in certain circumstances, and continues to do so. However, I can confirm that no staff have received approval to travel first class between 3 November 2010 and 22 November when this response was drafted.

Our policy is as follows: 'For all staff, travel by train will be at standard class and you should take advantage of discounted fares wherever possible. Travel in a higher class may be allowed (e.g. if there are no standard class seats available and you need a seat to work), but must have approval from your Director before the journey.'

To provide you with information about The National Archives' spending on first class rail fares over the last three financial years as requested would require The National Archives' staff to manually search through receipts submitted for travel expenses. This information is not stored electronically, and first class fares are not recorded separately from economy class fares. Travel claims are also submitted by different methods depending on whether they are over £10, and whether they are recouped expenses or paid for with a government procurement card.

Section 12 of the Act makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central government is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3.5 working days in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it will take us in excess of 3.5 working days to determine appropriate material and locate, retrieve and extract the information in reference to your request. Therefore, your request will not be processed further.

You may find further information of interest on The National Archives' transparency pages, which list details of Director's expenses including rail travel. These can be found at: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/how-we-are-run/transparency.htm