Reduced email traffic (FOI)
Reduced email traffic (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 28 March 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
In the Bailiwick Express on the 26 February 2019, there was an article claiming that;
“Emails sent by government employees has dropped by 20%”
this statistic having been reported as being given by Charlie Parker during a hearing with the public accounts committee.
I would like to make a freedom of information request that the Government of Jersey release copies of the all the data and analysis or reports that were used to generate this figure.
I want to know how the causal link between the move of States staff from Cyril le Marquand house to Broad Street and drop in emails has been established, and how this is not down to other factors such as change in number of employees based at a given site, given that the Taxes Office staff are now at Social Security meaning reduced staff numbers, loss of staff over States restructure, industrial action reducing number of staff days in work, seasonal lulls in staff activity around Christmas / New year, or simply as a result of people being unable to work because of the disruption caused as a result of having to move offices.
Can the States release all the evidence behind this reported statistic if it is indeed true.
Also please confirm the number of meeting rooms at Cyril le Marquand house, compared to the Broad Street offices, and release copies of all meeting room bookings for the last three months at both sites, broken down per meeting room, showing the number of different meeting bookings and length of meetings. No details of who attended the meeting, or what the meeting was about are required.
Following the move of the new Government of Jersey offices, feedback sessions were held with staff on how the move had gone. Following anecdotal evidence from staff at these sessions that email traffic had declined, a one-off random sample exercise was undertaken across the following functions: The Office of the Chief Executive (excluding Communications), Ministerial Support Unit and Corporate Planning and Performance and the Chief Operating Office, Executive, People Services and Commercial Services. The exercise reported a reduction of 2.8k emails (19%).
Communications were excluded from this exercise, as their volumes were anticipated to be higher than normal due to the transition.
Email volume is not a performance measure that is regularly tracked and therefore this was a one-off exercise. Further samples may be taken to monitor collaboration initiatives.
The email traffic for the random sample exercise reduced from 14.7k to 11.9k.
Please find below the meeting room details for each of Cyril Le Marquand House and 19-21 Broad Street, along with the number of seats in each meeting room. The number of seats is approximate.
CLMH meeting rooms:
|Ground floor – meeting room||8|
|Ground floor - meeting room 2||10|
|Ground floor – three rooms – tax interview purposes only||n/a|
|Third floor – large Meeting room||14|
|Third floor – Small meeting room||4|
|Third floor – large meeting room||10|
|Fourth floor – Concord room||12|
|Fifth floor - meeting room||6|
|Sixth floor - Ministerial meeting room||12|
|Sixth floor – small meeting room 1||6|
|Sixth floor – small meeting room 2||6|
|Seventh floor - Boardroom||10|
|Seventh floor – small meeting room||4|
|Eighth floor - Boardroom||10|
|Eighth floor – meeting room||6|
|Ninth floor - Council of Ministers||24|
Broad street meeting rooms:
|Ground Floor - La Coupe||6|
|Ground Floor - Fliquet ||4|
|First Floor - Archirondel ||21|
|First Floor - La Pulente ||8|
|First Floor - Petit Port ||6|
|Second Floor - Room 1||6|
|Second Floor - Room 2||6|
|Second Floor - Room 3||6|
|Second Floor - Room 4||6|
|Second Floor - Room 5||6|
|Third Floor - Room 1||8|
|Third Floor - Room 2||8|
|Third - Floor Room 3||8|
|Third - Floor Room 4||8|
|Fourth - Floor Room 1||2|
|Fourth - Floor Room 2||8|
It is not possible to provide further information about number of meetings held and number of attendees as to produce this information for all meeting rooms would exceed the time cost allowance of the Freedom of Information regulations. This would require the extraction of calendars for at least 31 meeting rooms and the anonymization of the extracted data. It should also be noted that a number of meetings are placed in meeting room calendars on an every week/every month basis – without contacting the meeting planners there is no way to confirm whether these meetings took place.
Article 23 Information accessible to applicant by other means
(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it is reasonably available to the applicant, otherwise than under this Law, whether or not free of charge.
(2) A scheduled public authority that refuses an application for information on this ground must make reasonable efforts to inform the applicant where the applicant may obtain the information.
Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
Internal review request
Thanks for your response however I would like to request an internal review on both parts of my request.
I ask for the following:
'the States of Jersey release copies of all the data and analysis or reports that were used to generate this figure'
'release all the evidence behind this reported statistic'
Therefore I would like to see the documents or reports or emails that detail how this one-off sample was taken and the original results from source. eg what dates email traffic was measured on, how this was done, how many staff email accounts this applied to, any factoring, any report or spreadsheet produced and so on.
Basically the original files done by whoever that fully evidence this 20% figure and how they got to it.
I think my request is clear enough. I did not ask for the statistic to be requoted, but thankyou for the detail that it was only certain parts of the states that were sampled and the one-off nature of the sample – which means there was no baseline to compare the email traffic to, and no way to tell if 2.3k emails more or fewer is seasonal or just happenstance. Correct?
For my second part of the request while thankyou for providing the number of meeting rooms, and an indication of their sizes which I had not thought of. Good point! However I also requested:
"release copies of all meeting room bookings for the last three months at both sites, broken down per meeting room, showing the number of different meeting bookings and length of meetings' which has not been provided".
I am asking for meetings booked, not meetings held. Also given that time has now moved on, I would like to see the comparison based on the last three months at Cyril Le Marquand, to first three months at Broad Street.
Your excuse that that this would be costs excessive to provide this, is complete cow manure, in the most politest sense. I know from asking a friend who works for the states that you all use Microsoft outlook which means you can export all 31 of those calendars by:
1. Select the Microsoft Outlook calendar.
2. Go to File -> Import and Export.
3. Click Export to a file.
4. Choose Comma Separated Values (DOS) for Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access.
5. Select the Microsoft Outlook calendar.
6. Type a name for the new file.
7. Set a date range to narrow your data.
8. Open the file using Microsoft Excel.
I found this from a very quick search on the internet and even if that is not the exact way you will need to do this I can't believe it would take somebody 12.5hrs to take a computer screenshot of all of the calendars bookings! I mean come on, it's the 21st century with so many ways of getting information off a computer, get with the times.
I can also see from reading the other law bit on estimating costs, anonymisation is not an activity listed that can be included in cost estimates.
So frankly withholding this information is wilful blocking of providing this information, and I will be writing to the Information Commissioner to appeal if you continue to withhold this information. Both sets of documents requested are of a basic nature easily extracted, and if a statistic has come before the public accounts committee there should be full documentary evidence for it.
I read in part seven of the Freedom of Information law it is an offence if States staff block the release of records held by the Government with the intention of preventing them from supplying the information, by not answering my request properly is either the Office of the Chief Executive or Communications committing an offence under this law I do wonder.
Internal review response
The review has been completed by a senior member of the Government of Jersey, independent of the original decision making process.
It was noted that a copy of the data report relating to the sample exercise of the review of email traffic had not previously been provided. This has now been obtained and is attached below:
Email traffic data report
It should be noted that there was no intention to prevent the supply of the information requested. We would also note that the export method within the applicant’s internal review request can only be utilised on a calendar owned by the individual undertaking the export of information.
The Cyril Le Marquand House calendars were disabled at the time the building was vacated. With a view to providing as much information as possible, this request has been taken forward, however it should be further noted that the retrieval of this information has required the reactivation of multiple accounts and the extraction of data by the Modernisation and Digital function.
Attached are spreadsheets including part of the requested information*, though the following details should be taken into account:
i) As the calendars for Cyril Le Marquand House had been disabled once staff had relocated, information has been retrieved from 1 January to 24 February 2019;
ii) The Broad Street calendars have been provided from 4 February to 1 April, however the building was occupied in stages (Week 1, ground floor, Week 2, first floor and so on) and the meeting rooms only opened for use when the specific floor was occupied.
Cyril Le Marquand House meeting rooms
Ground Floor - Meeting room
Third Floor - Treasury Board room
Third Floor - Revenue transformation
Fourth Floor - Concord room
Fifth Floor - Meeting room
Sixth Floor - Ministerial meeting room
Sixth Floor - Small meeting room 1
Sixth Floor - Small meeting room 2
Seventh Floor - Small meeting room
Eighth Floor - Board room
Eighth Floor - Meeting room
Nineth Floor - Council of Ministers
Broad Street meeting rooms
Ground Floor - Fliquet
Ground Floor - La Coupe
First Floor - Archirondel
First Floor - La Pulente
First Floor - Petit Port
Second Floor - Room 1
Second Floor - Room 2
Second Floor - Room 3
Second Floor - Room 4
Second Floor - Room 5
Third Floor - Room 1
Third Floor - Room 2
Third Floor - Room 3
Third Floor - Room 4
Fourth Floor - Room 1
Fourth Floor - Room 2
*It has not been possible to re-enable the calendars for the final three meeting rooms and we are therefore unable to extract this data.