date: Tue, 13 May 2008 17:52:36 +0100
from: "Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\)" <David.PalmeratXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: RE: Proposed alternative response to Holland letter [FOI-08-23]
to: "Keith Briffa" <K.BriffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Apologies - have been tied up with project management & FOI matters
yesterday and today.
The fuller response certainly has the advantage of being 'responsive'
and shows our willingness to cooperate. It also may go way to removing
the need for the FOIA request in the requester's eyes (and may pull some
of the 'sting' from requester's approach). However, there are several
concerns with it:
1. Policy - Susan Solomon seems to have concerns regarding the
"Further explanations, elaboration, or re-interpretations of the
comments or the author responses, would not be appropriate. All of the
comments, and all of the authors' responses, have been made available.
These are the proper source for anyone seeking to understand what
comments were made and how the authors dealt with them, and it would be
inappropriate to provide more information beyond the reference to the
web pages where this can be found." (Solomon email to Mitchell, quoted
in Solomon email of 09/05/08)
Would your letter contravene the wishes of Susan (and other IPCC
authors/collaborators), and, if so, what would be the effect upon UEA
and it's role within IPCC?
2. FOIA issue - I am obviously not aware of the substantive scientific
issues under discussion here but I should note that other IPCC
contributors have explicitly stated that they consider their
correspondence 'confidential'. Is there anything in your letter that
would compromise that confidentiality? One of the 'tests' for common
law confidentiality (which is the test for s.41 of FOIA) is that we
treat information in a confidential manner consistently and over a
period of time. Were we to 'reveal' something that would be in any of
the 'confidential' correspondence, this would obviously lessen our
ability to credibly claim confidentiality.
3. General - How big a 'target' are you making yourself with this
letter? There is a danger of being sucked into a spiral of
correspondence that will, ultimately, not satisfy Mr. Holland and take
I think My starting point is to share information (ergo, I make a lousy
bureaucrat!) but I am concerned that we need to remember our priorities
here - if maintenance of the good working relationship within the IPCC
community is paramount, then let's ensure the answer meets that
requirement first and then handles the other purposes of the answer.....
Being a lawyer once, I wonder if there is a 'middle way' in which you
could meet the above concerns but yet provide something other than a
blanket 'no' (unless, of course, this letter is that 'middle way').
The information that the requester wants is in his letter of 31 March -
it's clear that the FOIA request has been made in expectation that he
will not get an answer, or an answer that is satisfactory.
One other option - point out that you are bound by your commitments to
the collegiality of the IPCC process and bounce your letter to Susan
Solomon to answer on behalf of IPCC.... Doubt it would make you popular
with her however....
Hope this helps...
PS. Note your letterhead lacks the 'new' UEA logo - copies are available
on the web... I use 'em on my FOI correspondence...
>From: Keith Briffa [mailto:k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk]
>Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 5:12 PM
>To: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB); Mcgarvie Michael Mr (ACAD); Osborn
>Timothy Dr (ENV); Jones Philip Prof (ENV)
>Subject: RE: Proposed alternative response to Holland letter
>Could just prompt again for a response from Phil and David in
>particular , for an opinion on which response I should send to
>Holland - of the two alternatives I showed you. Thanks
>At 15:10 12/05/2008, Keith Briffa wrote:
>>I think your request is answered in the attachment Tim just sent
>>At 14:56 12/05/2008, Palmer Dave Mr (LIB) wrote:
>>>I have emailed the Met Office in regards the material
>released by them.
>>>They won't accept direct phone calls so this is the best I
>can do at the
>>>moment; I will report on their response asap.
>>>On a related matter, I will need contact details for the individuals
>>>contacted in regards their attitude towards the
>>>to in the request. This will go to the issue of 'confidentiality' as
>>>used in the s.41 FOIA exemption for material whose release 'would
>>>constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other
>>>I should note that this exemption only applies to
>>>by UEA from other persons; it does not extend to information
>>> >-----Original Message-----
>>> >From: Keith Briffa [mailto:k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk]
>>> >Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 2:23 PM
>>> >To: Mcgarvie Michael Mr (ACAD); Palmer Dave Mr (LIB); Osborn
>>> >Timothy Dr (ENV); Jones Philip Prof (ENV)
>>> >Subject: Proposed alternative response to Holland letter
>>> >Sorry people correct versions now attached - please delete previous
>>> >message attachments
>>> >Dear Michael, David,Tim, and Phil
>>> >attached , as promised , are the original letter from David Holland
>>> >to myself, along with two alternative responses. I am waiting
>>> >comments from Phil , but both myself and Tim lean towards showing
>>> >some degree of apparent cooperation by sending the longer ,detailed
>>> >response. Tim is forwarding the combined responses from our
>>> >collaborators/co-authors regarding our earlier message asking their
>>> >opinion were we to send copies of their correspondence
>with regard to
>>> >Holland's FOIA request. You will see that they are universally
>>> >opposed. Please also see the message from Susan Solomon (via Tim),
>>> >copying her response to John Mitchell's message related to
>>> >earlier request to him. The FOIA request is , I know, separate from
>>> >the issue of the specific list of questions from Holland of me, but
>>> >we must also consider whether my decision to send one or
>other of the
>>> >alternative responses will influence our decision of how to respond
>>> >to the FOI request. My interpretation of Susan's message (though
>>> >originally drafted in response to John Mitchell - a review editor
>>> >rather than a lead author of the IPCC) is that she would
>>> >shorter response appropriate. If I sent this it would certainly not
>>> >be considered sufficient to negate the FOIA request. I would value
>>> >your opinion as to the best course of action to take ,i.e. which
>>> >letter - or indeed neither - from here on.
>>> >Professor Keith Briffa,
>>> >Climatic Research Unit
>>> >University of East Anglia
>>> >Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.
>>> >Phone: +44-1603-593909
>>> >Fax: +44-1603-507784
>>Professor Keith Briffa,
>>Climatic Research Unit
>>University of East Anglia
>>Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.
>Professor Keith Briffa,
>Climatic Research Unit
>University of East Anglia
>Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.