cc: "Mcgarvie Michael Mr \(ACAD\)" <M.McgarvieatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
date: Fri Jul 11 10:54:58 2008
from: Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: FW: Freedom of Information request (FOI_08-23) - Appeal
to: "Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\)" <David.PalmeratXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Briffa Keith Prof \(ENV\)" <K.BriffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Osborn Timothy Dr \(ENV\)" <T.OsbornatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Dave et al,
One minor comment on the letter, then some thoughts on the
stance the Met Office might be or are taking.
First, there is an extra 'be' on the 6th line of the para beginning 'Further,..'
Now the issue of the specific functions of the Met Office. This argument
would also apply to UEA and to CRU/ENV, probably more so, as UEA
is more independent (of government) than the Met Office. I say this as DEFRA
fund the Met Office to the tune of about �18M per year. I am on the Hadley
Centre's Scientific Review Group and have reviewed the DEFRA proposal. Throughout
the documents I get for the annual Review Group meetings and in
the proposal, there is a constant thread of how the work they are doing is
essential for IPCC. How this works though is that their scientists (just like us)
write papers for the peer-review literature, and these get referred to in the
IPCC Reports. DEFRA expects that their scientists will be involved in the
IPCC Chapter writing. DEFRA has also funded the Met Office to run the
Technical Support Unit of Working Group 2 of IPCC.
So, although IPCC work may not be a specific function of the Met Office,
it is very much expected by DEFRA that they are heavily involved in IPCC.
The Met Office and its Hadley Centre are happy to accept the kudos
IPCC gets - especially the Nobel Peace Prize award in 2007 for IPCC itself.
At least two people from the Met Office were at the award ceremony in Oslo
- and only 25 in total were allowed to go.
If the Met Office can or are using this argument, then UEA could as well.
Whether we should is another matter. Individual scientists at UEA are free
to get involved in IPCC writing teams, and from the VC downwards (through
the Dean of Science and the Head of School in ENV) would expect us
to get involved. It is not written in any job description, but it is one of
the unwritten expected things academics ought to do. Keith and I use
the involvement when we write letters each to the ENV promotion
committee to get a pay increment, as I expect all the others in ENV
who have been involved in IPCC do. UEA also takes the kudos from the
report coming out and many in ENV have nice certificates recording the
Nobel Peace prize award last year. Involvement in IPCC and the Nobel
Peace Prize features strongly in the ENV Annual Report. Like the
Met Office we also use the IPCC involvement when writing proposals.
We're not paid to do IPCC, just like the Met Office scientists. We're
paid expenses (by DEFRA) to go to the meetings and write the reports.
Keith and I did much of this at weekends and evenings, but much also
during work time and we used UEA resources to print out drafts. The work
took time and we are paid by UEA, so UEA did subsidize us to do it.
I have to admit that I like the argument, but would appreciate Michael's
views and also Jonathan's as to whether we should. It might be worth
discussing it with the Dean of Science of the HoS in ENV, as it could
be construed by many to be a very odd argument to make. It certainly would close
the door on this request, and set a precedent for any further requests when
the next IPCC report comes along in 5-6 years time. Holland's requests are certainly
different from those that came last year.
If we do use this argument, then it ought to go where you say - after
A quick look at the Climate Audit web site would indicate that the Met Office
have yet to respond in this way, but they may not have used such clear
language (the blue) in your email. If we both respond in this way, CA will
claim we have colluded!
A final point. It is likely that a number of people in ENV will become involved
in IPCC next time. I wouldn't want any disclosure to jeopardize future involvement,
if others who are involved in IPCC future think working with UEA people
could be a liability. This is sort of covered in your final principal paragraph.
At 16:02 10/07/2008, Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\) wrote:
A copy of what was sent to Jonathan. Please note that the opinion from the Met Office
quoted below is subject to lawyer-client privilege and should not be shared outside the
group that has now seen it.
From: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:56 PM
To: Colam Jonathan Mr (ISD)
Cc: Mouland Lucy Dr (VCO)
Subject: Freedom of Information request (FOI_08-23) - Appeal resolution draft
A draft response for your review and comment. I have been in contact with the ICO who
are of the opinion that, if we feel that there are exemptions that we 'missed' on the
first review of the request, they should be raised at this stage.
I have added a s.40 exemption on the assumption that, even if names of correspondents
are redacted, there is enough information in what's left to reveal the identity of
individuals. If what is left is 'personal data', then s.40 clearly applies; it is
whether what is left qualifies as personal data.
Additionally, I have added a s.36 exemption on the basis that the disclosure of this
information would clearly "in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person", "inhibit
the free and frank provision of advice, or, the free and frank exchange of views for the
purpose of deliberation" and "would otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public
affairs". This section, as I read it, does not limit the provision of advice or
exchange of views to inside an organisation. I have been in touch with Lucy to
determine, in a rough way, the opinion of the 'qualified person' (i.e. the VC) in this
case & she concurs.
There is an additional argument that we might wish to make. I have been in touch with
the Met Office that have received a similar request. They have been in touch with the
ICO and are making the argument that the correspondence is not actually 'held' by them
at all! The argument is as follows: guidance from last year from the ICO indicates that
information in which the institution has no interest but physically possesses, is not
'held' by them for the purposes of the Act. Guidance states:
"In these circumstances the public authority will have an interest in this information
and will make disclosure decisions. This is because although
ownership may still rest with the depositor, the public authority with whom the
information has been deposited effectively controls the information and holds it in its
own right. It will therefore be difficult to argue that the information is merely held
on behalf of another person and consequently not held for the purposes of the public
"There will be cases where such information is simply held on behalf of a third party,
for example for preservation or security purposes. Perhaps the public
authority may be holding the information as part of a service (whether for gain or
otherwise) to the depositor. Although this information is in the possession of a public
authority, it does not fall within the scope of the Act as the public authority has no
interest in it."
And finally in regards personal emails in general
"In most circumstances private emails sent or received by staff in the workplace would
not be held by the authority as it has no interest in them. It will be a
question of fact and degree whether a public authority does hold them, dependent on the
level of access and control it has over the e mail system and
on the computer use policies. It is likely to be the exception rather than the rule that
the public authority does hold them."
I have also received some correspondence from the Met Office that sets out their
argument along these lines; and further an assertion that the ICO has indicated that, on
the facts of their particular case (emails not created by the organisation, or used by
them). To quote the internal briefing note
"...the IPCC consultation exercise did not have a role in respect of the specific
functions of the Met Office. It was aligned with them but not a function of the Met
Office. The whole purpose of the IPCC is that it is independent and objective."
The Met Office are arguing that their Director's involvement was in a
pseudo-academic/personal capacity and not as a representative of the Met Office and the
IPCC work was not Met Office work. What it comes down to is our corporate interest in
this IPCC correspondence - if we have some, then it would be 'held' by us. I have
emailed Mssrs. Briffa, Osborn & Jones to assess this .. .but your feeling?
Where we to make this argument, I would put it immediately after our re-assertion of our
primary grounds of exemption; if the ICO does decide that we 'hold' this correspondence,
we would need to have a position on it's disclosure.
Information Policy Officer
University of East Anglia
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk