David Holland writes:
The Information Commissioner has just issued Decision Notice FER0239225 on my complaint against the University of Reading for its refusal to disclose information relating to the IPCC Fourth Assessment process.
It is broadly similar to that issued in relation to the University of East Anglia, in particular confirming that such information is subject to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which has fewer opportunities for refusal. As a result of the Information Commissioner's intervention some 368 emails were disclosed. One issue in this case is that employee concerned, Professor Sir Brian Hoskins had not given the University’s Information Officer the opportunity to examine the emails that he held in order to determine if they should have been disclosed, until the Information Commissioner contacted Reading.
The Information Commissioner continues to investigate similar complaints against the MOD/Met Office and the University of Oxford. Professor Myles Allen of Oxford had made his attitude to Freedom of Information requests very clear at the Royal Institution debate on Climategate on 14 June 2010.
Oxford has recently added a novel defence to its refusal to disclose, which the Commissioner is considering, and which I will dispute should it be seriously entertained. Oxford is arguing that Professor Myles Allen took extended unpaid paternal leave while undertaking his duties as an IPCC Review Editor and thereby undertook his work for the IPCC on a “personal basis”. The IPCC shows Allen’s affiliation as Oxford and he copied the pro forma Review Editor’s Report onto University letterhead before sending it to the IPCC Working Group. His IPCC duties ran from at least 17 November 2005, when he was appointed, to 4 January 2007, when he submitted his Review Editor’s Report.
The ICO's ruling is attached below.