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« Conflict of interest | Main | The view from millionaire's row »

UEA financials 

UEA have relented and provided copies of the invoices I asked to see.

This has thrown some light on the issue I hoped to address, namely the status of the Russell panel. There are a couple of invoices in there that are addressed directly to the Climate Change Emails Review. This would appear to suggest that the panel was a "wholly-owned subsidiary". This would suggest to me that Muir Russell's emails are subject to FOI.

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Reader Comments (26)

I find it peculiar that there was no invoice included for payment of fees to Sir Muir Russell himself. Was payment made without any requirement for an invoice?

I also find it surprising that UEA continues to pay indemnity insurance for CCER long after the report has been finalised.

I wouldn't underestimate UEA's determination to obscure what's going on. Is there a difference betwen CCER and ICCER, an abbreviation which has been used extensively?

Jul 1, 2011 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu


Note that the forms from Russell etc seem to start at page 2. I think there may be a front sheet missing.

Jul 1, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I think the .zip for the invoices is, in fact, here.

Jul 1, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

Bish - the old style pag1 would have looked like this:

Almost all the information on that page would be of a personal nature except for

If this work is to be treated as Self–Employed attach your Invoice to the completed form AND tick the box:
Please note that payment without deduction of Tax &NIC will be dependent on the terms and conditions of your engagement. UEA may seek a ruling on employment status from Norwich Tax Office.

UEA sent me an updated copy of UEA5 suggesting (without saying so) that self-employed status was being applied here. The new form (that SHOULD have been used by Russell) states clearly that an invoice should be attached. I have asked UEA to review whether this has been omitted or whether the financial regulations have not been adhered to.

Jul 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu


What does the last 40k for "Agreed fee for Climate Change email review" relate to in the Russell_invoices.pdf file?

In general, when considering how the employment (or otherwise) is viewed, would the General Ledger codes give a hint if other examples can be found.

The majority of codes on MR's claim forms are for travel / subsistence - ETS 58 3/16 - but there are others such as:

ETS 58 3/16 - Travel and subsistence by the looks of things (and supper for the "Team")

ETS 58 7/15 - Computer (illegible) software

ETS 58 4/55 - Brodies??? Fee and 40k "Climate Change Email Review" payment

if other recognisable expenses can be matched to similar codes, would that say something about how MR's engagement with UEA should be viewed?

Are there different codes depending on the status / engagement model of the parties involved?

Jul 1, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k


We only really interested in how fees have been booked in order to establish the business relationship between e.g. Russell and UEA.

If we look at the ledger code on Norton's claim form it is identical to that used on Russell's claim form i.e. ETS 58455 which I assume relates to professional fees.

But Norton submitted an invoice and if Russell did, then it has not been disclosed. If he did not, then it seems that UEA did not adhere properly to their own financial regulations. (Only other alternative: Russell submitted an invoice which UEA tore up and no longer possesses.)

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

I understand the reasoning. My question was that if a party with a known relationship to UEA uses identical codes, could you infer something about MR's relationship through *his* codes?

Is the £40,000 on the last page of MR's expense form the amount in question? The description reads that way?

If they're prepared to pay it in the form of an "expense" would any invoice necessarily exist?

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k

What financial controller is prepared to see 40,000 being paid out with no admission that there is was ever any contractual relationship (UEA have denied that any existed), no invoice, no purchase order, no tax being withheld etc. etc. That is why I have asked UEA to clarify this.

Instead they appear to rely on there having been a "Public Appointment". We have seen no evidence of this and it is unclear anyway that the form of appointment is relevant.

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Oh yes I agree, it's a fair old chunk of cash and no mistake. I get away with losing the odd taxi (genuine!) receipt, but £40k may be pushing my luck.

I'd presume that HMRC would also be interested in the VAT levied, it *must* be detailed elsewhere.

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k

UEA has not charged any VAT - they have only paid VAT on (some of) their invoices. The University would be subject to partial exemption legislation meaning that, as a general rule, the University would not be able to reclaim the bulk of VAT on its expenditure. The University would potentially be subject to VAT on all of its purchases and would not be exempt from paying VAT to suppliers.

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

It is interesting that throughout history, politicians mange to skewer themselves not on the original act of malfeasance but on their botched attempts at the cover up -- indeed we now use the suffix of "-gate" to indicate such activity.

Did you open a new Gate here? I think the question of what happened to the VAT is certainly worth asking. :))

Josh Opportunity for a cartoon here, I suspect. Stay tuned and watch this one. Will the HMRC bust UEA? Oh, got to get to the store and buy some more pop corn!

Jul 1, 2011 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

" I think the question of what happened to the VAT is certainly worth asking."

What is the issue over VAT?

Jul 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

60k to Luther Pendragon. Buys quite a lot of PR. Why?

Jul 1, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark F

Mark F because the need it , knowing that playing fast and lose would be a problem for public perception they needed advice on how to play it. Frankly given the none-coverage of the story , outside of blogs like this , they earned there pay. Because if you can't make a bad story good , the next best things if to make a bad story disappear.
I would guess the run around in this case is all about FOI , knowing it applies in certain circumstances they seek to muddy the water about what the circumstances where in this case .

Jul 1, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Mark F - I saw all those payments to the Spin Doctors and also wondered why they felt the need to spend so much on spin.

Jul 2, 2011 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBoy on a bike

It looks to me like they've whited out details in Boulton's information. Look for example at the log on the last page of the pdf. There's a line for hours but nothing in it. You can sort of see what looks like the bottom part of writing as though something had been taped over but not quite covered.

Jul 2, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre


I note that on the first page of the Boulton PDF it looks as if equivalent information has been redacted, but that the redaction has been noted. It is definitely worth querying to find out what it is they have snipped.

Jul 2, 2011 at 8:10 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


Brodies are a firm of solicitors in Edinburgh. I wonder what Russell was getting legal advice on. Need to check out the timing.

Jul 2, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Bish - Interesting that there was also a letter attached to Russell's 12/09 travel claim that has not been produced.

Jul 2, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

"Russell's 12/09 travel claim"

Fiddled expenses? Nothing like a good rumour.. :-)

Jul 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


Aha, beat me to it - they make an appearance a few times on this list of expenses:

Jul 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k

I've done a post on the invoices

Jul 2, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Just wondering Bish, if Muir Russell and Boulton did not charge VAT, Russell charged £40K for a couple of months work, shouldn't he be registered for VAT?

Jul 2, 2011 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

When a firm’s turnover exceeds UK VAT threshold (£70,000 - as of April 2010) they need to register for VAT. So assuming Sir Muir had not a lot of other consultancy work as well, then he would have been well under the threshold.

Jul 2, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

cheers Matthu, I was thinking along the lines of Boulton charging £1500 per day, and Russell on c. £10k per month, extrapolated, would take them over the limit.

Presumably any directorships or 'civil board memberships' would be counted as employment outside their 'consultancy' business for VAT purposes.

I can't be bothered working out their hourly rates, but it looks like their their breaks for tea and biscuits cost the taxpayer a fortune!

Jul 3, 2011 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

The question of the non charging of vat by the great Laird of the Wash is an intriguing one. I suppose that the Laird did no other consultancy work in that year and did not cross the £70k threshold?
Is there anyone involved with this site who could give a steer :-)

Jul 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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