China Quarterly

M Bimmler made this Freedom of Information request to University of Cambridge

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by University of Cambridge.

Dear University of Cambridge,

I'd like to request access to all emails, notes or meeting records held by the University's central administration or the University Press regarding the recent decision to block access to 315 articles in The China Quarterly within China and the subsequent reversal of that decision. You can restrict your search to records from August 2017.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Bimmler

FOI, University of Cambridge

This is to acknowledge receipt of your request for information. Your reference number is given in the subject line of this email. We will respond on or before 19 September 2017.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Office
University of Cambridge
Registrary's Office, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
T: (01223 7)64142
F: (01223 3)32332
E: [email address]

FOI, University of Cambridge

1 Attachment

Further to your request for information, please find attached the University’s response.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Office
University of Cambridge
Registrary's Office, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
T: (01223 7)64142
F: (01223 3)32332
E: [email address]

Dear Dr Knapton, dear Dr Allen,

I am writing to request an internal review of University of Cambridge's handling of my FOI request 'China Quarterly' (reference FOI-2017-386)

Taking the exemptions cited in turn:

1) The 40(3)(a)(i) exemption

It is not disputed that this exemption might be applicable to some "correspondents' names and contact details", however, according to ICO practice and case law, an individual examination of names and roles is needed, as senior / public-facing officials cannot be expect to be covered by the s40 exemption.

2) section 42(1)
I accept that certain records directly connected with the taking or receiving of legal advice may fall under this exemption.

3) section 43(2)
While section 43(2) may be engaged, I believe that the public interest in the University's decision-making, as a publicly funded institution, with regards to such a crucial question of academic freedom overweighs the commercial interest in maintaining confidentiality.

4) sections 36(2)(b)(i) and (ii)

I am concerned that you appear to be applying a blanket exemption to all records concerned, which appears to subvert the principal aim of the Freedom of Information Act to further transparency. May I draw your attention to the ICO's guidance, at https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... which notes (at para 48):
"Civil servants and other public officials are expected to be impartial and robust when giving advice, and not easily deterred from expressing their views by the possibility of future disclosure. It is also possible that the threat of future disclosure could actually lead to better quality advice."
and (at para 49):
"However, once the decision in question is finalised, chilling effect arguments become more and more speculative as time passes. "
and (at para 61)
"This need for a safe space will be strongest when the issue is still live. Once the public authority has made a decision, a safe space for deliberation will no longer be required. If it was a major decision, there might still be a need for a safe space in order to properly promote, explain and defend its key points
without getting unduly sidetracked. However, this can only last for a short time and the public authority would have to explain clearly why it was still required at the time of the request on the facts of each case. The timing of the request will therefore be an important factor."

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours sincerely,
Michael Bimmler

FOI, University of Cambridge

This is to acknowledge receipt of your request for a review of our handling of request number FOI-2017-386. We will respond on or before 18 October 2017.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Office
University of Cambridge
Registrary's Office, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
T: (01223 7)64142
F: (01223 3)32332
E: [email address]

FOI, University of Cambridge

1 Attachment

Further to your request for a review, please find attached the University's response.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Office
University of Cambridge
Registrary's Office, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
T: (01223 7)64142
F: (01223 3)32332
E: [email address]