Details of Research and Enterprise Business Planning and Reporting Structure in Relation to Kevin Cullen’s Extensive Travel

Gordon Neill made this Freedom of Information request to University of Glasgow

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your previous replies. First, I wish to assure you that I will observe copyright laws when information in them is published elsewhere.

As Glasgow University’s business arm, Research and Enterprise presumably has a Business Plan (BP) updated annually. Please provide copies of the BP for the years in which information on Kevin Cullen’s travel has already been provided (2007, 2008, 2009). Please indicate those parts of the BP(s) that prescribe in advance the objectives fulfilled by Mr Cullen’s extensive travel.

If no business plan existed ahead of his travel please say so.

In addition to the BP, or flowing from it, (or alternatively if no BP existed in advance of Mr Cullen’s travel-years), please provide advance details of the Institutional objectives which Mr Cullen’s travel fulfilled, and how these relate to Mr Cullen’s personal objectives for each of the travel-years in question. Please provide details of all objectives (in documents pre-dating the travel) fulfilled by Mr Cullen’s travel thereafter. Please do NOT present retrospective justification for Mr Cullen’s travel. Please then indicate how well each trip fulfilled the pre-stated objectives.

It is standard business practice to make a detailed case for business travel, particularly justification for the opportunity cost of absence. In relation to Foreign Travel details of which you have already provided, please provide the case for each trip presented by Mr Cullen to his line manager in advance of each foreign trip listed. Where no advance case was made, please say so. Again please – no retrospective justification.

For each foreign trip detailed in your previous response to me, please give details (copies where available) of all presentation made at the events for which foreign travel was requested. Where no presentation or other concrete work was done on these trips, please state so in respect of each trip. Please also provide details any ‘holiday’/recreational element of each trip (sports, golfing, shooting, riding etc).

Please also indicate all tangible outcomes from each trip: how much business was generated from each trip in terms of contracts, licences, deals negotiated by Mr Cullen, and the monetary value of all business carried out, or subsequent business outcomes from these trips. Where no concrete business outcomes were generated, please state as much.

It is normal business practice to provide reports-back after business travel both to justify absence and expenditure, and to provide organisational learning. Please provide copies/details of all reports-backs from each foreign trip made by Mr Cullen – again please only documents provided at a reasonable time after each trip – no retrospective generation of documents. Please state to whom each report was made, and details of all presentations to Research and Enterprise and/or other University Department made in respect of each trip. Where no report-back and/or presentation was made, please say so. In the latter case also (if/where applicable), please indicate why no requirement was made by Mr Cullen’s line manager for him to provide such reports in line with standard business practice.

Yours faithfully,

Gordon Neill

FOI Office, University of Glasgow

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Neill,

Further to your Freedom of Information request dated 30 March 2009 at
2025 hours. Please find letter of acknowledgement attached.

You will find that the University's acknowledgement of your information
request is in PDF (Portable Document Format) file(s) attached to this
email.

The PDF file format is used for electronic distribution because it
preserves the look and feel of the original document complete with
fonts, colours, images, and layout. To open a PDF file you can download
a free program called Acrobat Reader and install it onto your computer
by clicking on to the following URL:

http://www.adobe.co.uk/products/acrobat/...

Yours sincerely,

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office

Direct Line: +44 (0)141 330 2523
Fax: 0141 330 4920

Gilbert Scott Building
University of Glasgow
University Avenue
Glasgow G12 8QQ
G12 8QQ

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401

FOI Office, University of Glasgow

17 Attachments

Dear Mr Neill,

Please find attached the University's response to your Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 request dated30 March 2009 timed 20:25
hours.

You will find that the University's response to your information
requestis in PDF (Portable Document Format) file(s) attached to this
email.

The PDF file format is used for electronic distribution because it
preserves the look and feel of the original document complete with
fonts, colours, images, and layout. To open a PDF file you can download
a free program called Acrobat Reader and install it onto your computer
by clicking on to the following URL:

http://www.adobe.co.uk/products/acrobat/...

Yours sincerely,

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office

Direct Line: +44 (0)141 330 2523
Fax: 0141 330 4920

Gilbert Scott Building
University of Glasgow
University Avenue
Glasgow G12 8QQ
G12 8QQ

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401

Gordon Neill left an annotation ()

Thank you for your response of 28th April 2009. Its contents were as expected, but are still shocking since we learn the following:

1. The part of Glasgow University that interfaces with business, and contains its business development function, doesn’t bother to have a business plan of its own and cannot provide details of how its Director’s activities, particularly his extensive foreign travel, impact or support institutional objectives, other than a vague statement that “The nature of this work is incremental and it is crucial that professional networks are maintained for opportunity development and these elements are specified within the Director's job description”.

2. Its Director can attend up to 20 foreign trips in 24 months at an unmeasured opportunity cost to his publicly-funded support, but is not required to make a business case to do so.

3. After all this travel to dozens of events taking up a major proportion of his publicly-funded time, the Director of Research and Enterprise is not required to provide formal reports-back (“Frequently there are verbal discussions. There is no record held of all reports for all trips”).

The University therefore cannot provide evidence a) that the trips are worthwhile in terms of its (admittedly vague) objectives; that it holds its Director accountable for his activities (as it is legally required to do in return for public support); or that it disseminates any knowledge or learning obtained by its Director’s travel, to the rest of the Institution (maybe it has figured out that it is not worth disseminating – which given the standard of literacy of Mr Cullen’s presentations -supplied and available on this site, and apparently devoid of intelligible meaning, may well be the case).

But perhaps none of this is surprising. We learn in today’s Herald that in giving an honorary doctorate to “Sir” Shred Goodman, it described him as "one of the most successful business leaders in the UK.” With such blindingly brilliant standards of business acumen, it is no wonder that its Enterprise Department is run the way it is.

Gordon Neill left an annotation ()

On the positive side of things, the University reveals that Mr Cullen did learn to ride horses in Arizona. Who says universities don't spend your money wisely?

Mr A Brown left an annotation ()

So Mr Cullen learned horse-riding in Arizona on 'University business'?

So it's official?

Kevin Cullen IS a cowboy

Diane Scott left an annotation ()

Glasgow University seems to be rather an oddly managed organisation. I hadn't realised that it paid employees to go to arizona to ride horses but it certainly reacted bizarrely to my request for the annual report of its internal auditor.

It sent me 2 pages of the report and within those 2 pages there were cross references to other part of the report (eg see page 9). When I asked for the rest of the report Mr Graham Paterson said that he was satisfied that they had complied in full with my request.

If I was the person responsible for paying taxpayer pounds to this organisation I would have a rather uneasy feeling about its secrecy (not to mention its inter-continental equine junkets)

Paul Philips left an annotation ()

It seems that the University of Glasgow is equally uneasy about answering questions relating to their spin-out activity. What do they have to hide at Glasgow? Are they afraid that they will be accused of incompetence and woeful underperformance? Are they worried that this will be brought to the attention of the taxpayers whose money they are wasting?

It is interesting to note the response of Edinburgh University to an identical enquiry about spin-out performance and costs - they answered every question which Glasgow chose to avoid. Of course, Edinburgh's response points to a consistent level of performance which indicates they have nothing to hide. A track record to boast about. Quite different to that of Glasgow's track record. How much public money is being wasted by people at Glasgow who are simply not up to the job?

It seems there is more than one cowboy employed at Glasgow.

I am saddened by the nature of Glasgow's response and will be contacting my MSP to take this to the Scottish Parliament.