Reports on QMUL's equality, diversity and inclusion practices

Tom Barringer made this Freedom of Information request to Queen Mary University of London

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear Mr Smallcombe,

I hope you're well. I would like to request:

1. The full content of any report commissioned by QMUL in the last three years to examine its own equality, diversity and inclusion practices
2. For each of those reports (where they exist): any written correspondence relating to that report by any QMUL staff member who is a member of any EDI committee, the EDI steering group, College Council or the Senior Executive Team

Yours faithfully,
Tom Barringer

Dear Queen Mary University of London,

I would like to remind you of this request. By law, QMUL should normally have responded promptly and by 27 November 2020.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Barringer

Queen Mary, University of London FOI, Queen Mary University of London

Dear Tom Barringer,
We are still considering your request and will try to respond as soon as we can.
Thank you for your patience.
Yours sincerely
Queen Mary University of London

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary University of London

2 Attachments

FOI 2020/F457

 

Dear Tom Barringer,

 

Thank you for your email. Please accept our apologies for the delay in
responding.

 

Regarding the first part, please see attached. Some redactions have been
made in the appendices. This information is withheld under s.40(2) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 by virtue of s.40(3A)(a) because it
consists of information that may allow you, or someone else to identify
individuals, revealing (special category) personal data about them to the
world at large. Since we do not have the consent of the individuals and it
would not be within their reasonable expectations that this information
would be disclosed in to the public domain, we believe this would breach
the first data protection principle. Moreover, it could cause distress.
The Information Commissioner states, “If disclosure would not be fair or
transparent, you must not disclose the information”(1). This is an
absolute exemption.

 

Regarding part 2, I am afraid that we believe fulfilling this would exceed
the appropriate limit as defined by the Freedom of Information and Data
Protection (Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. For your information this
is £450, calculated as the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours
in determining whether the information is held, then locating, retrieving
and extracting the information. Section 12 therefore makes provision for
public authorities to refuse such requests. The request for ‘any written
correspondence’ from a potentially large number of individuals who will
all have to conduct searches, is very wide in scope and could include
large volumes of emails in particular. We may be able to reconsider if you
narrow the scope or can be more specific about the information you seek
and from which individuals or groups.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask QMUL to conduct a
review of this decision.  To do this, please contact the College in
writing (including by fax, letter or email), describe the original
request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include an address
for correspondence.  You have 40 working days from receipt of this
communication to submit a review request.  When the review process has
been completed, if you are still dissatisfied, you may ask the Information
Commissioner to intervene. Please see [1]www.ico.org.uk for details.

 

Please note the attached copyright notice.

Yours sincerely

 

Queen Mary University of London

 

(1)
[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Dear Queen Mary University of London,

For the sake of simplicity, I would like to withdraw Part 2 of my request (for written correspondence surrounding the Inclusion Report). I will be resubmitting this as a separate request.

Separately, regarding Part 1 (the report itself), I would like to request an internal review of the decision to publish this document only partially. This review request follows:

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Queen Mary University of London's handling of my FOI request FOI 2020/F457, 'Reports on QMUL's equality, diversity and inclusion practices'.

I would like you to confirm two things in particular to your satisfaction and (if necessary the ICO’s):

1. That in the partially published Inclusion Report, every piece of information that has been withheld from publication contains enough personal data to identify any particular QMUL staff member as an individual. I accept this might be the case for some pieces of data in this report, but surely not every black box: for example, hypothetically, if there were a comment as vague as “I was overlooked for a promotion because I was black”, that information is not sufficient to identify any QMUL employee and therefore must not be withheld.
2. That there is evidence that it is not within the testimony-giving individuals’ reasonable expectations that their evidence would be (made anonymous and then) disclosed to the public realm. This process was sold to QMUL staff as a transparent investigation into inclusion at QMUL. I think they might have reasonably expected these comments to have been shared with other staff. (For example, as a participant in one of the focus groups of this review, I do not remember being given any such assurances that my evidence would not be anonymised and disclosed to other staff, and in fact was anticipating and looking forward to reading about others’ experiences of inclusion at QMUL in the report.)

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

Yours faithfully,

Tom Barringer

Dear Queen Mary University of London,

I would like to ask about the status of my request for an internal review of FOI 2020/F457. It has been one month since I last contacted you. Would you be able to advise me on a timescale for this review?

Yours faithfully,

Tom Barringer

Queen Mary, University of London FOI, Queen Mary University of London

Dear Tom Barringer,
Thank you for your email.
We will endeavour to carry out the internal review as soon as we can. You may appreciate that this is a challenging time and resources are stretched; we sometimes have to prioritise other work or requests.
Thank you for your patience.
Yours sincerely
Queen Mary University of London

Dear Queen Mary, University of London,

Thank you for your update. I hope to hear from you before March.

I would like to augment my previous request for an internal review in light of some emails released in FOI 2020/F521. In am still interested in hearing from you regarding the two points I mentioned in my message to you on 18th December; I would also like to ask a third question. Please pass this on to the person who is doing the internal review for FOI2020/F457.

The email named "20201021 Email 2.pdf" which was released on 25th January in response to FOI 2020/F521, says this, in discussing how data would be communicated from Inclusion Works to QMUL:
"Raw data will not be shared with QM stakeholders; neither will information be shared that could identify an individual, group or team."
This appears to contradict what QMUL told me in response to FOI 2020/F457 on the 11th December when you said that the data in the report QMUL received from the focus groups:
"consists of information that may allow you, or someone else to identify individuals, revealing (special category) personal data about them to the world at large."

Therefore, as part of this internal review, I would like for you to confirm to your satisfaction (and if necessary the ICO's) that Inclusion Works did in fact fail in their efforts to clean raw and identifiable data from the focus group report (since this is the reason you have given why you have not released the full Inclusion Report in accordance with this FOI request).

A copy of "20201021 Email 2.pdf" is available online here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...

A copy of FOI2020/F457 can be found here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours sincerely,
Tom Barringer

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary University of London

Dear Tom Barringer,
 
We have now completed the internal review you requested.
 
The reviewer has upheld the decision to redact parts of the appendices of
the Inclusion Report. He concluded that it did consist of (special
category) personal data and that disclosure of this in to the public
domain would breach one of the data protection principles.
 
If you remain dissatisfied, you have the right to make a complaint to the
Information Commissioner. Please see [1]www.ico.org.uk for details of how
to do this.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Paul Smallcombe
Queen Mary University of London
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your response. The Information Commissioner's Office will be in touch with us soon.

Happy LGBT+ History Month.

Yours sincerely,
Tom Barringer