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International expert fun rumbles on

Tom Watson, the former Cabinet Office minister, has also weighed in to the International Expert fun. He filed an FOI request asking for

any briefing papers, emails or any other documents relating to Charles Arthur of the Guardian and the media interest as to the identity of the “internationally recognised expert”.

I am particularly interested in the discussion that may have taken place in regard to his enquiry about the status of the “internationally recognised expert.”

Where possible, I would like to see the advice that was given to civil servants, ministers and the shareholder executive about this matter.

OS’s reply (in a TIFF – a giant uncompressed image format that can crash many machines if you don’t have enough memory installed; what’s wrong with output to PDF if you want to ensure it’s in the format you created it?):

Correspondence with and about Charles Arthur’s enquiries of Ordnance Survey on the “internationally recognised expert” involved only Ordnance Survey staff and Mr Arthur. No briefings, emails or any other documents were communicated to other civil servants, the Shareholder Executive or Ministers on this matter.

I’ve now filed another FOI request seeking to know what internal communication there was about the international expert:

I request copies of all emails and/or documents internally relating to the decision to choose this person – for example, discussion of who would be suitable candidates or who would not be suitable candidates to carry out the review of the report.

I agree that, for reasons of privacy, some names of those considered and of some of the senders/receivers of the information internally may have to be redacted. I would expect this to be kept to a minimum.

However as the study is officially the responsibility of OS’s chief executive I would expect that where the chief executive’s name appears in such documents that it should not be redacted as the chief executive was in overall charge of the decision. Similarly I would not expect the names of any OS board members to be redacted in such correspondence as they must have a secondary responsibility for the report.

Let’s see how that goes. The answer is due by 2 December.

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