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Statement in response to FOI request about the Outside Organisation

Mon, 23 Apr 2012

The University of East Anglia has released the following statement in relation to a Freedom of Information request regarding the Outside Organisation.

The Outside Organisation provided consultancy services on all aspects of our engagement with the media and with the broadcast enquiries at which senior members of the University were witnesses.

The work included advice and guidance on the acceptance, arrangement and conduct of individual and parliamentary interviews and press conferences, and on statements to the media. It also included work to monitor press activity as a supplement to the work being carried out by our own Press Office, to rebut incorrect and misleading reporting and, in some cases, to secure retractions and apologies.

Statement from Vice-Chancellor, Prof Edward Acton:

"I sought communications advice from a large PR company to address the distortion and misinformation still rife in the wake of the unauthorised publication of emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit. The company assigned Neil Wallis and another colleague to us for this purpose.

"No university would have had the capacity to deal with the media storm to which we were subjected and it would have been irresponsible not to have mobilised additional assistance to defend our reputation and to safeguard colleagues whose reputations were also at risk.

"Given the momentous issues at stake and the need to focus on them while continuing to support essential communications activity to our Schools and Faculties, I believe that we took the right decision in bringing in external advice."

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