Wednesday, 15 December 2010

If one doesn't ask... one doesn't get

Listen my grey-feathered friend... you may be a UCU member but you're
not a member of the Business School so fuck off! 

Yesterday two identical bundles of documents were delivered to (i) a District Judge, and (ii) a Mr Ian Austin.  Mr Austin - formerly of Halliwells LLP now of Heatons LLP- is a busy man. For as well as sitting on University of Salford University Council as an independent member,(1) he is also acting under instruction from the University in the University's libel claim against my good self.(2) Mr Austin has kindly provided two signed witness statements to the Court so far.

Document disclosure #1 - The TCM Group Report

A letter was also included with the identical bundles requesting that the District Judge issue a document disclosure order for the full TCM Group report and its diminutive brethren, the TCM Executive Summary. Why? As many readers may be aware, I've asked on numerous occasions for the TCM Group report and a copy of the TCM Executive summary to no avail. Apparently it contains some interesting and rather juicy information on appointments and recruitment in the Salford Business School. It's been requested under Freedom of Information via whatdotheyknow by that Shannon chap and someone called Li Na where it's been both refused and in the case of Li Na's request, remains unanswered which according to the website means the University is in clear breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I've requested it from the President of my union branch OGL (Sheehy), who neatly ducked what promised to be a particularly treacly issue, passing it rather deftly into the hands of the local UCU regional officials. I asked the regional official for a copy. The gentleman simply referred me to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unwittingly, I'd fallen headlong into a bureaucratically manufactured autosynchronous feedback loop reminiscent of the bastard progeny of the most nightmare-ish episode of the Twilight Zone and Groundhog Day. The regional official was I believe largely ignorant to the fact that I've not had much in the way of luck with my previous FOI requests to the UoS. Nevertheless, I'm glad I've kept paying my monthly subscriptions to the branch.

"Klaatu Barada Nikto" should get you a copy
And witness orders...

I've even had the temerity to ask an Employment Tribunal judge for a document disclosure order for it. The response of the judge was quite characteristic of previous requests for document and witness orders; such as the witness order for the extensive list of emails between Head of School John Wilson and lecturer Xiang Li. Yep, refused. I previously asked that the Tribunal grant a witness order for Head of School Professor John Wilson to give evidence. Also refused. I asked they grant a witness order so that Ms Li also appear and give evidence. Refused but I've become rather familiar with the theoretical concept of refusal.

History depleting itself...

Prior to the Disciplinary Hearing last year (2009), I did write to Head of School Wilson and Ms Li asking that they appear and give evidence. After all, I was accused of bullying and harassing them. You would think that as neither HoS Wilson or Ms Li made an official complaint of bullying against me, or provided two definitive witness statements to the investigating officer Scott Mulholland at least outlining the extent of my lampoon-based delinquency, that they would both be keen to appear at the Disciplinary Hearing and astound the panel with compelling personal testament to bolster the allegations against me? Oddly enough, they didn't. Mind you, Harloe and Hall also refused my personal invitation to appear and answer questions. Apparently writing about a couple of Vice Chancellors in the same Newsletters isn't deemed to be bullying or harassment in this alternative universe.

The bastard will never find it down here
But it was the vigour with which the University's lawyers (Eversheds for the ET) opposed the granting of this order that got me thinking and that's usually always a bad thing. What on earth is contained in this report that has so many people working overtime metaphorically speaking in order to restrict access to it? The big question is why doesn't OGL release the Executive Summary widely to UCU and UNISON members and UoS staff more widely? What on earth is stopping her? It's clearly in the interests of staff across the university to know what's in it... isn't it?

Technology - it's great isn't it?

Then I thought, "maybe she's slightly busy?" But then I thought "it wouldn't take long to say make fifty or so copies of the TCM Executive Summary and hand them out to members would it?" Then I thought "I bet the branch is broke and can't afford the exorbitant costs of making fifty photocopies?" If that's the case then I'd be happy to dip into my own depleted pocket to pay for the copying. Then I thought "maybe they could eschew one or two pre-EGM light luncheons to pay for it?" I quickly self-corrected as this was patently silly. Light lunches are important and there is after all, a few bob resting in the branch account and I can't think of a more worthwhile use of the branch's sizeable financial resources. If money or time is the issue, maybe she could scan one copy and email it as a PDF to all committee members who can then pass it down in an antithetical non-sustainable business model sort of arrangement to all staff.

Yet, Christmas is very nearly upon us and I'm sure more people are concerned about what to buy their loved ones for Christmas Day. I'm concerned about the post over the holiday period. I worry about nationalised industries all the time. So I thought I'd hurry off in today's post to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, my appeal against the decision of the Employment Tribunal judge not to grant the requested documents. With any luck the elusive documents and emails may be disclosed prior to the Employment Tribunal in March. If not I'm sure they'll be disclosed prior to or during any forthcoming libel trial.

Another hearing in all things deem'd calumnious, defamatory and libellous....

The University of Salford


the irksome Dr Gary Paul Duke

2 o'clock promptly before Judge Smith at Manchester District Registry
Tuesday, the 21st day of December 2010,
Manchester Civil Justice Centre
One Bridge Street West,

(1) University of Salford list of council members
(2)According to the University of Salford's own website, part 1.1.5 of University Statutes as approved by the Privy Council 21 July 2010 an " "Independent Member" means a member of the Council who is neither employed by nor a student of the University and who is considered by the Council to be otherwise independent and impartial."

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