Treasury rejects request under freedom of information act

July 14, 2006

The Treasury this week refused to reveal the thinking behind its proposals to move to a metrics system for assessing research and getting rid of the 2008 RAE.

Officials rejected a Times Higher request under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the evidence behind its proposals to replace the RAE with a metrics-based system.

It said information was not held as to which vice-chancellors fed into the decision to change the RAE and potentially do away with the 2008 exercise.

The Treasury also claimed it held no information about the point at which to involve the English funding council and the research councils in policy discussions. Any previous modelling was superseded by the RAE consultation drafted by Sir Alan Wilson, director-general for higher education at the Department for Education and Skills and the future head of Hefce, David Eastwood, it said. Releasing the information could prejudice the outcome of the consultation and risk undermining the policy process.

Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

"This is an important policy decision that risks doing great damage to the UK's research base, yet the Government has not published any evidence or analysis to explain or justify it. The Fo... Act was supposed to change this culture of secrecy, and if they want a meaningful consultation they should publish this and the other considerations that influenced their decision."

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