Some time ago you made a written submission to the Archaeology Review Committee. This was very helpful to the Committee in its task of preparing a report to the Planning and Resources Committee within its terms of reference.
However, each submission was treated as being in strict confidence. This means that although they were taken into account in general terms, the report did not refer to any of the specific details of their content, no one outside of the Committee was permitted to view them, and it was decided that they should be destroyed in order to guarantee their confidentiality, respecting the conditions under which the Committee believed they were originally presented.
We are certain that in the circumstances this was the right way to treat the material you sent to us. However, an inevitable result is that any conclusions reached and any policy decisions made by the University will be formulated without the benefit of some of the detailed information that was available to the Review Committee. As a consequence it may not be entirely obvious what prompted some of the conclusions and recommendations contained in its Report. Effectively, any information given in confidence whether to the Committee or to any other officer of the University has no public, and therefore no practical, existence.
We understand that the Vice-Chancellor would find it useful to have access to some of the material submitted to the Committee, and to have in written form some of the statements that were presented verbally, and you might like to consider this possibility. As the two internal members of the Committee, we would like to remind you that anyone should feel free to make any submission to her.
We strongly suggest, though, that three essential constraints should be borne in mind by anyone who considers doing so. First, submissions should be as brief as possible. The Vice-Chancellor is a very busy woman and with the best will in the world she cannot be expected to find the time that the members of the Committee were able to devote to reading and listening to some very lengthy statements. Be brief; stick to the main points, and indicate where necessary that you could provide more detail if required.
Second, although you might reasonably ask that your name should not be published, you should be prepared to give your explicit permission for the Vice-Chancellor or her nominee to refer publicly what you have to say.
Third, you should make every effort to ensure that where possible what you say is verifiable; where that is not possible you should be quite certain in your own mind that what you say is a plain unvarnished account of the facts as you saw them.
To summarise: long, rambling accounts may not be read in any detail. Anonymous statements would probably not be read at all. You may ask that your name remain confidential, but you must be prepared to give permission for what you say to be openly quoted.
You could if you wished write directly to the Vice-Chancellor, though you might prefer to route correspondence via us as the two internal members of the Committee. The latter option has the advantage that we would then be aware of any submissions you make. The Report of the Review Committee as a whole is to be submitted to the Planning and Resources Committee at its next meeting on 28th February. To have any impact on the decision-making process any statements would need to be received well before the date.
Thank you again for the assistance you originally gave to the Review Committee.