David Walker, Muir Russell Project Manager

The Muir Russell report thanks a “David Walker” for serving as Project Manager without identifying him. Despite Walker’s importance as Project Manager, Muir Russell did not provide a bio at the Inquiry website. David Walker is a common name. So who is this David Walker?
Andrew Montford also wondered about this at one time, but did not arrive at any conclusions or even hypotheses.

The March 20 minutes show that Walker was tasked to produce a “draft report outline”. On April 1, he was taked with re-circulating the draft report outline “in light of the comments received.” On April 14, Walker and Muir Russell were assigned to approach Richard Horton, chief editor of The Lancet, as an experienced editor to provide information on peer review in the context of the issues being considered by the Review. (Horton’s generic and windy article did not deal with any of the particulars that Muir Russell was assigned to investigate.) On Apr 22, Walker agreed to produce guidelines on report format for circulation to the Review members. Action DW.

The minutes of the later minutes degenerate into little more than statements that the Muir Russell panel had met and had discussions (no doubt full and frank). The last meeting on June 29 was attended by only four people: Muir Russell, Geoffrey Boulton, Kate Moffat of Luther Pendragon and David Walker.

The latest FOI sheds a little light on the identity of the David Walker -
about whom Muir Russell was so coy. It appears likely that our David Walker lives in Richmond, Surrey – this can be deduced from the new information. It is thus highly unlikely that he is seconded from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as once seemed possible. I’ve emailed Walker asking him for information on his background. [Nov 25 - the Richmond, Surrey deducible from the information might be a registered office of some kind i.e. circumstantial evidence (but not proof) that Walker is London-based, rather than Edinburgh-based.]

Update: Nov 26, 2010. David Walker was not involved in any of the meetings prior to March 20. At that time, the Muir Russell inquiry was floundering. It had been 4 months since the emails had been released and 3 1/2 months since Muir Russell had been appointed and they had done pretty much nothing. Walker shows up at the March 20 meeting and is immediately assigned the job of producing a draft report outline for discussion at the next meeting – even though he’d just come on board. From then on, there were regular meetings and a report, however abysmal, was rescued from the Muir Russell mess.

When, in response to Sep 11, 2010 criticism at CA, Lisa Williams later wanted the Muir Russell website to say that the omission of 08-31 from the list of FOI requests considered by the inquiry didn’t matter (even though this was untrue), she emailed Muir Russell and David Walker, adding the instruction to Walker:

David, please could you let me know when this has been actioned.
Best,
Lisa

Update 1: I emailed Mike Granatt of Luther Pendragon asking him for bio information on David Walker. Granatt stated:

Luther Pendragon’s role of responding to inquiries on behalf of the Inquiry ended shortly after the review was published.

I don’t recall them responding to inquiries on behalf of the inquiry before the review was published either. Not that the inquiry inquired.

Update 2: David Walker provided a cordial reply to my email containing the following interesting and unexpected information:

I am a retired mechanical engineer and I spent my career working on pipeline design and offshore engineering. I retired from BP almost 5 years ago and continue to do a small amount of consulting.

I have had experience of ‘major incident’ enquiries, particularly in the process of co-ordinating work and compiling a report, which is the reason Muir approached me to assist with his enquiry.

I had no previous involvement or interest in any climate change matters.

An interesting presentation by Walker here.

32 Comments

  1. Navy Bob
    Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    Here you go. Note para 7.

    http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/search/1029072/Audit-Commission-comms-man-David-Walker-steps-down-no-job-go/

    Steve: I’m aware of this David Walker and regard him as a very possible candidate. But there’s nothing in the article that proves that he’s the David Walker in question.

    • Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

      Circumstantially, this David Walker gave special mention to the Global Climate Network: here (for what that is worth).

    • EdeF
      Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

      This is likely the man, has written for the Guardian and Prospect, and presented on Channel 4. The fact that they don’t introduce him or give his
      CV means he is likely well known in London. Of course this is only conjecture.

    • Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

      For what it is worth: here are this David Walker and Luther Pendragon partner Mike Granatt, in close proximity, fretting about Whitehall and quango communication team cost cutting here. (They aren’t in the same article – but they are in the same sphere, with the same concerns).

      Slightly off topic, I was interested to read that “Pendragon’s Mike Granatt’s” PR expertise is in crisis management and communication: here and furthermore that he was recently appointed to the HoC STC as an adviser on emergencies (here), and declared as an interest his support for the ‘Independent’ climate change e-mail review. Clearly it is a small world, and a world in need of much support and crisis management.

      • johnh
        Posted Nov 26, 2010 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

        Fretting is a good word, David Walker has resigned from his Job as Director Comms for the soon to be defunct Audit Commission, but not before sounding off about mis-reporting which was actually started by one of his own spin Doctors

        When the Audit Commission’s former director of comms David Walker furiously claimed that the suggestion the body had as many as 48 comms staff was dug up from some ‘half remembered report’, PRWeek gladly corrected him that it was in fact provided by one of his own press officers. That seemed to be that, but then the dispute somehow leapt to the pages of The Sun, which dubbed the 48 staff ‘spin doctors’. ‘Comms staff are not “spin doctors”,’ a now-infuriated Walker hit back. Good luck convincing the tabloids on that one, Dave!

        So doubt its him as he had another job until recently.

      • Posted Nov 26, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

        The Mike Granatt story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Granatt (apparently Mike wasn’t able to spin control the MPs expenses scandal – despite being retained by the HoC speaker on this subject, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7260755.stm). One would not have thought that the Muir Russell inquiry would not have needed such heavy spin control experience and services…

  2. Scott Brim
    Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    The link to the meeting minutes doesn’t work. Or maybe the pdf file itself has been deleted somehow, some way, by persons unknown.

  3. JohnH
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

    On April 1, he was taked

    Should taked be tasked ?

  4. Jonathan
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    The UK phone book (online) lists one “D Walker” living in Richmond Surrey; two others live close by. Of course many people are ex-directory.

  5. Jiminy Cricket
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    On this site: http://www.tiempocyberclimate.org/portal/arts.htm there is this entry

    Kulturbro
    Kulturbro is a major biennial, international cultural event set in the Oresund region and the five-mile long bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Includes concert halls, dance and poetry theatre, sculpture, painting, architecture, music and innovative educational activities. Kulturbro 2002 is reviewed by Ian Starsmore.

    “Reviewed by Ian Starsmore” is a link to this: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/tiempo/floor01/arts/kult/kult.htm strangely this link no longer works, you just get propaganda.

    On this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_G._Walker Ian Starsmore is listed as contributing.

    On this page: http://www.art1821.com/gallery.php?artistID=95 Ian Starsmore is resident of Norwich and appears to be related to the Uni (Head of Department?).

    So this David G. Walker is also a valid candidate.

  6. Jiminy Cricket
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 4:27 AM | Permalink

    My money is on this guy:

    http://www.odi.org.uk/about/staff/details.asp?id=523&name=david-walker

    The ODI has links to the UEA as it is listed as a funder:

    Funder: University of East Anglia – School of International Development (DEV-UEA)

    He is a Climate activist.

    • Jiminy Cricket
      Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

      Also he looks like Bob Ward’s double, so it must be him ;)

    • Jiminy Cricket
      Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

      The ODI Annual Report 2010 contains this:

      Professor Frank Ellis, Professor in Agricultural Economics at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia

    • Jiminy Cricket
      Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

      Edward Acton looks after this school:

      University of East Anglia – School of International Development (DEV-UEA)

  7. KnR
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

    I am not sure this is very productive , we know the Russell reviews was rubbish as was the other one. It’s also clear that these reviews played fast and loose with the idea of ‘independent ‘. But chasing down individuals may be counter-productive as it can end up looking petty and spiteful; the argument after all has to be won not on these web pages amongst supporters but in the wider realm amongst the public. And there is the danger that in the eyes of the public this approach is seen as ‘personal attacks’ with little relationship to the actual subject , over done its even in danger of making this people appear as the underdogs , which ironically may increase public support for them.

    My advice , keep it clean and clear , stick to taking apart the issue based on the facts and only use the personal when needed. Leave the AGW supporters to get down and dirty , their approach of attacking anyone on sight that dares to challenge the AGW theory is counter-productive for them.

    Steve: I’m not asking for information that is the least bit unusual for a properly constituted inquiry. Not providing a short bio of senior staff is what’s unusual here. I’m curious about who he is, not suspicious.

    • Sara Chan
      Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

      In general, that might be true. In this case tho, there is the question of how “independent” the Russell team was from UEA. If it turns out that David Walker has close links to UEA, that would matter. So some checking of who Walker is is for the good.

  8. kim
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

    Oh, what tangled webs we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.
    But oh, how we improve our style,
    Once we have practiced for awhile.

    H/t Emily Preyer.
    ==============

  9. LearDog
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    Its a pity that Muir Russell didn’t introduce their full team for scrutiny and leave things like this hanging out there. Agree that its a fair question – but reflective of the lack of trust in these matters. Its a little unseemly is all.

  10. Stacey
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    http://www.usshq.co.uk/Documents/Letter%20to%20FSA%20on%20acting%20in%20concert%2013%20Nov%202009.pdf

    Follow this link to a letter and you will see Muir Russell is a Director of the Universities Superannuation scheme. The letter is copied to Sir David Walker.

    Sorry its a two page letter and I did not want to fill up your blog.

    It could be a coincidence?

  11. Stacey
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Will the real Walker please stand up?

    Sorry couldn’t resist.

  12. Solomon Green
    Posted Nov 25, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Why did Muir Russell need a Public Relations firm [Kate Moffat of Luther Pendragon] to assist him in producing what was supposed to be an independent, objective report?

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    David Walker was not involved in any of the meetings prior to March 20. At that time, the Muir Russell inquiry was floundering. It had been 4 months since the emails had been released and 3 1/2 months since Muir Russell had been appointed and they had done pretty much nothing. Walker shows up at the March 20 meeting and is immediately assigned the job of producing a draft report outline for discussion at the next meeting – even though he’d just come on board. From then on, there were regular meetings and a report, however abysmal, was rescued from the Muir Russell mess.

    When, in response to Sep 11, 2010 criticism at CA, Lisa Williams later wanted the Muir Russell website to say that the omission of 08-31 from the list of FOI requests considered by the inquiry didn’t matter (even though this was untrue), she emailed Muir Russell and David Walker, adding the instruction to Walker:

    David, please could you let me know when this has been actioned.
    Best,
    Lisa

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 27, 2010 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    David Walker provided a cordial reply to my email containing the following interesting and unexpected information:

    I am a retired mechanical engineer and I spent my career working on pipeline design and offshore engineering. I retired from BP almost 5 years ago and continue to do a small amount of consulting.

    I have had experience of ‘major incident’ enquiries, particularly in the process of co-ordinating work and compiling a report, which is the reason Muir approached me to assist with his enquiry.

    I had no previous involvement or interest in any climate change matters.

    Curiously David Walker was first mentioned at CA (in passing) in a post entitled BP and the Climategate Inquiry in which I expressed my surprise that David Eyton kept up his involvement with the Muir Russell inquiry given his important job at BP and past experience in the US Gulf Deepwater.

  15. theduke
    Posted Nov 27, 2010 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if the BP oil spill investigation was among the “major incident enquiries” on which David Walker worked.

    Steve - it occurred after his retainer by Muir Russell. At the time, he was retired from BP. He looks like he would have been well-qualified to serve on the oil spill inquiry.

  16. theduke
    Posted Nov 27, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    snip – not the guy

    • theduke
      Posted Nov 27, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

      Doesn’t surprise me. I read somewhere there are over 200 David Walkers of note in the UK.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,192 other followers

%d bloggers like this: