The Evidence File

Sounds interesting! What is this about?

Information about issues people might become concerned about has a strong habit of disappearing as campaigns start to organise. Accompanied by the strongest denials of any such practice from the guilty organisations, they often turn to reputation management consultancies and in-house audits to improve their image, which means making the bad stuff impossible to find.

This gambit can prevent a campaign from ever getting started. However by scouring the deep Web with forensic search systems and appealing for original documents that may be in people’s possessions, it is surprising what can be recovered, and put on display.

For example, what broke the Arch cru Fund crash campaign defence, was an appeal for original documents that enabled campaigners to estimate their losses following that fund’s suspension in 2009. This evidence file was published in 2011 to huge publicity by a previous organisation to Make Public. Because of this, campaigners finally realised not only how much they had lost, but how small the offer that Capita plc had made to buy them off, and pushed them into joining a national campaign that was ultimate successful for two thirds of them. The remaining one third are currently involved in court action against Capita for their part of this.

Currently there is the case of the very popular but now closed iconic gay pub The Black Cap. Here it was shown the redevelopment investors in a scheme called Common Ground Finance had regarded this pub closure was an excellent case study for their services in buying up, closing, and then redeveloping old pubs, and attracting further investment. They removed this case study from the Internet when their motivations were challenged and they declined to present a clear public story to campaigners seeking to see it reopened. Deep web research discovered the removal.

As they remove the case study, the presumption is (because they have not at this point denied it) they wish to keep their redevelopment plans quiet, and hope the campaigners will go away. By having the entire history of activity in the open, campaigners and the local council have a quickly referenceable guide to use when building support to have the pub reopen in its additional role, whilst at the same time the scrutiny of the council is also drawn to the investors’ activities here and elsewhere. And finally, the public focus chills the investors ability to make a move in secret.

The Evidence File is our WordPress blog that places as found evidence into an easily findable public space. The example Black Cap Pub evidence file can be found here:


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