Royal Holloway publishes misleading data

At each of the Royal Holloway & Runnymede Consultative Group meetings, Royal Holloway presents data relating to the number of reports that have been made by members of the public about student misconduct. However, the data presented is not always what it seems!

According to the minutes of the meeting held on 21st March 2023, Royal Holloway’s Head of Wellbeing, Helen Groenendaal presented the following data:

Helen Groenendaal, Head of Wellbeing (March 2023)

Now if you take any of the categories in this report, let’s say the first one, ‘Noise – People (Rowdy Behaviour)’ as an example, and look at the figure in the ‘Number of reports’ column then you might think that the number of reports received was one – you could well be wrong though!

In fact, the table of data does not represent the number of reports received at all but the number of ‘noise nuisance investigation cases’.  Further, there could be any number of reports associated with each ‘noise nuisance investigation case’.

The data in this table came from the Environmental Health Department of Runnymede Borough Council which only recently explained that, if a member of the public reports an incident of, say, a noisy party from a student household, then the department will open a ‘noise nuisance investigation case’ and from that point forward, no matter how many subsequent reports the department receives relating to that same property – even if the reports come from several different neighbours – the number reported by Environmental Health will remain at 1.

This is, of course, completely misleading to the average reader and is likely to be significantly under-reporting the size of the noise nuisance problem caused by Royal Holloway students.  Incredibly, Surrey Police, Royal Holloway College, Environmental Health and Community Safety signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2021 to facilitate the exchange of information about student ASB between them and yet, nearly two years later, they are still unable to report this information in an open, transparent and consistent way.