Monday, February 14, 2005

Media Roundup

Cumberland News 11th February -Lawyer warns of FOI dangers

"Nicholas Richards, a partner in Cartmell Shepherd solicitors, believes some businesses will use the Act to obtain information on rivals, such as the details of bids to win local-authority contracts."

Scotsman 13th February - Councils wasting millions in care costs, secret report reveals "A SECRET government report into a flagship scheme designed to care for Scotland’s most vulnerable people has uncovered evidence that councils have squandered millions of pounds of public funds.... total of £426m was paid out last year, but the private report - released to Scotland on Sunday under the Freedom of Information Act - found that the services being provided by different councils varied wildly in cost, with some charging thousands of pounds more than neighbouring authorities."

BBC News 13th February - Hundreds use new information act
"Scotland's public bodies have received more than 400 requests for information since new rules on openness came into force at the start of the year...Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion revealed the figure as he prepared to launch a public awareness campaign about the Freedom of Information Act. Mr Dunion said research has shown that only about 30% of people in Scotland have heard of the act"

Sunday Times Scotland 13th February - Doctors call for law change as firm checks prescribing habits
"THE British Medical Association (BMA) is demanding a review of the Freedom of Information Act after it was used by a private company to obtain details of the prescribing habits of hundreds of Scottish doctors.....IMS, an American-based market intelligence company, plans to pass on the information to pharmaceutical firms, which could use the data to target GP practices that are not using their drugs"

The Guardian 12th February - Howard pre-empts Labour trawl of papers from 1990s "Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, yesterday called for the immediate publication of selected government papers covering his period in charge of the Home Office."

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