Monday, March 14, 2005

Media roundup

Hold the Front Page 11th March - FoI success for North East weekly
"The Darlington & Stockton Times has been able to bring its readers details which it believed should be made public, but had been kept secret by a local authority, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. The weekly newspaper decided to put the Act to the test and ask Richmondshire District Council to reveal the cost of a controversial training course for its senior management team in 2002."

The Guardian 11th March - Pensioner faces court over council tax protest
"A 70-year-old pensioner has stepped up his protest against council tax increases by demanding a list of other non-payers.....The former welder has now used the new Freedom of Information Act to force the council to admit how many people are failing to pay their council tax, and how many of them have been taken to court to date. "What annoys me is that other people who have not paid their council tax at all for two years, and yet they are jumping on me," he said. East Devon district council told it was unable to confirm the number of non-payers in its district. "We do not hold any definitive data as to the total number of customers who have not paid, as this information is changing on a daily basis," a spokesman said. "Similarly, we cannot be specific about the amount of council tax outstanding, as this also fluctuates from one day to the next. What we can say is that in 2003-04 our collection rate was 96.9% and we have already met this year's target of 97%."

Art Newspaper - Just how open are UK museums?
"When the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act came into force on 1 January, The Art Newspaper submitted requests to four major UK museums and galleries. We are now able to publish the responses from the National Gallery, the Tate, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)—giving the first indication of whether the law is ushering in a new era of openness."

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