Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Media roundup

The Times 24th May- The four hundred laws that shackle your right to know
"In 1987, 31 people died in the Kings Cross Tube station fire. The Fennell Report into the disaster found that many of the dangers had been identified in reports by the fire brigade, police and Railway Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Standards Committee. Yet there was one group of people who were kept in the dark about the danger: the Tube-travelling public. Almost 20 years have passed and the public are still being denied access to these reports, despite the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. The secrecy is because of an obscure law ” Section 21 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971” that makes disclosure to the public a criminal offence."

Standard (Africa) - Freedom of information law to be enacted (Kenya)

South Wales Evening Post 24th May - BATTLERS CALL FOR DECISION PAPERS
"Protesters fighting plans to axe Dylan Thomas School are trying to force Swansea Council to release documents which led to the decision. An application for undisclosed information has been made by the Cockett school's governors under the new Freedom of Information Act."

LGCnet - LGC freedom of information conference: media, businesses and individuals making most foi requests
"Requests for information from councils under the Freedom Of Information Act have come primarily from the media, but there has also been significant interest from trade unions, companies, individuals and from community pressure groups. According to Mirza Ahmad, chief legal officer at Birmingham City Council, and chair of the Bar Association for Local Government and the Public Service, and lead officer (ethical framework issues) at Acses, there have also been significant numbers of requests from local politicians – and not just from the opposition parties."

Press and Journal (North Scotland)- highland health staff payouts total £130,000
"Compensation payouts totalling almost £130,000 were made to Highland health staff who suffered back injuries over the past five years. Personal injury claims filed against NHS Highland reveal that by far the biggest individual payments were from spinal injuries at hospitals and facilities across the region. The figures were released by NHS Highland after a request from the Press and Journal under the Freedom of Information Act."

Press and Journal(North Scotland)- six babies treated for raigmore superbug
"Six new-born babies and two children have been treated for the MRSA superbug in the Highlands main hospital since 2003, reinforcing the danger the infection now poses to youngsters in hospital wards. The Press and Journal obtained the figures from NHS Highland yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act."

Teaching Times - Bad behaviour takes exclusions to record high
"Figures revealed to the Birmingham Evening Mail under the Freedom of Information Act, show that school exclusions have soared by 50% in just two years, reaching 274 in Birmingham's 74 secondary schools."

Cumbria Online - 20 dirtiest kitchens
"A News & Star investigation can reveal that butchers, hotels, restaurants, takeaways, greengrocers, residential homes and a school have come under fire for not meeting food hygiene standards. We have been able to lift the lid on West Cumbria’s dirty kitchens using the Freedom of Information Act."

Bath Chronicle - Taxpayers' £50,000 bill for extra freedom
"Local government reporter MORE people are using the new Freedom of Information Act in Bath than in any other area of the country. But residents' eagerness to find out information held by public bodies is coming at a cost. Taxpayers in the area have so far had to pay £50,000 just to fund Bath and North East Somerset Council's deliberations and research into answering their requests."

Eastern Daily Press - Council paid £21,000 for four days work
"A council paid more than £21,000 to two termporary senior officers who worked for just four days each. The figures were revealed by Waveney District Council after the EDP asked for documents about the issue under the Freedom of Information Act."

Environmental Health News - Highland authority posts kitchen inspections on website, setting new ‘accountability standard’
"Highland Council in Scotland has placed all its hygiene and health and safety inspection reports on its website. The council says that, as well as ‘significantly reducing the administrative burden of dealing with individual freedom of information requests’, the move will highlight positively the work done by the council’s environmental health service."

Newark advertiser - Prime site went to lowest bidder
"Information has now come to light about the bids offered to the district council for a prime building plot in Newark. It shows the council accepted the price from the lowest bidder, instead of one that was £245,000 higher. Details of the bids submitted to Newark and Sherwood District Council for the former Wadham Stringer car showroom site on the corner of Castlegate and Lombard Street were made public, after the Advertiser requested the documents using the Freedom of Information Act."

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