Friday, March 31, 2006

Media update

National news

Private Eye - HP sauce column. Discusses the ICO's £100K contract with PA consulting: "That sum should just about pay the first year's fees fir PA's new director who among her many other jobs, is also a Director of teh DCA"

Press Gazette - Centre of power slow to act on FoI
"Guardian freedom of information specialist David Hencke has told MPs that the nearer reporters get to Tony Blair, the less information they get. A watchdog committee of MPs called in Hencke on Tuesday night to hear first-hand how Whitehall was responding to reporters' requests made under the Freedom of Information Act."

Freelance uk - BBC spends £4m on freelance design
"Obtained by The Observer under the Freedom of Information Act, the disclosures show that the Canadian artist Mark Pimlott won the most lucrative design project, costing licence payers’ over £1.6m."

Supply Management - Absence of prejudice
"The National Maritime Museum could not rely on the 'commercial prejudice' exemption when it was asked to reveal details of payments made to a contractor. David Allen Green explains"

Regional news

This is Wiltshire - GWH rakes in £600k from parking fees
"SWINDON'S flagship hospital raked in more than £600,000 in parking charges from patients and visitors. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act lift the lid on the money-spinning parking regime run by the town's health chiefs."

South Wales Echo -£200,000 cost of missing mail
"More than 17,000 residents and businesses in South Wales received compensation topping £200,000 from Royal Mail, it has been revealed."

Belfast Telegraph - Bird flu pandemic power crisis fears
"Maintaining essential services such as oil and gas supplies cannot be guaranteed if a flu pandemic strikes Northern Ireland, the Government has privately admitted. The revelation is contained in a paper obtained by the Belfast Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act."

Birmingham Post - Post appeals decison to keep agreement secret
"The Birmingham Post has appealed against a decision by Solihull Council to refuse disclosing documents relating to the £100 million redevelopment of Shirley town centre."

Surrey online - MRSA hits 300 patients in hospital
"A SURREY Mirror investigation has found a staggering 302 patients contracted the potentially fatal superbug Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) at East Surrey Hospital in the past 12 months. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the Mirror has learned that more than 300 patients caught the disease at the hospital, while a further 357 arrived at the hospital with the disease over the same time period."

Birmingham Post - Sir Albert runs up £1,450 council phone bill
"Top Birmingham Labour politician Sir Albert Bore ran-up a £1,450 bill on his city council mobile phone in just six months - easily outstripping local authority colleagues."

Yorkshire Post - Darling under fire over tram project
"The revelations, revealed in documents obtained by the Yorkshire Post under freedom of information rules, come as the Government is being investigated by Whitehall's spending watchdog over the project's collapse and the £39m of taxpayers' cash spent on it."

Overseas FOI

Business Day
(South Africa) -
"THE Supreme Court of Appeal has handed down two ground-breaking judgments involving the Promotion of Access to Information Act and tender processes. The rulings require transparency in the adjudication of tender processes, including easy access to information about bidding companies."

Reuters - U.S. agrees to release Abu Ghraib pictures
"The release of the images is part of a Freedom of Information Act suit filed in 2003 by civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, over treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay."

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