Monday, April 24, 2006

Media update

National news

Independent - Criminals using FoI Act to identify informants
"Murderers and convicted criminals are using the Freedom of Information Act to try to identify the police informers who helped to jail them."

Daily Telegraph - Companies House admits losing 10 accounts a month
"The official registry of UK companies admitted in a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The Daily Telegraph that it lost 190 accounts between March 2004 and October 2005."

Daily Telegraph - 'I'm earning a mint. They waste so much money'
"The Sunday Telegraph contacted all 194 health trusts in the UK and, under the Freedom of Information Act, asked them to supply details of their expenditure on private taxis for patients for the period spanning 2000 to 2006. Nearly two-thirds - 126 - provided the information, 11 were "unable" to give details, five said they did not have records of spending on taxis, and 52 failed to respond to our request. The £25 million total is for 2004/05, and the figure for 2005/06 is expected to be about £23.5 million."

Daily Telegraph - Latest games consoles handed out to young jail inmates
"Figures released by the Prison Service under the Freedom of Information Act show that at six young offenders' institutions there are a total of 105 PlayStation 2s costing £100 each, 11 Microsoft Xboxes at £100 each and six hand-held Nintendo Game Boys at £70 each."

Sunday Herald (Scotland) - Enterprise chief demands limits on ‘costly and disruptive’ Freedom of Information Act
"SCOTTISH Enterprise chief executive Jack Perry is demanding reform of the country’s new freedom of information (FOI) law. The agency head, who has been criticised recently for his organisation’s inability to balance its books, wants a crackdown on politicians and journalists who table FOI questions. He says the “irresponsible use” of the legislation is disruptive and backs proposals to narrow the scope of requests."

Sunday Herald (Scotland) - Holyrood doubled shredder budget ahead of FOI law
"HOLYROOD officials doubled their spending on document shredders in the lead up to the freedom of information (FOI) law being introduced. New figures show the budget to destroy records ballooned at the same time the parliament was supposed to be making information available to the public."

Wales on Sunday - Dad fights for truth after HIV blunder
"Haydn has put in Freedom of Information requests since the introduction of the Act in January 2005, allowing members of the public to request information from public bodies. But in a cruel twist, he was told vital documents which could have thrown light on the circumstances surrounding the infection of 1,200 people with HIV through blood were destroyed in a civil service blunder."

Observer - Tainted blood victims allege official cover-up
"After several victims lodged a freedom of information request earlier this year, they was told they had been erroneously destroyed, some during the early Nineties and the remainder between July 1994 and March 1998." - How much does NHS IT chief Granger earn?
"The Department of Health (DoH) is dragging its feet over releasing details of NHS IT chief Richard Granger's salary, bonuses and expenses despite a request made by under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act."

Computer Weekly - Health officials say IT scheme has enough scrutiny in response to technical audit call
"In 2005, Computer Weekly asks for details of the 2002 Downing Street seminar under the Freedom of Information Act, and the request is refused."

Press Gazette - BBC urged to disclose presenters’ salaries after tabloid pay leaks
"The BBC believes that journalists' salaries is information held for "journalistic, literary or artistic purposes" and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Since the FoI Act came into force last January, the corporation has routinely cited this derogation to bat away requests about the remuneration of high-profile broadcasters, including Paxman, John Humphrys, Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Andrew Marr, Kirsty Wark, Gary Lineker and Michael Parkinson. The corporation has also rejected requests, including one from Press Gazette, to reveal the salaries of its 25 highest-paid journalists without naming them."

Regional news
Morecombe today - How clean is your restaurant?
"Lancaster City Council is the first authority in Lancashire and one of only a handful in England to put its food hygiene inspection reports online.
More than 90 inspection outcomes are currently listed on the website ( and this number is expected to rise to over 700 during the next 12 months.

Cambridge Evening news
"We are able to lift the lid on the details of the big cat evidence after we demanded details under the Freedom of Information Act. There have been a number of credible reports of a creature like a black panther - while other witnesses have described seeing a lynx-like creature. The evidence suggests that far from being mythical, there really is a beast or two roaming the wilderness. Sightings from Balsham to Ely and Granchester to Alconbury Weston add credibility to the once-mocked theory of a big cat in the fens."

Birmingham Post - Revealed - Who gets what on the arts front
"the size of grants given to bodies such as the CBSO and the Birmingham Royal Ballet - even though both organisations publish details of all income sources in their annual reports. Following a Freedom of Information Act request by The Birmingham Post, a breakdown of awards to 12 organisations has been disclosed by the council."

Overseas FOI

Reuters - US releases extensive list of Guantanamo detainees
"The Pentagon late on Wednesday released its most extensive list of foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, providing the names and nationalities of 558 detainees who went through a hearing process there. The Pentagon posted the 11-page list on its Web site in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Associated Press."

Canada - Vancouver Sun - Liberals 'not inclined' to open up about $100-million trust
"Liberals have rebuffed two requests to include the $100-million New Relationship Trust under freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation."

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