Monday, May 08, 2006

Media update Part one

Highlights from some of the key FOI stories while I've been offline...part two later this week...

National news

The Guardian - Local authorities investing over £700m in arms trade
"Almost all local authorities in Britain hold investments in the world's largest weapons companies, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act."

The Guardian - UFO sightings caused by freak weather, says MoD report
"The report, which is nearly 500 pages long, was released under a Freedom of Information Act request by David Clarke, a social scientist at Sheffield Hallam University, and his colleague Gary Anthony. Dr Clarke estimates that the report, with a mysterious unnamed author, cost around £100,000 to produce.He questioned why the MoD kept the project under wraps."

The Guardian - Blair accused of using RAF planes as private taxi service
"The figure was released by the Ministry of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act, and put the cost of the prime minister's RAF flights at £1.22m. A total of £3.06m was spent on government flights between 2002 and 2004."

This is Money - Britain's worst telecoms firms
"Regulator Ofcom has compiled a blacklist, obtained by Financial Mail, which highlights the UK's worst telecoms companies in terms of complaints from their new customers about mis-selling....In response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Ofcom said one company, Hertfordshire based Lo-Rate Telecom, received complaints from more than one in five new customers."

Scotsman - Sick joke of NHS 24's £17m consultants' cheques
"TROUBLED health helpline NHS 24 spent £17.5m on private management consultants, the vast majority of which went to one firm, a Scotland on Sunday investigation has revealed."

Observer - If sex offenders live in a hostel in your street, how do you find out?
" If you think that a local authority is withholding information which should be in the public domain, the Freedom of Information Act can be used to secure the release of that information.'"

Daily Telegraph - US tops list of C-charge dodgers
"American diplomats have come top of a list of London's congestion charge dodgers, piling up £202,150 worth of fines in the last six months, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act."

Daily Mail - Healthy patient blocks bed for four years
"An elderly patient spent four years in hospital despite being well enough to leave, it has emerged...The case emerged in figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, relating to the longest hospital stays by patients well enough to leave."

Regional news

Shropshire Star - Drug campaigner in policy bid after refusal
"A Herceptin campaigner has been forced to invoke the Freedom of Information Act after officials refused to show her the policy that determines why patients are refused the drug."

Suffolk Evening News - Huge rise in children with drugs
"Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 125 under 18s were caught with drugs in 2005, compared with just 12 in 2002."

Hold the front page
- 11+ exam figures uncovered in paper's FOI test
"The Kentish Gazette in Canterbury has used the Freedom of Information Act to find out the 11-plus exam pass rates for schools in its circulation area."

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