Monday, June 05, 2006

Media update

Your Right to know - Shoot-to-kill policy
"Back in November 2005, I made an FOI request to the Metropolitan Police
asking for their Shoot-to-Kill policy and all correspondence and minutes
related to its introduction.It has been a long battle, but earlier this month, the MPS released quite a bit of new material. I will be posting the full correspondence on the Secret Squirrel pages soon. Some of you may have seen the BBC Panorama
programme Countdown to Killing that used some of the data that was released
under FOI." - NHS IT director general Granger's salary revealed
"Granger's salary, bonuses and expenses have finally been released to after a protracted wrangle with the Department of Health (DoH) over a Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request."

Hold the front page - Govt quango held to account by FOI inquiry
"The Kentish Express has exposed how a regional jobs quango spent almost £10m on an 11-storey office building - but has seen only eight new businesses move in since 2004. Kent Messenger Group political editor Paul Francis used the Freedom of Information Act to reveal how the South East England Development Agency bought International House in Ashford for £8.2m. At the time, it hailed the acquisition as "a significant step forward for the regeneration of Ashford".

The Scotsman - Restaurant pays first fine of smoking ban
"According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the notice was issued on 29 March for the offence committed two days earlier."

BBC news - Criminals rip off electronic tags
"More than 1,500 convicted criminals living in East Anglia removed their fitted electronic tags during a nine-month period last year.
Curfew offence figures released by the Home Office under the Freedom of Information Act, cover the period 1 April."

Daily Telegraph - Fined £13m, but Hatfield rail firms given £21m costs
"The disclosure of the payments was made by the Government following a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The Department for Constitutional Affairs said: "The cost paid from Central Funds (taxpayers' money) for the defence of the accused was £20.9 million."

Daily Telegraph - Theatres set to follow the National's seven-day-week
"Although Mr Hytner has previously spoken out in favour of seven-day opening, the papers, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show the extent of the progress that is being made."

Daily Mail - Police heroes to have thousands of pounds cut from pensions
"According to information obtained by the Police Federation under the Freedom of Information Act, 21 forces including the Metropolitan Police, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Gwent are reviewing their pension policies."

The Guardian - Ripper guilty of additional crimes, says secret report
"Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act also disclosed that the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was furious at the incompetence of the detectives who had failed for five years to catch the Ripper."

The Guardian - 'Menu' of private clinics in big push to widen choice for NHS patients
"But last month the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons solved the problem in its specialty by publishing risk-adjusted data. The breakthrough came after an application from the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act for individual surgeons' mortality scores."

The Guardian - No 10's man to get paid £900 a day to scrap CSA
"Now, following a freedom of information request from the Guardian, the DWP has released his payment details for a three-day week and disclosed that ministers did not draw up a short list of candidates. Instead his appointment was made by Mr Hutton and the prime minister."

Regional news

"The force lost three sat navs valued at a total of £650 from their own vehicles between January, 2005, and April, 2006, according to a list of stolen police property obtained under the Freedom of Information Act."

This is Wiltshire - LABOUR councillors reacted angrily last week after their latest request for the addresses of all the area's council house tenants was sidelined by Salisbury district council chiefs. The Labour members, who want the information as part of their campaign to stop the transfer of the council's housing stock to a housing association, were refused previous requests in January and February, on the grounds that releasing such details could breach the Data Protection Act. But, following a ruling by the freedom of information commissioner, (see the ICO's decision) ordering Mid-Devon district council to release similar information to its members, Labour again raised the issue at Salisbury council's annual meeting."

Birmingham Post - Parents of bullied children take fight to court
"Birmingham Council made three payouts for bullying - one for £12,976 and two for £400 - according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. "

International News
Canada - Northern life - Cost of getting court papers worrisome for Ontario journalists
"The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) have awarded its Code of Silence Award to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant for the excessive fees his department charges citizens, mostly journalists, to view and copy public court documents."

USA- NY Times - Deafened by the S.E.C.'s Silence, He Sued

Australia - Victorian Ombudsman Review of the Freedom of Information Act
"The Victorian Ombudsman has tabled a report in Parliament about a review of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The Ombudsman, Mr George Brouwer, said delays in processing freedom of information (FOI) requests were still the major issue for applicants. He said there were also problems at times with lack of quality in reasons for decisions, the poor level of assistance to some applicants and some internal processes in government departments." - Info Commissioners Meet in Manchester
"By Emilene Martinez-Morales for
Transparency Programs Coordinator, Mexico Project, National Security Archive, George Washington University"

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