Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Media update

My weekly roundup of selected stories featuring uses of the Freedom of Information Act.......

The Times - How salt campaign was scuppered
"Household names were prominent in campaigning for a gentler approach by the Food Standards Agency, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose and Nestlé were some of the powerful players who pushed hard to persuade the FSA to adopt less demanding goals, the papers reveal."

eGov monitor- Gateway reviews on ID cards should be made public
"The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has upheld two complaints under the Freedom of Information Act following information requests to the Treasury and the Office of Government Commerce for the Gateway Reviews of the identity cards programme and the programme’s traffic light status."

BBC news - Number of prison escapes revealed
"Figures released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show 339 prisoners have absconded from the camp since 1996."

BBC news - Northern Ireland - Equality body denies 'jobs bias'
"The Equality Commission has been accused of "hypocrisy" after figures showed its Protestant and male workers were significantly under-represented. The figures were obtained by Castlereagh DUP councillor Charlie Tosh through the Freedom of Information Act."

Daily Mail - £360,000 bill for axed 'Prescott show'
"Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show £180,500 had already been spent on consultants' fees and £108,618 on contractors."

Daily Telegraph - Tragic mistakes in case of mother who jumped under train
"A mother who flung herself under a train with her two young children had told doctors and social workers that she could not cope, a report has revealed....The inquiry report, completed in March and released to The Sunday Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act, provides the first confirmation that Mrs Sidhu was treated for depression."

Independent - Secret nuclear bases to be shown on public maps
"The precise locations of dozens of secret military and spy bases are to be revealed on Ordnance Survey maps for the first time, ending one of the last remaining legacies of the Cold War."

.....also see www.secret-bases.co.uk

Sunday Herald (Scotland)- Will Castro See 80?
"And nobody is watching more closely than the man appointed by US President George Bush as “transition co-ordinator”: Caleb McCarry, head of the Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba (CAFC), whose job description includes overseeing the post-Castro scenario on the island.....But what worries Miller most of all is the British government’s refusal to release any information on a meeting last year between McCarry and the Foreign Office. “There was also a request submitted under the UK Freedom of Information Act to determine the breadth and content of the discussions between our government and Caleb McCarry. This was denied and is now subject to appeal,” he said."

Contractor UK - Work Permits system 'damaging' to UK IT pros
"In line with Contractor UK’s figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Amicus said 30,000 IT permits were issued in the last year – climbing from just 1,800 in 1995."

Local news

Norwich Evening News
- Police defend £500,000 cost of flying
"While many forces elsewhere in the country own helicopters, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed Norfolk police spent £488,681 in 12 months on hiring the vehicles."

Welwyn and Hatfield Times - Complaints against police hit new high
"ALLEGATIONS of brutality and other complaints against the police have rocketed according to figures handed exclusively to the WHT. Over the past year Herts police chalked up more than 700 complaints - a record - covering a variety of areas including assault, neglect, mishandling of property and prisoners. The figures were released to us following a request under the Freedom of Information Act."

"Swansea Council is still refusing to reveal whether any money has been paid from the Asda deal. Despite announcing the sell-off of land in Gorseinon in April, the council will not say whether it has received any money. Evening Post reporters submitted a Freedom of Information request shortly after the deal was announced to ask if any money had changed hands and, if so, how much. That request was turned down on grounds of confidentiality. An appeal was lodged, but Swansea Council has turned that down too."

"Detailed information on how the council came to introduce controversial changes to waste collections has been released to a group trying to have them reversed. The Royal Crescent Society submitted a raft of questions to Bath and North East Somerset Council under the Freedom of Information Act in a bid to boost its case for the new edge-of-property collection policy to be scrapped."

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