Monday, October 02, 2006

Media update

The Guardian - Campaigners attack Shell's charity arm over Sakhalin talks
"An attempt by Shell to portray itself as a model of corporate social responsibility was undermined last night after Whitehall documents showed its charitable arm discussing a key commercial project with a British government minister. The multinational oil company says the charity it funds - the Shell Foundation - is completely independent and contributes nothing towards its profits. But documents released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act show the director of the charity, Kurt Hoffman, and the chairman of Shell UK, James Smith, lobbied the secretary of state for international development, Hilary Benn, in January at a meeting they had asked for."

IC North Wales - Councils fork out £5m for advice
"MORE than £5m was spent by four North Wales councils on consultants in only one year, the Daily Post can reveal.A whopping £5.3m of taxpayers' money was spent on outside bodies' advice in one financial year, with close to £3m spent by only one council.The details were supplied to the Daily Post under the Freedom of Information Act, although one county council refused to supply its figures."

The Scotsman - Open government?
"What is open government? Surely one must be that we know both where tax-payers' money is spent, and how effectively it is being spent. The Scottish Executive paid more than £130,000 for an independent review of their spending, and we were assured it would be published in the spring of 2006. Now the First Minister, Jack McConnell, has seen the review and has changed his mind about publication. Now he says we must wait until after the Scottish elections."

TES Soctland - Aberdeenshire Council appeals against ruling by Scottish Information Commissioner
"Aberdeenshire Council has performed a last-minute U-turn and decided to appeal to the Court of Session against a ruling by the Scottish Information Commissioner."

Belfast Telegraph - NIO freedom fighters
"Peter Hain's policies are so unpopular that the lives of senior civil servants would be put in danger if their identities were revealed - and that's according to the GOVERNMENT! the NIO made the astonishing admission in response to a Freedom of Information request to provide details of key senior staff who devise and implement Government policy here. After months of delay, the NIO suggested civil servants' lives would be put in jeopardy because they would "be exposed to increased risk of targeting or attack should their involvement in certain work be made public".

Scotsman - Immigration drive hijacked
"However, government documents obtained by Scotland on Sunday show that the scheme has been seized on by conmen in Nigeria to exploit desperate youngsters who want a new life in Britain."

Eastern Daily Press - Forces hit by language bills
"Statistics released by police bosses nationwide under the Freedom of Information Act show forces are now spending six figure sums each year on translation fees compared with tens of thousands five years ago."

Hold the front page - Belfast paper wins FOI case after five-month battle
"The Belfast Telegraph has won a five-month battle for information on the financial problems of a cash-strapped education board. The Information Commissioner ordered the release of a report compiled by external consultants on the finances of the South Eastern Education and Library Board after a Freedom of Information request by the paper in April."

IC Surrey - Maternity unit has 22 cases of MRSA in 30 months
"MORE than 20 babies contracted MRSA at East Surrey Hospital's maternity unit in the space of twoand-a-half years. Between January 2004 and June 2006, a total of 22 newborns were infected with the superbug after staying on the ward. The statistics show the most recent rate of infections since maternity services were transferred from Crawley Hospital to East Surrey Hospital in 2001. Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust released the figures after a request by the News under the Freedom of Information Act."

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