Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Final media update for 2006

FT.com- Neutering Freedom of Information Act
"The government last week gave opponents of its plans to neuter, for all practical purposes, the 2005 Freedom of Information Act until April to make their case. It appears to be banking on a lukewarm response and a failure to grasp its obfuscatory reasoning."

The Economist - Every expense spared
"THE notion that access to information is a fundamental civil right lay behind the long campaign for a British Freedom of Information Act. But since it came into force in 2005, the FOIA has not always been treated with reverence. One request made under it was for the e-mail addresses of all the unmarried policemen in Hampshire; another wanted the number of sex acts perpetrated on Welsh sheep in 2003. The government is using such frivolous applications as part of the rationale for making it harder to get information."

The Guardian - Q&A: MRSA and other killer superbugs
"Records from 63 of England's 175 hospital trusts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 34,432 inpatients were found to be carrying the superbug in 2004. This equates to an average of 547 cases per trust and a national total of nearly 96,000."

The Times - Labour donor files shredded
"Officials at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were last night forced to admit that they had destroyed records relating to Sir Ronald Cohen’s role on two Whitehall committees.....DTI officials claim that the paperwork was shredded in accordance with “best practice” on limiting the amount of unnecessary material stored by Whitehall departments. However, recent government guidelines state that public bodies should keep important data about personnel for decades. The shredding of the paperwork came to light after a request under the Freedom of Information Act for details about Cohen’s appointment to the “tech stars” committee and the working party on investment competitiveness. The committees were launched in 1997."

Belfast Telegraph - What are we paying them for?
"Ministers' special advisers cost taxpayers over £1m. Special advisers to Assembly Ministers are still on the Stormont payroll - more than four years after the collapse of power-sharing, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today. And the decision to retain the advisers - with no Ministers to advise - has now cost taxpayers well over £1m. The expenditure, uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act, was today condemned as "outrageous" by the Alliance Party."

IT Wales - £200m unaccountable in school ICT procurement
"Becta cannot account for over £200m of taxpayer's money spent on software for schools according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.The quango set up to monitor ICT in schools is unable to account for over £200m of taxpayer's money spent on software for schools according to a recently published report. Using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the report published by Open Source company, Sirius Corporation, also criticises the 'closed shop' mentality of Becta in their promotion of favoured suppliers and that this has resulted in the excessive spend and a distortion of the ICT market in schools."

Blyth Wansbeck Today - Council's energy use increases 17 per cent
"Using the Freedom of Information Act the News Post Leader can reveal that Northumberland County Council spent more than £4.4m on energy in the 2005-06 financial year – an increase of more than £650,000 on the previous 12 months."

Spy blog - FOIA Decision Notice about the "Wilson Doctrine"
"We managed to miss, until now, this Freedom of Information Act Decision Notice, regarding a request to the Cabinet Office about the "Wilson Doctrine", published in July. Since we seem to have published more about the "Wilson Doctrine" on the world wide web, than anybody else this year, it would be remiss of us not to comment on this."

1 comment:

trmatthe said...

First, excellent blog. I've followed this for some time now and I appreciate the work you put into it.

Using WriteToThem.com I have written to my local MP - Lynda Waltho (Lab, small majority) to express my displeasure at the proposal to neuter the FOIA. I'm not expecting a reply as she has a 100% failure rate in replying to messages through this service.

Can you suggest anything else I can do to register my protest?

thanks,
Tim