Wednesday, July 08, 2009

FOI Disclosure Stories 29 June - 5 July 2009

Workers protest over job cuts as colleges waste millions on consultants and agency staff - UNISON 03/07/09
“New figures revealing that £51,213,507 has been spent on expensive agency staff and paying consultant fees by further education colleges has been slammed by UNISON and UCU as a waste of money… Seventy nine colleges in England that had refused to give staff earning less than £17,000 an agreed pay increase of £550 in 2008/09, or a pay offer of 3.2, were targeted in the survey. 

And the results show that those employers spent a total of £29,533,507 on agency workers and £21,680,000 on consultants last year, bringing it to a massive £51,213,507.”

Transport for London in spending row over £2,761-a-day consultants - Guardian Unlimited 02/07/09
“Transport for London spent more than £14m on consultants in just one department over a two-year period, it emerged today. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union used a freedom of information request to unearth figures showing TfL is paying up to £2,761 a day per consultant in its congestion charging and traffic enforcement department.”

UK's bloody Afghan legacy - Channel 4 01/07/09
“The British Army has paid out compensation for, or is in the process of investigating the deaths of, at least 104 civilians killed in clashes in Helmand in just 18 months, Channel 4 News can reveal. A freedom of information request by this programme has revealed a large number of claims by Afghan civilians against British forces in one of the most violent regions of Afghanistan, in which UK forces have been the main Nato force for five years.”

Darzi centre funding dwarfs GMS cash - Pulse 30/06/09
“Our investigation shows funding per patient at GP-led health centres is almost three times as high on average, and in some cases as much as seven times as high, as at GMS practices. Some 25 PCTs released details of contracts under the Freedom of Information Act, although many more refused, claiming the release of figures would prejudice future tendering processes. Trusts are paying an average of £180.92 per registered patient to GP-led health centres in their first year, far outstripping estimated average funding of £63.24 per patient for GMS and £78.63 for PMS contracts.”

Are private prisons working? - Channel 4 29/06/09
“Britain's private prisons are performing worse than those run by the state, according to data obtained under the freedom of information act by More4 News. The findings, based on the overall performances of 132 prisons in England and Wales, appear to undermine claims by government that private prisons are raising the standards for over 80,000 prisoners held across both the state and private-run sectors.

 Separate figures from the probation officer ombudsman, also released under an FOI, show nearly double the number of prisoner complaints are upheld in private prisons as they are in state-run institutions.”

Danger of airplanes' birdstrike - The Mirror 29/06/09
“Nearly two aircraft a week are involved in potentially fatal collisions with birds, safety statistics reveal. Pilots have been forced to issue Mayday alerts or make emergency landings as their jet engines dangerously lost power after a birdstrike, the Civil Aviation Authority said… In Britain, the CAA dossier reveals 100 birdstrike incidents last year.”


4,000 noise complaints in Notts in one year - Nottingham Evening Post 01/07/09
“There have been more than 4,000 complaints about noise pollution in Notts in the last year. The figures were released by Rockwool insulation company after a Freedom of Information Act request. Of the 4,414 complaints, 2,038 were in the city council boundary.”

More than 250 Met officers facing racism allegations
- This is London 01/07/09
“A total of 255 Metropolitan police officers are facing accusations of racism, according to new figures. Some 238 complaints were submitted by members of the public and a further 17 involve internal allegations of misconduct. The figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act record the number of complaints of racism made against officers in individual boroughs and police squads.”


Anger at 'soft' jail terms for serious attacks
- The Scotsman 04/07/09
“The Scottish Government has been accused of presiding over a ‘soft touch’ justice system after it emerged that thugs convicted of attempted murder and serious assault had been given prison sentences of less than six months. New statistics – released under Freedom of Information rules – reveal that since 2003-4, 335 of those found guilty of serious assault were given sentences of less than 182 days. A further three people convicted of attempted murder were also given terms of less than six months.”

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