Authorities such as councils and police forces have been very reluctant to divulge information about speed cameras in recent times. For example, West Midands Police refused to reveal which cameras made the most cash for fear of vigilante attacks on the cameras involved. But Wales on Sunday managed to get some useful information out of police forces in Wales, asking how many cameras were active (ie switched on) on a chosen date.
For all the coalition government talk about development agencies not providing value for money, there’s been little discussion of the cost of winding them up. One way to look at the cost of closing something down is to ask for the redundancy costs. The Lancashire Telegraph reports on an FOI request which revealed the redundancy bill at the North West Development Agency currently stands at £1.8million. Every little helps, and all that….
The Wokingham Times, like many newspapers, FOI’d the local council to find out how many parking tickets had been issued by the council and where. But it went beyond the top-line ‘total number’ of tickets in the story which followed, pointing out some interesting facts such as the number of tickets issued in car parks which were designated as free. Local knowledge + good FOI = better story?
At a time when councils are (rightly) pleading poverty, it’s worth asking how much they have in the bank as a result of Section 106 planning conditions – money developers have to pay the council to carry our improvements in an area as a result of a new development. For example, many councils will ask for money towards a new play park. The Bristol Evening Post did that and found there was £5million sat in the bank – it also reported where the money was meant to be spent.