FOI Friday: 10 things we’ve learnt this week thanks to the Freedom of Information Act


Befordshire Police ‘rented out’ its officers to no fewer than 33 organisatons, reports Luton Today, thanks to and FOI request, including town centre committees, the local hospital and a parish council. The FOI went to the local police force.

Reveal a babycare scandal

You’d like to think if an organisation such as the Royal College of Paediatrics was asked to investigate problems at a hospital after the death of a child, it would be a given that said report must be made public. Apparently not, according to the BBC, which says such a report at a hospital in Birmingham was only made public after its FOI request. Worth noting if your hospital has suspicious deaths.

Cancer drugs turned down

I did a similar FOI to this in 2008 – asking Merseyside health authorities how many times they turned down people for drugs which consultants said should be funded by the NHS. The fact that the problem is still so bad in some areas, as reported by the Oxford Mail, is quite shocking.

Attacks on prison officers

The Hounslow Chronicle turned its attention to a local young offenders institute this week, reporting on how more than 1,000 attacks had been recorded against staff in the last decade.

Why drivers were stopped by the police

A kissing couple and a driver with his arm in a sling were among dozens of Westcountry motorists fined by police for poor driving last year.

So begins  a brilliant story in the Western Morning News, which reported that Devon and Cornwall Police prosecuted 126 motorists in 2009 for not having “proper control” of their vehicle and a further six drivers for not having a “full view” – thanks to FOI.

The cost of complaints to councils

The South Wales Echo asked the Local Government Ombudsman to release details of the complaints it had investigated against Cardiff Council over the past five years. 422 were investigated, of which 75 resulted in compensation payouts

Vice chancellor’s expenses

To York and the pages of York Vision, the student newspaper for the university in the historic city. They used FOI to find out how much the vice chancellor had claimed in expenses. In the last three years, his expenses were £135,000 – £57,000 of which was on plane tickets.

Crimes against students

Sticking with the Student press, this time Student Direct: Mancunion. It is the student newspaper for the Manchester universities, in case you hadn’t guessed. It asked Greater Manchester Police for details of all crimes recorded against students – some 2,000 in just a couple of months.

Babies born in hospital – but without a midwife

Here’s a random stat you’d probably not expect a hospital to hold: the number of babies born in hospital without a midwife present. It’s  stat the Sheffield Star managed to get from an NHS trust in its area, though.

Criminal coppers

Wales on Sunday reports on the numbers of police officers with criminal convictions who have been allowed to stay on as police officers. Nothing serious, you understand – just burglarly, drugs posession, cruelty to animals, assault and offences like that!

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