FOI Friday (On a Tuesday again): Jet-setting council bosses, over 50s redundancies and racist schoolkids

1. ‘Culling staff aged over 50’ claim

A fascinating FOI from an organisation called Wise Owls, which campaigns for older workers, made an impact in the Carlisle News and Star. It revealed, using FOI, that of 24 people made redundant this year, 14 had been over 50. An FOI which could run and run this year? (Source: News and Star)

2. Racist schoolchildren

Fascinating figures from the Manifesto Club, the civl liberties group, which used FOI to find out how many reports of children being racist and homophobic were being logged by councils. The numbers are somewhat mindboggling – and proof of the stories you can get if you know the data councils store. (Source: Daily Telegraph)

3. Fat kids fail to lose weight

A good example of returning to a public project to see whether it has worked out, demonstrated by the Aberdeen Press and Journal. It asked NHS Grampian to reveal how many children had lost weight through a Healthy Weight Intervention Programme. Of 150, the answer was: 6. (Source: Press and Journal)

4. On the run

In the North East, 480 fugitives are on the run. How does the Sunday Sun know this? It used FOI to ask police forces for details of the number of people are on the run and wanted for crimes, or subject to arrest warrants. Those on the run include alleged gunmen, kidnappers and rapists. (Source: Sunday Sun)

5. Burglary hotspots

Perhaps eclipsed this week by the launch of or maybe not, depending on your opinion of the accuracy of the data, and the fact it only holds the last month’s data at present. Either way, the Hull Daily Mail used FOI to reveal the top 10 burglary hotspots in Hull. (Source: Hull Daily Mail).

6. Jetset lifestyle on the taxpayer

Great stuff from the Yorkshire Post which has used FOI to reveal the number of club class flights, luxury hotels and trips abroad made by public servants on the tax payer. They cast the net wide for this one, taking in hospitals, primary care trusts, councils, and police forces. The stories are quite staggering. (Source: Yorkshire Post)

7. Speed cameras

It wouldn’t be FOI Friday without a speed camera dig, would it?  Here’s one from the Coventry Telegraph which used FOI to reveal the number of speed cameras which failed to catch a single motorist – more than half of the city’s 15 cameras. (Source: Coventry Telegraph)

8. Child abuse involved in cuts?

The South Wales Evening Post used FOI to find out how many cases of child abuse were reported in Carmarthenshire last year – it’s not clear whether this came from the police or from the county council. The paper then sought to see what impact the pending cuts could have on child protection. (Source: South Wales Evening Post)

9. Domestic Violence

The scale of domestic violence in the North East was reported by the Sunday Sun using FOI, with 1,000 cases a week being reported across the North (Source: Sunday Sun)

10. Rape charges

And finally, a good use of FOI to get data to create a good story. From the Northern Echo, this story saw the paper reveal that there had been a sharp rise in rape charges in one county, while false reporting was also massively up in other areas. (Source: Northern Echo)


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