FOI Friday: Bed blocking, council ad spending, smoke alarms and police accidents

Hygiene fears in hospitals

Not one for those who find Casualty squeamish: The Cynon Valley Leader reports on the reaasons why hospitals call out pest control services. Rats, mice, flies and bugs have all been reported at a cost of £258k.

Playing with fire?

Here’s an interesting statistic found under FOI: the percentage of fire service call outs to houses which didn’t have a smoke alarm. Answer in North Somerset? : 39%. That surprised me as being quite high? (Source: Weston Mercury)

Councils spending money to warn how bad cuts will be

Ok, so The Sun has a political agenda but this FOI is still worth mentioning. They used FOI to ask councils how much they had spent on publicity to warn people of the impact of funding cuts. More than £220k has been spent by 47 councils combined. (Source: The Sun)

Police car accidents … in their own car parks

The Crewe Chronicle reports on an FOI which revealed that Cheshire Police has spent £63k repairing cars involved in 141 bumps which took place in their oen car parks. Details of some of the bumps make for interesting reading.

Workplace compensation payments for council staff

Councils will often offer up information on how much they spend on settling no win, no fee claims from members of the public for trips and slips, but what about the amount they spend on settling claims from staff? The Edinburgh Evening News reports on £10million in payouts in recent years.


A different way to establish the impact of the recession is to look at crime figures. The most obvious one is shoplifting, and the Northampton Chronicle reports on 3,000 peole caught shoplifting.  It’s a crime many newspapers overlook normally, but put in context of tough trading conditions, it perhaps has a more important perspective.

Globe-trotting council

Cumbria County Council staff visited  eight countries in two years on official business, the News and Star in Carlisle revealed using FOI. The cost, however, was just £2,746 as most trips were paid for by external organisations. Still, quite why 12 headteachers had to visit Denmark to learn how children move from infant to junior school is bemusing.

Ride and run crimes

Ride and run crimes involve people getting a cab ride and running off at the end without paying. The Cambridge News used FOI to find out that there were 70 such incidents in Cambridge last year, according to police. Cabbies say the problem is much worse.

Bed blocking

Covered on this blog more than once before, but worth flagging up again, is the bed blocking FOI. Hospitals keep details of how many ‘bed days’ are lost to bedblocking, and it is possible they can say how long the longest bed blocking case has gone on for. In North Wales, it’s two years. (Source: Daily Post North Wales)

Cost of recruitment

In this job-short times, you’d think there wouldn’t be much call for a recruitment consultant when a council wanted to find a new chief executive. The Evening Chronicle reports on a £22k spend on consultants to find a new chief executive, only to get 20 applicants and then decide none were suitable.


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