Some fascinating numbers reported in the London Evening Standard as a result of an FOI request to the Crown Prosecution Service, which was asked to reveal how many prosecutions in London were dropped ‘because they were no longer in the public interest’ – often on cost grounds. More than 20,000 cases were dropped in London, a rise on previous years, with critics saying costs are increasingly a factor. One which could run and run elsewhere?
FOI requests asking hospitals about what they’ve spent on equipment to deal with obese people are nothing new – but asking the ambulance service could bring in some interesting results, as this story on the Daily Post in North Wales proves.
Here’s a new take on the parking tickets FOI. We’ve all done FOIs about the how much hospitals make from parking charges, but how many parking tickets do they issue? In Aberdeen, it’s around 2000 fines a year. A nice sideline if ever there was one?
We’ve seen FOI requests about Section 106 cash before. To recap, Section 106 agreements involve developers paying a council for the provision of something needed as a result of their development, such as a playground near a new housing estate. In the past, the FOI requests have asked how much S106 cash has yet to be spent. This example, reported in the Wirral Globe, details how long it is taking Wirral Council to spend S106 cash on the things the money was intended for. In one case, a playground paid for in 1997 has yet to be built.
Simple, but effective: The York Press used FOI to ask the council for the 10 streets which had requested the most number of clean-ups in the last year. This includes complaints about dog fouling, littering, fly tipping and even the removal of dead animals.
A brilliant one from the Sunday Mail in Scotland which reveals how councils north of the border have spent £50k paying private detectives to watch their own staff suspected of taking sickies. Good to know it isn’t just us they snoop on!
An interesting taking on the ‘violence at the hospital’ FOI theme. Rather than ask the hospital for details, the Bradford Telgraph and Argus asked for the police to reveal how many times they’d been called to deal with incidents at hospitals. Interestingly, the figures differ from the hospital’s own figures.
I think we’ll see this one again and again in weeks to come. The Lancashire Evening Post reports on the websites most viewed (or rather, the ones with the most hits) on Preston Council computers. Fortunatley for the LEP, it outpips the BBC – just, although given we don’t know how the council measures viewing on each site, we don’t know how reliable it is. What we do know, however, is that two people were sacked and 10 disciplined for misuse of the internet. Presumably, not as a result of logging on to the LEP site.
With council redundancies on the rise, this could be an FOI to visit time and again. In addition to redundancies, councils also indulge in ‘compromise agreements’ to staff they need to get rid of, which often include a clause not to talk about time at the council. In the Black Country, the Express and Star reports, £2.6million has been spent keeping people quiet.
When it comes to telling the time, councils in the North East like to get it right. So they spent £2,500 on ringing the talking clock to be sure. Seriously. Good stuff from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.