FOI Friday: Bad living conditions, school repair backlogs, teen drug dealers and the return of schoolyard compo


Revealing the findings of ‘neighbourhood renewal assessments’ – Stoke Sentinel

Here’s one which could run and run across the country. The Stoke Sentinel reports on the findings of a council ‘neighbourhood renewal assessment’ – the likes of which are carried out by councils all over the place.

A NEW report has painted a sobering picture of just how bad living conditions have become in the Portland Street area.

The report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows how much conditions have deteriorated at some of the houses.

It is based on surveys carried out at 274 properties, a mixture of private rented and owner-occupied homes, as part of the council’s Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment.

Repairs backlogs at schools – Coventry Telegraph

WARWICKSHIRE schools have a staggering £83 million backlog of repairs.

Warwickshire County Council bosses estimated the cost of getting all the county’s schools up to a reasonable standard of repair.

The figures were uncovered by the Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act.

The cost of clearing up after police warrants – South Wales Evening Post

I think there’s a better story in here other than the one the South Wales Evening Post has gone with. It reports on the £5k in compensation the police has paid out for repairs to properties which were damaged during ‘negative warrants’ – ie warrants which were executed but didn’t lead to an arrest or seizure of goods. That’s a good story – but looking at the breakdown of negative v positive warrants, almost half were negative. A better story?

120 ‘foreign objects’ removed from patients in Lincolnshire – Boston Standard

Here’s a curious story. FOI led to the Boston Standard to find out that 120 people had ‘foreign bodies’ removed from them in hospital, yet the hospital couldn’t say what those objects were. The Standard used information from elsewhere in the country to talk about the sorts of objects which could be involved.

Teenage drug dealers – Teesside Evening Gazette

SUSPECTED child drug dealers as young as 15 were among those arrested on Teesside, new figures have revealed.

Officers from Cleveland Police arrested 17 suspected child drug dealers last year.

Five were girls held over claims they were dealing cannabis, and six of the boys, including two 15-year-olds, were risking lengthy prison sentences after allegedly dealing in Class A drugs.

The findings were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Escapes from mental health units – Wigan Evening Post

10% of people admitted to mental health units in Wigan escape, according to the Wigan Evening Post.

Cost of overseas patients not paying up – Scarborough Evening News

This story stands out more because of the level of detail released than anything else:

SCARBOROUGH’S NHS Trust is owed more than £30,000 in hospital bills, racked up by overseas patients not entitled to free treatment.

The figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request to Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, show that since February 2009, £33,229.41 has either been written off or is currently being chased by the Trust.

The numbers include £10,297 that the trust is still chasing from a Syrian patient who underwent treatment in May 2010.

The highest amount written off was for £5,701, owed to them from a Thai patient who underwent treatment in August and September of 2009.

The books and CDs you aren’t borrowing from the library – Sunday Sun

Tomes such as Old Scottish Clockmakers 1453-1850 and Agrarian History of England and Wales Volume 5 have lined library shelves untouched for decades.

But surprisingly some popular names were also on our list, compiled from Freedom of Information requests by the Sunday Sun.

When it comes to music, in Northumberland, four copies of Coldplay’s album X&Y were only borrowed once last year, the same number as The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.

The return of an old favourite: Schoolyard payouts – Leicester Mercury

A schoolgirl who was burnt when baked beans were spilled on her could be in line for a council pay-out of up to £12,000.

The hot food was spilled on the youngster’s neck at a county council-run school. The authority has now set aside thousands of pounds to cover potential compensation and legal costs.

The incident is one of 63 compensation claims made for injuries sustained at county schools during the past four years, according to new figures. But, of the 29 cases dealt with to date, just five have resulted in a compensation pay-out.

The cost of  council sick pay – Birmingham Post

Birmingham City Council spent £35 million on sick pay for staff last year.

And new figures have revealed employees in some departments are taking more than double the national average of days off ill.

The authority spent £34,856,713 on sick pay between January and December last year, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The council did not reveal the bill for paying agency staff to cover absences, meaning the total cost will be even higher.


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