FOI Friday: Rescuing fat people, dirty football grounds, spending on Facebook and young drink drivers

10 good examples of FOI in action from the local, regional and national media:

1. Bomb hoaxes at universities – Cambridge News

Universities, as a rule, hate being covered by the Freedom of Information Act – which is one of the reasons I like to see stories generated by it. This one is interesting – 46 bomb hoaxes at Cambridge university already this year? Surprised? I was.

2. Claiming over the odds expenses – Wilts Standard

The HMRC advised level for personal car mileage for company purposes is 45p. So why is a council letting staff and councillors claim almost 50p a mile – with no cap? A good FOI from the Wilts Standard which leaves some questions to be answered.

3. Fewer police than in the 1970s – Stoke Sentinel

Good use of FOI to get historic data to prove that in Staffordshire, there are now fewer officers on the beat than in the 1970s. And a good interactive chart at the bottom too.

4. Invisible councillors – Boston Standard

This is data which, quite frankly, should be posted after every council meeting: Who attended and who didn’t. But seeing as it isn’t, the FOI Act is the way to get it. A good way for the Boston Standard to hold its councillors to account.

5. Youngest drink driver – Birmingham Mail

A 14-year-old done for drink driving? According to FOI requests in Birmingham, that’s the case.

6. Hidden criminal offences of taxi drivers – Watford Observer

What job would you expect to be precluded from if you had a criminal record for causing death by dangerous driving? I’d put taxi driver on that list. Thank’s to FOI, we know that’s not the case in Bushey, near Watford.

7. Spending on Facebook – BBC

An interesting one from the BBC – finding out the Government has been spending £100,000 on Facebook advertising. There’s no doubt the public sector has become more social media savvy in recent times – has the spending gone there too.

8. Cable thefts – Norwich Evening News

Cable thefts from railway tracks are rarely away from the news – largely due to the problems they cause travellers – but 314 in a year in one area? Good stats under FOI from British Transport Police.

9. Dirty kitchens at a football stadium – Bolton News

I’ve mentioned this style of FOI a few times before but it is worth mentioning again – asking for the environmental health reports covering venues of public interest – in this case, the football arena at Bolton. And you’d have thought it was enough to have performances on the pitch making people potentially sick….

10. Called out to rescue fat people – Manchester Evening News

And finally – the number of times firemen have been called out to help paramedics move fat people.

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FOI Friday is compiled using Google News and tip-offs sent to this blog or to me via Twitter @davidhiggerson




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