FOI FRIDAY: Changing high streets, FGM, hospital crimes and council staff attacks


How is your high street changing? – East Grinstead Courier

instead is filling up with coffee shops and financial service providers such as banks and estate agents – and residents are not happy about it.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request put in by the Courier, nearly half the change-of-use applications submitted by East Grinstead businesses have seen permission granted to change them into one of these two categories.

And the response from Mid Sussex District Council also reveals that every application – all 17 – made since 2009 to change an East Grinstead shop from one type of business to another submitted to the council has been approved (one on resubmission after an initial rejection).

What crimes are committed in hospital? < Dundee Evening Telegraph

Drug-dealing, shoplifting, sexual assault, vandalism and assaults on police officers — all activities you might associate with a rough housing estate.

However, these are actually just a few of the crimes which have been reported at Dundee’s biggest hospital in recent years.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show nearly 200 crimes have been reported at Ninewells Hospital since 2011, including 62 last year.

The cost of housing homeless families in B and Bs – Scunthorpe Telegraph

MORE than £47,000 has been spent housing homeless families in hotels and bed and breakfasts across North Lincolnshire.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that during 2013 £47,218 was spent housing 40 families across the region.

This shows a drop from £85,307 which was spent housing 45 families in 2012.

Councillor John Briggs, cabinet member for asset management, culture & housing said: “The use of bed and breakfast accommodation for those who present to the council as homeless is rarely appropriate, especially for families with children and it is very expensive.”

Increasing cases of female genital mutilation < Western Gazette

Police in Avon & Somerset investigated 13 case of female genital mutilation in 2013.

The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request and the number of cases marks a significant increase on previous years in the region.

It compares with four in 2012 and six in 2011. It has also investigated six cases between January and June this year but did not provide information about arrests or charges.

Council staff attacked at work < Sunderland Echo

ALMOST 100 Sunderland council workers have been attacked while carrying out their duties in the past two years.
New figures reveal that 1,564 council staff across the North East have been either verbally or physically assaulted while at work.
Of that number, 94 have been Sunderland workers and 254 work for Durham County Council.

Roadworks every day on motorways < Bolton News

THERE was a lane closure on the M60 every day last year, according to figures obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.

The orbital motorway in Greater Manchester was one of seven to report closures on all 365 days of 2013, according to new figures obtained from the Highways Agency.

A road which fared better was the M61, linking Bolton to Preston and Manchester, which closed lanes on only 90 days last year.

Revealing the findings of council staff surverys < Western Morning News

Only one in four employees at a Westcountry council feel the morale is good where they work, a survey has revealed.

This is one of several issues highlighted by the 2013 Cornwall Council staff questionnaire, alongside a lack of confidence in job security and concerns about a disconnect with management.

The results of the staff survey were revealed following a Freedom of Information request to Cornwall Council.

Hate crimes on the rise < Rossendale Free Press

Shocking new figures have shown a rise in hate crimes on the seventh anniversary of the death of Sophie Lancaster.

Crimes committed against minority groups in the borough are at a five year high, according to new figures released to the Free Press.

‘Hate crimes’, which are those directed at victims because simply because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or sexual orientation, have spiked in Rossendale from 22 in 2012 to 39 in 2013.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, come seven years on from the brutal murder of Sophie Lancaster who was killed in Stubbylee Park in Bacup because of the way she dressed.

Another angle on pothole payouts < getbucks

New figures obtained by the Bucks Advertiser reveal only a small fraction of personal injury and damaged vehicle claims caused by potholes on Bucks County Council (BCC) roads have been awarded in the last five years.

Out of the 241 claims the council has received since 2009 from people tripping over potholes and sustaining injuries, just five have been successful, costing the council £117,000.

Out of 5,709 vehicle damage claims over the same period, 110 have been paid out, costing £27,950.

The data, obtained using a Freedom of Information Act request, shows the council does not pay out on the majority of cases involving potholes.

£2,500 for one shift in hospital < Westmorland Gazette

THE Morecambe Bay hospital trust paid almost £2,500 for an agency doctor to cover a bank holiday shift, it has been revealed.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT), which last year admitted it needed to save £30m or face going bust, spent £2,493.60 on a single 24-hour cover on May 5, according to Freedom of Information figures.



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