Criminals applying to be taxi drivers < ChroniceLive
Killers, rapists and potential terrorists are among those who have applied to be taxi drivers in the North East.
An investigation by ChronicleLive shows the amount of dangerous criminals trying to become cabbies – with arsonists and violent yobs just some being given licences.
Separate figures revealed through a Freedom of Information request show eight drivers in South Tyneside and six in Gateshead were issued a taxi licence despite criminal convictions between November 2014 and October 2015.
Pauper funerals rising < Sheffield Star
The number of ‘paupers’ funerals’ in Sheffield, for people who died alone or whose family were too poor to pay, is growing.
Sheffield Council paid for 67 such services over the last two years – more than double the 33 it organised across 2012 and 2013 – figures obtained by The Star using the Freedom of Information Act show.
An increasingly infrequent look at stories being made possible thanks to FOI
£120,000 of fines for parking in disabled bays < Shropshire Star
Drivers have been fined more than £120,000 by Shropshire Council in the last three years for parking in disabled spaces without a blue badge.
Falling numbers of retained firefighters < BBC
The number of retained firefighters across Wales has hit a nine-year low, figures have shown.
The costs for staff of parking at hospitals < Coventry Telegraph
Staff at University Hospital are are having to pay almost £500 a year just to park at work, new figures have revealed.
The Manchester Evening New broke a story on Wednesday night which was result of months of hard work. It was a story which should chill the bones of any parent living in North Manchester, or any journalist who believes that those running hospitals should do so in an open and transparent way.
I’m not alone in falling into both categories on this one. It’s a story which shames the NHS, and shames the people who tried to keep a lid on it – the very people who were sent into a hospital because it was deemed to be failing. The fact they tried to keep the scale of those failings out of the public domain should shock us all.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the story. Social Affairs Editor Jennifer Williams got hold of a review into maternity services at hospitals run by the Pennine Hospitals Trust. It was a report which contained findings including:
A look at some of the stories made possible thanks to FOI laws in the UK – most of which can easily be replicated elsewhere…
The astonishing figure came to light following a freedom of information request by the KM Group that exposed the full extent of the volumes of 999 calls from a handful of properties across the county.
Another address in Tonbridge was responsible for 467 calls while another in Swanscombe generated 446.
Fears have been raised over the sustainability of rural communities as it emerges nearly 40 per cent of all Post Offices in Yorkshire have been shut down since the year 2000.
The Post investigation, based on Freedom of Information requests to the Post Office, found that 614 branches – 39 per cent – have been closed in Yorkshire.
Cyber criminals have made “multiple” attacks on Cornwall’s main hospital in the past year with repeated attempts to hold health bosses to ransom by stealing sensitive information.
According to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the IT system of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) was once infected ransom-ware, a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
According to the FoI, the RCHT has experienced “multiple attacks” through cyberspace in the past 12 months.
A fascinating article appeared in the Cambridge News, with a prominent credit to the man behind the FOI, local campaigner Richard Taylor. He sought to find out the background to dispersal order powers police had sought ahead of a game between Cambridge United and Luton.
Ever sent an email then realised you’ve probably said too much?
I think we all have.
Ever sent an email then realised you’ve probably said too much, then realised your email will auto-publish on a website which helps people submit Freedom of Information requests?
That’ll just be Natalie Hatswell of Devon and Cornwall Police then.
Asbesto in publicly-owned homes <Beyond the Pillars
Blog Beyond the Pillars, which covers issues involving the North Ireland government, used FOI recently to find out how many homes owned by the NI Housing Executive – in other words, council homes – had asbestos in them. The answer: 70,000. 70,000! Three-fifths of publicly-owned homes, in other words.
Trying to get this information in England, for example, would be much harder, because Housing Associations remain outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, despite the fact that most of them were created out of old housing departments within councils.
There has been talk of including Housing Associations under the scope of FOI – but little action.
However, according to the Whatdotheyknow website:
Also the Information Commissioner has ruled that Housing Associations are subject to the Environmental Information Regulations.
Based on the above, then surely the BTP FOI request is one worth trying with Housing Associations across the rest of the UK?
Back again, a little later than planned, the latest look at how FOI is being used by the regional press to hold the great and sometimes good to account…