You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 26/4/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 26/4/2024 – #FOIFriday

Getting answers to your FOI request can be a challenge.

The latest statistics for requests to central Government show that your chances of getting all the information you ask for is falling.

On a smaller scale, this investigation by Cherwell shows similar problems with the hit and miss responses from Oxford colleges.

However, some people have had more luck with getting a response this week…

Your submitted information will be used to send you emails. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Cost of care

Buckinghamshire Council spent £1.8 million a year on one child’s care in an unregistered home, it can be revealed.

The unitary authority shelled out more than £1 million for the care of a single child on four occasions over the last 12 months.

The money was spent on the rental accommodation of children in ‘unregistered placements’, according to figures for the 10 most expensive children’s care cases in 2023-2024 disclosed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service under the Freedom of Information Act.


An interesting use of FOI, where the lack of information is the story. There’s data available on crimes and outcomes but the issue is when crimes are reported as one thing but end up being charged as something else.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, through freedom of information (FOI) requests, has established ‘systemic issues’ across agencies when dealing with stalking cases, including ‘vast’ gaps in national data about victim’s journeys through the justice system.

Only 11 of the 43 forces who received an FOI were able to show how many stalking cases ended up being charged as different crimes, for example malicious communications or when no further action was taken on a case.

The trust also said there was a complete lack of evidence obtained from the FOI’s regarding how many Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) were not authorised by the police and for what reason, or how many SPOs are refused at court.

Smart motorways

The technology behind England’s smart motorway network stops working on a regular basis, the BBC has discovered. Where the hard shoulder has been removed, radar and cameras are supposed to spot broken-down vehicles, and warning signs are then supposed to close affected lanes.

Figures released following Freedom of Information requests by Panorama show that between June 2022 and February 2024 there were 392 incidents when motorway technology lost power, making it difficult to detect when a vehicle has broken down. These outages sometimes lasted days.

Company cars

Academies and academy trusts are subject to the FOI Act.

A 16-school academy trust has defended the decision to provide six of its central team staff with £40,000 Tesla company cars.

A freedom of information request showed Aspirations, which runs schools across the south of England, spent £87,000 on company cars between 2021 and 2023.

Last year, the trust used a total of 12 vehicles. But six of them – four Teslas and two Volkswagen Golfs – appear to have been replaced by Tesla Model 3 saloons, with 2022 registrations. New prices for the car range between £39,990 and £49,990.

Vaping hospital admissions

NHS England said doctors have seen a 276 per cent surge in patients of all ages being admitted for vaping-related disorders since 2020.

But rates among those who are teens or younger have increased more than twice as fast over the same period, by 733 per cent.

Youngsters accounted for just 6 in every 100 vaping-related admissions in 2020, rising to 14 in every 100 last year, according data released under Freedom of Information laws.

Getting the best deals

Labour have described the varying cost of vital police equipment in neighbouring areas as “extraordinary”, as the party revealed plans for extra funding.

A freedom of information request submitted by Labour found that it costs £100 more to buy a police baton in one area, compared to the price in nearby parts of the country. Meanwhile, some forces are paying up to £630 for a single motorcycle helmet.

Airport crime

Heathrow saw the highest total number of crimes committed of any UK airport last year. Analysis conducted by security firm Get Licensed found that a total of 2,494 crimes were committed at Heathrow in 2022.

However, when adjusting for the number of passengers, Humberside Airport had the highest crime rate, with a total of 9.7 crimes per 100,000 passengers. The data was obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to police forces across the country.

Leeds Bradford Airport was found to have the lowest crime rate overall, with 0.2 crimes per 100,000 passengers.

Fenced in

A good example of a how much did that cost FOI question.

More than £100,000 has been spent on plans to erect fencing on Werrington Fields by the council over the last five years.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that Peterborough City Council (PCC) has spent £106,398.55 between the 2019/20 financial year and the present day on fencing, surveys, legal advice, planning applications and its unsuccessful bid to the government to change the use of part of the fields to public land.

Terrible food hygiene

You can look up the food hygiene ratings for local businesses online, but you’ll probably need FOI to find why they scored so badly.

Kebab shop Adnans in Sheffield attracted criticism for a lack of handwashing, raw chicken in the sink, and dirt, grease and food debris on walls and surfaces. Pizza Roma in Oxford also had a risk of cross-contamination, dirt and cobwebs.

Image by Kendall Hoopes on Pexels

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.