You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 10/5/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 10/5/2024 – #FOIFriday

A somewhat quiet week FOI-wise (that or Google search is hopeless and I can’t find examples).

But in a quiet FOI week, there’s still time for potholes, compensation claims, and following up previous stories…

Pay-outs to teachers

A member of staff has been awarded £8,000 in damages after being injured in an attack and while restraining a pupil at a school in Wales. Cardiff Council paid a further £19,500 on solicitors’ fees related to the case with a bill totalling £27,583.

The payment, which was made in the 2023-24 financial year, comes as teachers and teaching unions issue repeated warnings about worsening levels of behaviour and violence in schools. The £8,000 payout to a member of staff was confirmed in a Freedom of Information request to Cardiff Council.

Police accused of abuse

It’s often worth following up FOI requests that have been made before to get updated figures.

The number of Met Police officers arrested for domestic abuse rose to a record high in 2023, new data reveals. There has been a five-fold increase in the number of Met Police officers arrested for domestic abuse over the past five years, rising from 32 in 2019 to 160 in 2023, the highest since records began in 2010.

A total of 129 officers were suspended or placed on restricted duty following allegations against them last year.

A total of 74 officers were charged with domestic abuse last year, although the allegations may have pre-dated 2023. Four appeared in court and two were convicted, however, figures released under Freedom of Information laws do not reveal how many are awaiting court hearings.

Policing a royal visit

Policing for a royal visit last month cost Durham Police more than £7,000, data released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has revealed.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, was in the region to visit two local companies, Power Roll in Seaham and Pragmatic in Durham in late March 2024.

But an FOI by activist group Republic UK revealed that the visit cost police in the region £7,031.91, with six officers engaged in police preparation, and 15 involved on the day.

Council houses

More than four in 10 council homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme are now owned by private landlords.

Research by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) found around 109,000 former council homes have started being let privately in the last ten years.

NEF, which sent freedom of information requests to local authorities, found 86% of homes sold under the scheme in Brighton are now being privately rented. Milton Keynes also had a high proportion being privately let at 73%, while Dover is at 59%.

Sea defences

Five holiday home owners have been issued with warnings or “official advice” for digging into sea defences protecting thousands of properties.

The future of the shingle bank between Hunstanton and Wolferton is under review, after tests showed it was moving inland. In February, property owners were warned by the EA not to dig into the bank or place steps or decking on it, because of fears this would weaken the defences.

Now the EA has confirmed that a number warnings have been issued. In response to a request under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, it said: “Two people have received official warnings and three people have received official advice and guidance for breaches of legislation relating to the shingle ridge.

Unfixed potholes

A pothole reported to a council more than 10 years ago has still not been repaired, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

The 11-year-old road defect is in Hockley, which – according to new data – has five of the 10 oldest potholes reported to Essex County Council.

The FOI, submitted by the BBC, found the oldest reported pothole in Hockley that remains to be fixed was in The Spinneys. It dated back to April 2013.

Five prime ministers have been in power since it was first raised with the county council.

Image by Jess Loiterton on Pexels

Leave a Reply

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