You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 14/6/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 14/6/2024 – #FOIFriday

The Harry Kane Statue is the new Optical Illusion Cycle Path.

Or, in other words, who doesn’t love an FOI follow-up.

Waltham Forest Council spent £7,200 in 2019 and 2020 to have a statue made of Chingford-raised footballer Harry Kane, but are struggling a bit to find somewhere to put it. A previous FOI revealed pictures of the statue, depicting Kane sat on a green bench with a football on his knee.

Another FOI has now revealed Transport for London (TfL) has apparently slapped down plans to put a statue of Harry Kane in Chingford Station because of concerns that it would distract train drivers. There were concerns train drivers could be distracted by people posing for photographs on or next to it, or hanging items such as scarfs on it.

(If you want to catch up on the FOI saga of the optical illusion cycle path, you can do so here)

Football pitches

A timely FOI ahead of Euro 2024, almost 1,000 public football pitches have been lost in the UK since 2010, new research suggests.

A study by the GMB union found there are hundreds of fewer local authority-owned or operated football pitches today than in 2009/10.

The report, published as England and Scotland prepare to kick off their campaigns in the Euros in Germany, showed that the worst hit areas for pitches being lost were Scotland, Northern England and Wales.

The figures come from a Freedom of Information request made by GMB to local authorities in the UK.

Unsolved murders

The number of killings that remain unsolved in Britain every year has more than doubled since 2010, i can reveal.

In the past 14 years, there have been nearly 700 murder cases where a police investigation remains open and no suspect has been charged, according to data obtained via freedom of information requests.

Between 2010 and 2015, the average number of killings going unsolved was around 31 per year, but between 2016 and 2023 it increased to an average of more than 62 cases per year.

Children living in hotels

In London, thousands of asylum-seekers, fleeing war and persecution in other countries, are waiting for decisions on their asylum cases from the Home Office.

BBC London can reveal 3,045 accompanied asylum-seeking children are currently living in hotels in the capital, according to Home Office data revealed in a freedom of information (FOI) request. Of those, 64 have been living in hotels for more two years.

Assaults on NHS staff

NHS Trusts across Lancashire have paid out a combined total more than £600,000 in staff assault claims in the last five years.

An investigation by found that a total of 103 claims and incidents of NHS staff assaults were logged across four trusts in the district with 39 claims being settled with damages since 2019.

Outbreaks in care homes

There have been dozens of cases of a contagious parasite in Bolton’s care homes over the last three years, newly released data shows.

In data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, 11 outbreaks of scabies in Bolton’s care homes have been detected since 2021, causing 55 suspected cases of the disease across nine homes.

A total of 12 cases were detected in three outbreaks in 2021, with 19 detected in 2022 in another three outbreaks. In 2023, four outbreaks of the parasite led to 15 cases, while nine cases were recorded in one home in March of this year.

Police incidents at stations

New figures obtained by the Ipswich Star have revealed a staggering rise in police incidents at one Suffolk train station over the last five years.

It comes after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to British Transport Police revealed that between 2019 and 2023 police were called to railway stations in Suffolk 3,767 times.

Trading physical books for e-books

A freedom of information request by the Journal revealed the numbers of books being borrowed since 2011. Since 2011, physical book loans from Wiltshire Libraries have dropped by more than a million. In 2011, the number of these books loaned totalled at 2,589,982 but in 2023, the number sat at 1,514,665.

In 2020, the number of library eBooks borrowed rose by over 25,000 from 2017. Despite libraries having now reopened, that number remains high at 40,681 in 2023.

Arts funding

The Crown stars Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton are calling for more funding of the arts in the UK after “shocking” levels of neglect were found across the country.

Oscar-winner Colman, 50, was reacting to a report commissioned by performing arts and entertainment union Equity, which said financing of British arts councils fell by 16% in real terms between 2017 and 2022.

The data, which was based on Freedom of Information requests to every arts council in the UK and puts the fall over the five years at £189,981,567, was analysed by research organisation Autonomy Institute.

‘The Trees are Alive’

‘The Trees Are Alive’ consists of 180 wooden shapes fixed to 53 trees across City Square, Albion Place and Queen Square in Leeds.

They have been painted to resemble eyes, mouths and teeth, appearing to give the trees their own facial expressions and personalities.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by the YEP, Leeds City Council shared figures that showed the total cost for the project was £7,450.

Image by Pixabay on Pexels

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