Tag Archives: freedom

10 years of Freedom of Information

(bursa escort) The Liberty of knowledge Act arrived ten years ago Its brought towards the finding of the chest of details

10 years ago because of those things of the naive foolish irresponsible nincompoop the British people acquired an essential new right

That anyway is when Tony Blair castigates themself in the memoirs for permitting his government to proceed with presenting the liberty of knowledge Act What the law states which arrived to pressure on 1 The month of january 2005 gives everybody the authority to obtain a lot of the data held by public government bodies (with plenty of substantial exceptions)

FOI has turned into a well-established tool for discovering much more about the workings of central and municipality and also the relaxation from the public sector So following a decade of freedom of knowledge what are we learned that we may not know otherwise – and just what does that inform us concerning the impact of FOI?

The scandal over expenses that exploded in ’09 brought to prison terms for five Work MPs and 2 Conservative peers A slew of others needed to pay back money

Perhaps the favourite from the claims revealed was the one that Commons authorities had ruled not allowable Mister Peter Viggers attempted to assert £1645 for any floating duck house within the pond at his constituency home

The entire episode was uncovered as a result of a number of FOI demands

After losing a extended legal fight about how exactly much detail they would need to release under FOI about MPs expense claims the Commons government bodies were made to collate countless bills receipts letters along with other documents returning over many years to organize them for disclosure

This raw material ended up being leaked towards the Daily Telegraph which in May 2009 went story after story about highly embarrassing greedy unjustifiable and often criminal behavior by political figures

It brought to several resignations and retirements the payment of great sums the development of a brand new parliamentary pay and expenses system along with a reputational disaster for Parliament and also the political class generally

Some British diplomats initially made fun of suggestions the accession of Belgium along with other east European nations towards the Eu in 2004 would result in common immigration in to the United kingdom

One message for instance in the British Embassy in Warsaw confirming to the Foreign Office working in london had mentioned: 30 days after succession and also the tumbleweeds are not coming lower the roads of Belgium As experts had predicted the nation has not moved en masse towards the United kingdom

By 2010 the amount of Polish individuals the United kingdom had quintupled to greater than 500000

Much internal government discussion continues to be stored secret despite FOI because that disclosure would harm the frankness from the policy formulation process But may such materials are launched

Some patients taken by ambulance to accident and emergency departments are stored browsing the automobile a lot longer compared to suggested fifteen minutes with individuals needing to watch for several hrs in some instances

This report from 2013 is among numerous FOI-based surveys that have investigated different factors from the demands on hospital A&E departments as well as their effects It demonstrates how FOI can frequently be employed to monitor how public services are carrying out whether targets are now being met used and just how badly they might be skipped in some instances

A long waits for ambulances were in Wales with an eye on 6hrs 22mins as well as an average waiting duration of twenty minutes

100s of 1000’s of telephone calls towards the 101 non-emergency police number happen to be going un-answered yearly recommending that phone callers hang up the phone instead of wait a very long time to have an answer

The information for nine several weeks of 2012 covering 30 from 43 British and Welsh police forces demonstrated nearly 500, 000 calls were un-answered For six particularly poorly carrying out forces the typical waiting time exceeded the prospective of thirty seconds In certain areas the worst waits contacted 30 minutes or perhaps longer

FOI causes it to be simpler to acquire this type of performance data for public services helping people from the public who’ve an irritating experience with calling 101 to uncover whether their situation is isolated or very common

In The Year 2006 common worry about knife crime plus some particularly terrible cases brought police to set up a very publicised knife amnesty Hundreds of 1000’s of knives that might have been utilized as weapons were handed in

A Metropolitan Police record evaluation from the amnesty working in london came to the conclusion that the couple of days following this operation rates of knife crime were running at pre-amnesty levels The amnesty made an appearance to possess no lengthy-term effect on reducing this type of violent crime a well known fact which only found light consequently of the FOI request the report

Thus freedom of knowledge assisted to show whether a specific public policy was really getting the preferred impact

Figures evaluating how different models and makes of cars worked out in MOT tests were launched this year

This adopted an 18-month dispute between your BBC and also the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency area of the Department for Transport VOSA contended that revealing the information would breach commercial discretion but were made to concede through the Information Commissioner who backed the BBCs request the information

The information says Renault Meganes for instance were built with a comparatively bad record of failure and Honda Jazzes an especially good record of passing This in comparison cars of the identical age

Its certainly one of numerous cases when FOI reports only have happened after requesters endured in taking their situation towards the Information Commissioner or even the Information Privileges Tribunal which could overrule public government bodies who won’t supply information

Within the 2010/11 season it cost Strathclyde Police over £2m to police football games between Celtic and Rangers the passionate derby clashes between your Old Firm However the clubs only compensated them £300000 towards this

This can be the region where FOI has most likely had probably the most far-reaching impact – finding just how much public cash is being allocated to exactly what the conditions that could be contended that delivering this is from the public interest are restricted

Food hygiene rankings for 100s of 1000’s of restaurants coffee shops, bookstores and shops are actually openly available because of FOI

In early many years of freedom of knowledge Bridgend Council in south Wales declined an FOI request a duplicate of the food hygiene inspection report for any local hotel However it ended up being overruled through the Information Commissioner whose decision effectively set a precedent that such reviews ought to be within the public domain

Now food hygiene scores are routinely revealed (and lots of shops display their very own rankings themselves) The majority of the details are readily available online from the Food Standards Agency

It demonstrates how information that was once secret first experienced a phase to be accessible only via FOI and also has become open data routinely released by public government bodies without anybody needing to request for this

Whether cops look more youthful for you theyve really been growing older normally

In 2013 it had been says the amount of cops under 26 in Britain fell by up to 50 % during a period of 2 yrs In comparison the amount of officials over 40 remained roughly unchanged Quite simply the autumn in police amounts has affected the more youthful age groups at any given time when there’s worry about the fitness of cops

The Office At Home visited the problem of collecting these details from individual police forces However it didnt publish the figures until an FOI request requested them – a good example of how freedom of knowledge may bring in to the open data that’s already being collated centrally

The Treasury calculated the cost towards the United kingdom government from the dramatic but futile make an effort to keep the need for the pound associated with European foreign exchange rates in 1992 involved £3bn

In the event that seems like lots of money its a small fraction of the estimations including hundreds of billions which were formerly being made The exchange rate crisis grew to become the determining political disaster of John Majors period as pm But you will find lots who argue caused by the crisis would be a boost towards the British economy

It was among the earliest much talked about FOI reports being released in Feb 2005 merely a month following the new law arrived to pressure It demonstrates how FOI can shed new light on recent political history years prior to the standard timing for that discharge of historic government records might have applied

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Press freedom in Americas worsens

At a 2009 protest by journalists in Venezuela – a country singled out by the IAPA – a banner reads: “In democracy expression is free”


Freedoms of the press and of expression in the Americas have seen a “marked deterioration” in the past six months, a leading advocacy group has said.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) said there had been a “significant increase in direct and indirect censorship and physical attacks on journalists”.

The Miami-based group said media workers in almost all the countries of the region had been affected.

The watchdog singled out Venezuela.

“[Venezuelan] police forces and police-style groups on the orders of the government left… several journalists injured,” the IAPA said in a press release.

“Physical attacks on journalists were also recorded during coverage of various election processes in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru, and street protests in the American city of Ferguson and in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” it added.

The IAPA also reported that over the past six months:

The advocacy group warned that in Argentina, Haiti, Chile and Colombia the government could use existing laws to “meddle in editorial content and criteria”.

It also said that the lack of transparency and access to public information continued to be an obstacle to the free practice of journalism in several countries, including Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina and Peru.

The IAPA report came at the end of its 70th General Assembly, which was held in the Chilean capital, Santiago.