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Pay freezes and cuts for CIOs at Whitehall’s biggest departments

A number of major Whitehall departments have slashed their Chief Information Officer salaries since 2008, according to central government figures.

The salary of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) CIO, a job previously held by Joe Harley before his retirement at the end of March, was £265,000-£270,000 in 2008-09. By 2011, that figure had dropped to £225,000-£229,999.

Other falls in CIO pay since 2008 were seen at the Department for International Development, where the salary band decreased from £80,000-£84,000 in 2008-09 to £75,000-£79,999 from November 2011, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where CIO pay was £135,000-£140,000 in 2009-10, dropping to £120,000-£124,999 in November 2011.

The figures were published in response to freedom of information requests by Guardian Government Computing. Of the 16 departments questioned, eight reported CIO salaries either falling or remaining static in recent years.

Read more here.

The Guardian | 20th April 2012

Contracts of private firms working in public sector should be re-examined.

THE terrible set of circumstances that took place at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is a stark reminder of the potential risks when private companies are involved in delivering public services (“NHS board to sue after blunder”, The Herald, April 20). We should be extremely thankful that the surgeons and medical staff on duty at this time have the skills and knowledge to carry on operating when power was failing around them.

Very rarely does a public body criticise a private company working in its remit, so when NHS Lothian states it “could no longer tolerate the repeated and potentially life-threatening nature of such incidents”, everyone has to start to realise what is happening within the NHS and local authorities when work is carried out by private companies whose main interest is increasing their profit margin and share price.

In South Ayrshire the total projected cost to the council for five schools is £367.97m (assuming inflation is 2.5% from February 2012 onwards). This covers the 30 years of the contract. The reality is that this council is having to pay £9.148m (excluding VAT) every month (figures were sourced through Freedom of Information requests in 2011).

Read more here.

Herald Scotland | 23rd April 2012

Salmon farms ‘polluting’ lochs in Scotland      

Scottish sea lochs are being polluted by salmon farms, according to a report published by the Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA).

The report analysed the levels of sea lice treatment chemical residues – which are used by salmon farmers – in the sea-beds of lochs across Scotland.

Information was obtained under Freedom of Information from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Read more here.

BBC | 20th April 2012

Police have thousand of pounds worth of gear stolen from them

SCOTS POLICE have had thousands of pounds worth of gear stolen from them in the last five years.

Items such ID badges, shot-gun certificates, welcome mats and even vehicles have been taken from the country’s constabularies since 2007, new figures have revealed.

More than 400 police possessions were reported as stolen including hats, jackets, fleeces, stab-proof vests, batons and handcuffs.

Thieves even managed to nick police mountain bikes, and patrol cars full of important documentation.

Information obtained from a Freedom of Information request revealed that Strathclyde police had more than 240 possessions go missing from their constabulary during the five-year period ranging from handcuffs to satellite navigation devices.

Read more here.

Deadline News | 22nd April 2012

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