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A day in FoIA: Climate change minister faces questions over advisor who lobbies for green energy firm, CCTV cameras in school changing rooms, Officials claim information is costing £38k, Executives’ private health deals at colleges criticised,

Climate change minister faces questions over advisor who lobbies for green energy firm

The climate change minister faced questions last night over his relationship with an advisor after it emerged that he had met corporate clients of her private company.

Greg Barker worked with Miriam Maes, who runs the consultancy firm Foresee, while the Conservatives were in opposition. She was taken on at his department after the Coalition took office.

Documents released under Freedom of Information legislation show that she made repeated efforts to encourage Mr Barker to meet businessmen from one of her clients, Air Products – a multinational green energy company.

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Daniel Martin | The Daily Mail | September 12th 2012

CCTV cameras being used in school changing rooms 

More than 200 schools across Britain are using CCTV cameras in pupils’ toilets or changing rooms, according to figures obtained by anti-surveillance campaigners, who warned that the research raised serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren.

A total of 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales, according to data provided by more than 2,000 schools.

The figures are based on freedom of information requests lodged by the campaign group Big Brother Watch. Its director, Nick Pickles, said the full extent of school surveillance was far higher than the group had expected, adding: “Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage.

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Ben Quinn | The Guardian | September 11th 2012

Officials claim information is costing £38k

A COUNCIL has aimed a swipe at research groups and the press for ‘wrongful’ use of laws which compel it to disclose how taxpayers’ money is being spent.

Staffordshire County Council has published a round-up of the costs of answering questions under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act since January.

It claims to have spent £38,000 fulfilling its obligations under the transparency law, including £300 on answering questions from The Sentinel.

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This is Staffordshire | September 10th 2012

Executives’ private health deals at colleges criticised 

Some colleges in Wales have been criticised for providing private medical insurance for executives at the taxpayers’ expense.

Three out of 18 colleges told BBC Wales after a Freedom of Information request that they pay insurance cover.

Guto Bebb MP called it a “slap in the face” for the public and unions have questioned whether it is a good use of public money.

Read more.

BBC | September 11th 2012


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