Publish full MPs’ expenses receipts, Ipsa ordered
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which oversees expenses payments, has been told it must disclose the receipts handed in by MPs to back up their claims. The ruling by the Information Commissioner is a victory for The Sunday Telegraph, after Ipsa refused to release three receipts we had asked to see.
Graham Smith investigated its refusal and found that the authority had breached the Freedom of Information Act. He gave officials five weeks to hand over the documents or face prosecution for contempt of court. Read more.
Ben Leapman | The Telegraph | 27th October 2012
Scotland LibDems vote to push SNP further on FOIA
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has praised her party’s strong record of action in improving civil liberties and delivering freedom of information legislation in Scotland. Mrs McInnes told Conference delegates that under the SNP government, citizens are seeing their right of access to public information eroded.
In a motion approved by Conference Mrs McInnes raised concern about the SNP Government’s unwillingness to expand freedom of information laws to cover arms length public bodies such as housing associations.
Commenting after the motion was approved, Mrs McInnes MSP said:
“Access to information is important in a free and liberal Scotland to challenge those who wield power. I’m hugely proud of my party for introducing the Freedom of Information Act in 2002, which is now a cornerstone of our modern liberal Scotland. Read more.
ScotLibDems | 27th October 2012
Lords and Ladies want Apple iPads
Shameless peers are demanding taxpayers buy them swanky iPads — which could cost up to £380,000.
Lords and ladies — who are often spotted snoozing on the benches — want to follow in the footsteps of MPs who now get the Apple gadgets for free.
Freedom of Information requests revealed the issue was repeatedly raised in responses to a recent House of Lords survey. One peer complained his taxpayer-funded BlackBerry was “awkward”, adding: “Time to go iPad? Read more.
Emily Ashton | The Sun | 27th October 2012
Hundreds of crimes recorded at the University of Hertfordshire shock figures reveal
Rape, robbery and racially aggravated assault are not traditionally part of the three R’s – but all have been reported at The University of Hertfordshire in the past 12 months.
Details of crimes alleged to have been committed at the Hatfield campuses have been released by police – with a hoax bomb threat and drug dealing claims also investigated in the past year.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times obtained details of the offences under the Freedom of Information Act, with 219 crimes probed over the past year, including four sexual offences. Read more.
Ewan Foskett | Welwyn Hatfield Times | 27th October 2012
US: Court Orders FBI to Release Withheld Information
As often happens, the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked national security a few years ago to justify withholding certain information from a Freedom of Information Act requester named Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler.
But as rarely happens, a court last month critically assessed the FBI national security claim and ordered the Bureau to release some of the withheld information.
Ms. Hetzler, acting pro se (i.e. without an attorney), had requested records concerning her deceased father, who had once been the subject of an FBI investigation. The FBI provided her with some records but withheld others, stating that they remained classified in order to protect an intelligence activity.
Steven Aftergood | Fas Project on Government Secrecy | 26th October 2012