Post reviews its FoI blitz

The Lancashire Evening Post has been testing out the Freedom of
Information Act in a week-long series called Top Secret, writes Sarah

When the legislation came into force, assistant editor Mike Hill sent requests for information to 11 public bodies.

Emma Broom followed these up and found that Lancashire Police had cut
the number of traffic police by one-fifth after speed cameras were
introduced, that nearly half a million speeding tickets had been issued
to people caught on camera in the past four years, that only 40 per
cent of those ticketed had paid the fine, and that the renovation of
Chorley town hall had overspent by £1million.

Preston City
Council refused to reveal details of the city centre’s £500million
redevelopment, but Lancashire County Council gave the Post 18 files,
including reports, sketches, memos and emails.

Other requests,
including one to the Home Office about the cost of the disaster in
Morecambe Bay in which a group of Chinese cocklers drowned, were

Hill said the differences between the organisations were
marked. “While it is clear some bent over backwards to help, some were
just looking for ways to avoid responding in an open way.

of information is a crucial new weapon in the armoury and as far as we
are concerned, our Top Secret series marks the start of a lot of tough
questioning in the months and years ahead.”

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