About

Help Me Investigate is a website that helps people and journalists who want to investigate questions in the public interest.

The site was launched in July 2009 with funding from Channel 4′s 4iP fund and Screen West Midlands.

Investigations undertaken by users of the site include the uncovering of a £2.2 million overspend on Birmingham City Council’s websitefalse claims by publishers of a free newspaper; the worst places for parking fines; the real average cost of weddingslegal issues surrounding recording council meetingspolice claims of sabotage against Climate Camp protestershow much higher education costs the taxpayerwho is responsible for an advertising screendoes scrapping speed cameras save money? Varying availability of hormonal contraceptive on the NHS, and the allocation of Olympic torchbearer places.

Stories and information uncovered by the site have been used by news organisations including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Stoke Sentinel, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Bournemouth Echo, Caledonian Mercury, Der Tagesspiegel, the Health Service Journal, BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio 4.

In January 2013 Help Me Investigate worked with the Birmingham Mail to launch the UK’s first regional newspaper datablog: Behind The Numbers.

The site was conceived by Paul Bradshaw, developed with Nick Booth and built by Stef Lewandowski. Journalists involved in the site include Heather BrookeJames Ball and Colin Meek.

In 2010 the site was shortlisted and highly commended for Multimedia Publisher of the Year in the NUJ’s Regional Media Awards, and won ‘Best Investigation’ in the Talk About Local/Guardian Local awards.

In February 2011 the code for the original site was released under an open source licence to allow anyone to install their own crowdsourcing platform.

A second version of HelpMeInvestigate.com now focuses on supporting a network of community editors who focus on specific issues. These currently include:

You can follow us on Twitter @helpmeinvestig8 or specific sites @HMI_health, @HMIwelfare, @HMIeducation and @HMIolympics, as well as our automatic aggregator of investigations around the web @HMInetworks.

If you want to get involved in any of these projects – or start a new one – email paul@helpmeinvestigate.com

If you are conducting research into the site, please check our page on Frequently asked questions and research.

Comments

  • BREAKING NOW!

    What solicitors are describing as the biggest POLICE CORRUPTION SCANDAL to hit Bristish Policing since WW2.

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/the-worst-case-of-corruption-in-the-history-of-the-british-police-force

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/nigel-ward-open-letter-to-nicholas-long-independent-police-complaints-commissioner

    Help PLEASE!

    NigelJune 25, 2012
  • I am looking for a journalist to write up and publish the story of the abuse my elderly mother is suffering at the hands of corrupt police officers and social workers.

    It has been the subject of questions in Parliament and we would now like to get the story in the main stream press.

    For more information, please see:

    http://www.epolitix.com/latestnews/article-detail/newsarticle/proper-delegation-please-not-abdication/

    And google:

    “The Abuse of Grandma B”

    Peter HofschröerJune 25, 2012
  • Dear sirs,
    I also believe that it is a good thing to investigate in the public in a (socalled), democratic society.

    How about raising the stakes and investigate situation like I find myself in. The unlawful deportastion of a British citizen: through unscrupulous means, set out by the UKBA and other agncies in a conspiracy to undermine a ‘ Ruling’, made by lord Justice Hooper, in the “Full Court”, of criminal appeal, on the 04 April, 2006

    Then you could really be recognised for being a real champion of Justice for the people.

    yours fathfully,

    C. A. Cross

    Carl CrossJune 30, 2012
  • Is Yellow Pages directory listing really worth the price anymore? I know the print directory barely gets used…just wondering if the online directory is worth the price tag

    Marcellus CucvasJuly 6, 2012
  • I made a Freedom of Information request to Harrogate Borough Council asking if HBC were republican as a columnist in the Harrogate Advertiser stated that they had notorious republican tendencies. I e-mailed my MP he said he had not seen the comment but he was not a republican. I e-mailed the leader of the council but he has not replied. So where do I get this information from? As it will affect mine and a number of other people in the way that we vote.
    Can you help?

    Anne SmithJuly 6, 2012
  • A Question how did the system work ,which typle of people where nominated to be a olympic torch bearer for you city ?

    Andrew DarnellJuly 26, 2012
    • There were a number of campaigns, but all people were supposed to fit the criteria of youth, personal best and/or contribution to the community. Guidance was given not to select executives.

      Within particular campaigns, more specific criteria applied – e.g. the Get Set Network torchbearers had to be 12 during the relay. Future Flames emphasised particular types of contributions by young people. Samsung and Lloyds TSB talked about community more. Live Positively had an emphasis on health and the environment.

      90% of places were supposed to be available to the public and 50% going to young people aged 12-24. In reality, only 75% were available through public campaigns and the rest were allocated through internal channels. Only 32% are aged under 25.

      paulbradshawJuly 26, 2012
  • I need to investigate how to make a complaint against a headmaster of a school and the governing body of the school.

    Who does a headmaster and governing body of a school answer to if they have made a decision about changing an employee’s contract without notifying or agreeing it with the employee first?

    SuchetAugust 23, 2012
    • This sounds like employment law rather than an issue of line management accountability. Or, put another way, they would be accountable through the law. Other avenues might include a teaching union.

      paulbradshawSeptember 5, 2012
  • Hi
    one member of BT engineers say I have a problem with my phone line another says I don`t
    people have been trying to contact me but without success this has been going on for 5-6 years I can not get any help with this

    kevinSeptember 29, 2012
  • I strongly believe those involved in ‘Information Operations’ in the UK are directing radiation at people. Beacuse it is invisible most of them have no idea there is something suspect. But the money they are spending on such technology runs to tens and tens of millions per annum. It is considered a form of Electronic Warfare.

    I am pursuing this through FOI here:
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/use_of_directed_energy_devices_i#outgoing-228948

    I have a couple other FOIs for info relating to a couple of the relevant companies.

    I could really do with some investigative assistance. I couldn’t overstate the seriousness and scale of this.

    See the above website link and drop me a message through that if your willing to assist or have questions.

    D MackenzieDecember 23, 2012
  • Hello,

    I am writing to ask for your assistance in a matter that was bound by the Official Secrets Act that has been maliciously leaked to my former employer which has led to them terminating my contract of employment with them.

    Between 2007 and 2009 information was wrongfully and maliciously leaked to the catering company that supplies the catering for the British Army at Wellington Barracks in Victoria, and Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, London.

    I asked the Army to kindly investigate this problem in line with their Equality and Diversity rules. The Army investigated it, but, refused to disclose the findings to me. This information was leaked to my last employer, and, a site manager within that employment chose to disclose it to the company’s client; a gigantic engineering firm

    The link to the information I have requested by way of the freedom of information is as follows: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/malicious_abuse_of_authority

    I would be most grateful for your assistance on this matter as I have lost a number of jobs because of it.

    Sincerely,

    Yinka Oyesanya.

    Yinka OyesanyaJanuary 3, 2013
  • Our Freeholder at Trafalgar Court in Mundesley has left the building in ruin since 1999— we now know why because Norfolk Council had, in fact, given London Land Securities 100%(costing around £250,000) council tax exemption on their 24 flats under the name of corporate closure — we have found out that London Land Securities of Tudor Road Hampton have been, in fact, running a Rachman style operation not just at Trafalgar Court but also Radipole Road in Fulham plus Daleham Gardens in Hampstead — can anyone tell me of any more scams with LLS? Youtube video belo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNfUBcQBpZA

    PaulJanuary 28, 2013
    • Thanks – I’ll put the word out to the HMI network although I can’t guarantee anyone will follow this up. If you’re interested in writing a piece about how you found out that information that will help others get involved.

      paulbradshawFebruary 7, 2013
  • I’m not able to communicate well. but I am curious as to why the comments have stopped, is the site inactive now please?

    Graham HApril 19, 2013
  • oops – just noticed – I was reading it the wrong way.

    Graham HApril 19, 2013
  • Is anyone here able to organise an investigation into cowboy dentistry in the East coast of Scotland?

    I’ve worked ‘on the inside’ and have now left the profession as I am simply disgusted by what is going on. A high member of the primary care trust (also a practice owner) seems to condone/encourage the shockingly poor treatments.

    Any ideas?

    Anon AnonApril 23, 2013
    • Thanks – I’ve passed this onto the editor of HMI Health.

      paulbradshawMay 3, 2013
  • Is there a similar organization in the US? Children are being ripped from the arms of responsible parents here as well in huge numbers with massive rights violations.

    J MacIsaacMay 3, 2013
    • There’s Spot.us?

      paulbradshawMay 3, 2013
    • Just to ask ,Has anything come to light due to your enquiry? If possible could you share it with me or let me know where I can go for information please. As I’m wittnessing the same thing myself happening around me to so very deacent people. Where I live it seems councils are using and abusing tha Housing Law Acts, esecially ’96 one in perticular. Many thanx and very good luck to your missiom. Mish.

      mish keaneNovember 15, 2013
  • I am having terrible time with LA and the lies and deceptions. Is there someone who has experience such thing , please email me if they have.

    Shivani AmbaniMay 25, 2013
  • A really interesting interview with the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham on BBC morning news.. He made it clear that public authorities are routinely breaching FOI rules on the presumption of disclosure by wrongfully hiding behind Data Protection personal protection myths. If it wasnt in the public interest, you wouldnt be asking!

    Warren SlaterJune 21, 2013
  • could anybody please tell me weather i could get any info under the freedom of information act 2000,from either the english fa,or norfolk fa.
    as regards to contracts awarded to sportsguard insurance.
    as teams cannot register to play unless this insurance,as a club,and for individuals,is paid.
    claims are very hard to pursue during early events,and when completed are ridiculously treated with a one off offer of take it or leave it.
    these sums more often than not, are small and subject to excess,s,and if were offered outside of the fa would not be taken up.
    thanks

    dec lawlorJune 28, 2013
  • Hi guys,

    I have been questioning the Home Office on What Do they Know since Jan 2013. I have submitted over 50 FOI request, to which they have responded to the last lot as “Vexatious” despite being VERY VALID.

    Their reason being “it relates to my wifes case”…

    The questions began to be refused when I started questioning the legallity of some of their actions, RE: finger printing without issuing the correct documentation first (IS86 / IS81) and a few other things… further more, I questioned the pay rates of Rob Whiteman, Sarah Rapson, and David Wood along with their job specs and previous job specs (all highly influential people) and this also got refused…

    Im wondering if somebody would like to help me here?

    Wayne PearsallJuly 26, 2013
  • Paul – Thanks you and congratulations for establishing this project. The new age of openness ought to be an exiting, revealing era with massive potential to right wrongs and influence institutions for the benefit of all. That promise however has not proved so easy to fulfill because of the many skills needed to obtain, extract, understand and report the wealth of data available. By connecting those with skills in different areas of this process in order to assemble teams proficient at executing the whole, projects such at this might at last lead to a revolution in information dissemination. Keep at it!

    DavePJuly 31, 2013
  • I am a victim of the Staffordshire Pindown child abuse and have been persecuted in the Secret Family Courts for a 7 year period by a group of corrupt lawyers and had a junk science theory called Parental Alienation Syndrome that was invented by a network of American paedophiles used on me. I was terrorised and made ill, and they tried to push me into committing suicide. I would like the Pindown cover up to be exposed by the press. The BBC did a program called Care Home Kid which did not invite the victims to take part, and sought to whitewash the whole sordid scandal. Today a detective from Stafford Police came to my house to get me to sign her notebook to say I wanted the investigation to stop, but I wrote a note asking Stafford Police to carry on investigating Pindown and in particular the role of politicians and the military secret services in covering it up and tormenting the victims.

    Barbara RichardsSeptember 13, 2013
  • I am interested in the abuses of Human Rights and breaches of legislation eg RIPA 2000. perpetrated
    by the DWP across the uk.

    in particular

    Violence
    Intimidation
    Harassment
    Criminal Damage
    Fraud
    Theft
    Child Abuse.
    Breaches of Road a Traffic Acts
    misfeasance in Public Office.
    Police Corruption
    Use of Hundreds of social housing properties as surveillance houses uk wide.

    there are many other illegal practices carried out and I understand that by using similar surveillance equipment to that of the dwp. there is substantial evidence now in safe keeping across the uk sufficent
    for public enquiries and criminal convictions. Naturally the dwp are disquieted by this but sufficent numbers of people now gather such evidence and they are so poorly trained as to be unable to challenge
    it.
    some of their techniques:

    cars with missing wheel trims
    rear brake light or side light out
    one head light out
    Vauxhall insignias, grey, white, black.
    large range of vehicles incl HGV, fake trade vans

    roof bars
    roof boxes
    hi vis jackets or vests
    listening devices in gardens, garage door areas .
    tracking devices magnetically located at rear of vehicles.
    camera cars cameras fitted in grills, head rests and trim.
    white vans, silver mercedes Vito’s black windows.
    the wearing of black clothes, black gloves, umbrellas.
    delivery van and hire vans, Taxis, some driven by dwp worker, other transporting dwp spyies.

    the post manOctober 13, 2013
  • I am wanting some advice on the eviction of the dying in private nursing home, funded by continuing health care, public body. The reason because the family complained, I would like to know how to access information as i have heard their have been other’ notice to quit’ when families have complained. How could I access this under freedom of information please. Also accessing his rights under the mental health capacity act 2010 and Human rights. Any information will be very welcomed!
    Thank you.

    sarah thomasJanuary 25, 2014
  • Hi

    How can I make a family Law case public when it as been found ‘Proven’ by the Judge. Thank you.

    claire brettFebruary 6, 2014
    • I asked Cleland Thom, who knows more about this than I. He says:

      “the media CAN identify children in follow-ups to family proceedings cases

      BUT you cannot name the child/ children in connection with the court proceedings. This means you do the follow-up, but only refer to ‘a court case’ in passing, possibly quote the judge’s comments, but don’t mention anything else about it.

      AND – MOST IMPORTANT: Check if the court has ever passed an injunction on any children involved. If it has, this SUPERCEDES the advice above. So don’t run a follow-up story unless you have checked about injunctions first.

      paulbradshawFebruary 13, 2014

Leave a Reply