If you're investigating something to do with planning or buildings, there's a very useful Guide to the Planning System at Planning Aid. The organisation provides planning advice to people who cannot afford expensive legal advice, so it's also a useful resource to bookmark if you ever need to ask a quick question about planning procedures.
The Guardian are continuing with the nation-wide enquiries into MP?s elections expenses, this time focusing their efforts locally on Cardiff but mirroring the moves made by Helpmeinvestigate.
The article explains the precise but scarcely known figures behind the expenses claims for the short and long campaign respectively. The run-up to the elections, or the short-campaign, is where spending is at its most frantic and is the key point of interest for journalists.
This seems appropriate for Cardiff, as when the figures came in, successful candidate for Cardiff North Jonathan Evans had spent ?9,968 of his ?10,412 short campaign budget.
Upon having requested all of the receipts from the short campaign, just as Helpmeinvestigate members had done, it was found that there were various receipts missing or unaccounted for and dubious amounts were spent on DIY and a personal website.
The whole of the campaign was conducted and expenditure recorded in accordance with the laws in place, and, as per yet, there are no conclusions being drawn as the expenses are still being looked over by the electoral commission.
It?s good to see them leave the data open to the public and allow for crowd sourced interpretation and investigation, similar to the way in which they handled the new Birmingham council website and it?s questionable costings.
There may be other findings when the electoral commission complete their reviews of MP?s expenses nationwide, and other stories may be unveiled as they near completion.
The investigation into 'Do speed cameras save or cost money?' has been gathering some interesting information in the past few weeks.?A blog post on 'Cycling around Hull' sums up the story so far: based on figures from the safety camera program "From 2000 to 2007 the average revenue [money made] was ?10 million/yr." So why are councils scrapping the schemes? Because it's the Treasury that gets that revenue, not local authorities.? "The safety camera program is funded centrally and receipts are passed back to government. Government has cut central funding by about 1/3 while still taking receipts leaving roughly a ?38 million hole." Meanwhile,? "An interesting figure to note is the cost of personal injuries of prevented accidents, the?The national safety camera programme: four-year evaluation report?estimates this roughly amounts to ?258 million for 2003/4. "To put things in perspective the same report claims total cost of road accidents (including property damage, police and insurance costs) in 2002 was ?17.8bn." The investigation still needs to gather more information. If you want to help – or are just curious – join in at http://helpmeinvestigate.com/investigations/179.