The Top 5 stories brought to you by The Star using the Freedom of Information Act

The Star's Rat Hotspot story was front page news
The Star's Rat Hotspot story was front page news
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This week more than 140 media bodies, campaign groups and others have written to the Prime Minister expressing ‘serious concern’ at the government’s approach to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

They are worried a new commission might turn back the clock on the public’s right to know how government operates and how public money is spent.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (and a Scottish Act from 2002) gave the public and journalists the right to ask questions about local authorities, the NHS, government departments, the police and many others – and they have to answer.

RELATED ARTICLE: Journalists and campaigners hit back at plan for Freedom of Information commission

Since then The Star has used FOI on scores of occasions to bring you public interest news and information which may have otherwise have remained hidden from public view.

In the last year alone we have used FOI (as part of our 'Your Right to Know' campaign) to reveal a number of shocking and exclusive stories relating to all manner of public bodies, including South Yorkshire police and Sheffield Council.

Some of these stories have been front page news and have had thousands upon thousands of hits online.

Here are The Star's Top 5 FOI stories from the last 12 months...

Sheffield’s most rat-infested roads revealed - has your street made the top 10?
In May we revealed Sheffield's most rat-infested areas - based on figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

To read the full story click this link

EXCLUSIVE: South Yorkshire Police given list of key Sheffield and Rotherham abuse suspects in 2003
Also in May, we again used FOI to bring you one of a serious of exclusive revelations that shed further light on the Rotherham Sex Abuse Scandal.

To read the full story click this link

Child rape, theft and assault among allegations at South Yorkshire schools
In August we used FOI to lift the lid on the full scale and range of crimes being reported at local schools.

To read the full story click this link

One in five schoolchildren in Sheffield do not speak English as their first language - figures show
Another education related Freedom of Information request resulted in the The Star revealing in May that English wasn't the first language of one in five young people in our local schools.

To read the full story click this link

Exclusive: Top South Yorkshire cops got £120,000 in bonuses while abuse scandal was unfolding
Last month as part of our 'Your Right to Know' campaign we revealed that top South Yorkshire cops raked in£120,000 in bonuses while the Rotherham Abuse Scandal was unfolding.

To read the full story click this link