Treasury has the youngest officials

Treasury building

"Work with some of the country's brightest people." That's the slogan enticing job applicants on the recruitment pages of the Treasury's website.

So the clever folk running the nation's finances are clearly not keen on modesty - but are they lacking in maturity?

The Treasury is the government department with the youngest staff on average.

This has been established by a BBC Freedom of Information survey, which discovered that the average age of Treasury officials was just 35.

In contrast, at the other end of the spectrum, the averages for the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Work and Pensions are 47 and 48 respectively.

Read full article Treasury has the youngest officials

Ethnic dimension to Birmingham's vote

Detailed voting data from Birmingham sheds extra light on the EU referendum result. It confirms that Leave support was strongly linked to local populations who were older and had lower educational qualifications, but also shows that the city's ethnic minority areas were more likely to support Remain.

Birmingham council is one of very few authorities that have so far published their referendum voting figures broken down by local wards. The BBC will be trying to obtain this information from as many councils as possible. Data at this level can add more local detail to the national pattern, particularly when comparing it to ward statistics from the 2011 census.

Read full article Ethnic dimension to Birmingham's vote

'Jihadi John' death at centre of dispute

Mohammed Emwazi Image copyright Unknown

Mohammed Emwazi, the British jihadist who featured in beheading videos by so-called Islamic State and became known as "Jihadi John", is dead, according to, amongst others, Barack Obama and IS's own publication.

On the other hand, maybe he isn't dead, according to the University of Westminster in London, where he was a student, and the Information Commissioner's Office.

Read full article 'Jihadi John' death at centre of dispute

Farage should be used 'sparingly' by Leave campaigners

Nigel Farage Image copyright Getty Images

UKIP leader Nigel Farage takes part alongside David Cameron in Tuesday's ITV special debate on the EU, but research from his own supporters questions his helpfulness to their cause.

Mr Farage should only be used "sparingly" when Brexit campaigners target blue-collar workers, because of his potential to alienate voters with "a divisive or reactionary tone on issues like immigration". That's according to a report produced for his own allies.

Read full article Farage should be used 'sparingly' by Leave campaigners

Revealed: The Bush-Major conversations

President George H.W.Bush and John Major in 1991
Image caption The two leaders discussed foreign affairs and their own domestic troubles

Sir John Major and George Bush senior overlapped in power between late 1990 and early 1993, and their close relationship is illustrated by transcripts of conversations obtained by the BBC.

It's tough at the top, whether you're the British prime minister or the US president, and it can be an irritating nuisance having to fight elections to stay there.

Read full article Revealed: The Bush-Major conversations

FOI Commission: Why has it surprised observers?

Cabinet meeting, 2015, with Sir Jeremy Heywood on David Cameron's right Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Jeremy Heywood (on Prime Minister David Cameron's right) has spoken of the "chilling effects" of FOI

Ministers have chosen not to make sweeping changes to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, including ruling out fees for requests for information.

The decision follows publication of a report by an independent commission asked to examine the Act.

Read full article FOI Commission: Why has it surprised observers?

Blair and Clinton: the peace process and fatherhood

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in 1997 Image copyright Getty Images

Records of conversations between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton between 1997 and 2000 - obtained by the BBC - shed new light on their terms in office.

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton told each other that their role was to act like "shrinks" offering therapy to global politicians, as they tried to reconcile various bitter international disputes during their time in office.

Read full article Blair and Clinton: the peace process and fatherhood

Government loses 'pollutant of publicity' FOI case

Chimney spewing out smoke Image copyright Istock

The Cabinet Office has lost a tribunal case where it argued that publicly revealing how often a cabinet committee meets would harm the workings of government by introducing the "pollutant of publicity".

Last week the Information Rights Tribunal rejected the government appeal, in a strongly worded judgment which described the Cabinet Office's approach as "irresponsible", its key witness as "evasive and disingenuous", and her evidence as "of no value whatsoever".

Read full article Government loses 'pollutant of publicity' FOI case

Cabinet Office delays over freedom of information

Cabinet Office sign Image copyright PA

Last month the Cabinet Office took control of government policy on freedom of information, removing it from the Ministry of Justice.

This takes FOI closer to the centre of power within Whitehall and the personal involvement of the prime minister. But how good is the Cabinet Office's own record on handling FOI requests?

Read full article Cabinet Office delays over freedom of information

Charles letters: What ruling means for freedom of information

Prince Charles Image copyright AP

The Supreme Court ruling about Prince Charles's letters to ministers takes freedom of information to the heart of the British state, the most sensitive area of the relationship between the Royal Family and the government.

Or alternatively it's all about a peripheral matter which has little to do with how contemporary political decision-making happens.

Read full article Charles letters: What ruling means for freedom of information