ICO report reveals continuing problems

| 15/01/2013

(C9233867-3d-illustration-of-a-white-and-black-keep-out-sign-protruding-out-of-an-open-drawer-of-a-gray-file-c (267x300).jpgNS): A shortage of resources, a failure of legislators to update the law, authorities taking too long to answer requests and direct contraventions of the law are some of the issues plaguing the country’s Freedom of Information (FOI) regime. Despite the best efforts by the Information Commissioner (IC), her very small staff and the public’s growing use of the freedom of information law, many public authorities are still struggling to meet the law’s requirements. In her latest quarterly report Jennifer Dilbert reveals that between 1 July and 30 September last year there was an 18% increase in requests made to public authorities.

Despite the need for the legislation to be amended in order to make improvements to accommodate the growing usage of the FOI Law, Dilbert reveals that no movement has been made to this end.

“No further progress has been reported on the statutory review of the FOI Law, which was commenced by the Legislative Assembly in 2010,” she said. However as a result of the further experience her office now has more than two years later, Dilbert said she is reviewing the recommendations she submitted in September of 2010 in order to assess their continued value and any  for further changes.

Among the problems relating to the time it takes for authorities to release information, the commissioner also noted in this latest report that on at least two occasions during the quarter in question that it appears as if a public authority may have failed to identify and provide records in response to requests. Reminding public authorities of the law, she warned that her office would not hesitate to enforce the law against civil servants who commit an offence.

Although the report indicates that there were no judicial reviews of the IC's decisions, since its publication the governor's office has filed for a judicial review regarding a decision by Dilbert instructing his office to release documents relating to the controversial Operation Tempura investigation. This will be Dilbert's first courtroom battle after some 29 hearings.

See full report below.

Category: FOI

Comments (2)

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  1. J Salasi I. -111? says:

    I and I nasure that the info Commissionerreally understand that a man have privilege in his house where him a de master and thereby dat Ina hi household as th Head of de house. One could say in a similar way certain hinges na good fe eat no good fe talk depending on circumstances.now wena wam to be prejudice, but when ita declared that revelation of info may compromise a fe we relations with de muder country den me a take humbrage, fe even though dem seem to spend. Money Ed we dem figures na ite chording to d press,nd perhaps a judicial review of where d money went dat de man say wa spent on s but in reality there is a serious discrepancy. Sem like pot cussing kettle again. Me thought hat only in Cay,an we claim not to have accountability, well me HIV proven wrong.to those of ya who like to blog as the Dr man say ona just loggers who Donna believe and ai and I. Beat down Babylon me say.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fact of life!

    If the legislators do their deals in secret, they are not likely to improve a law that gives access to the sparse records they keep for their dirty deals! Nor are they likely to improve their record in complying with this staple part of democracy, they would need to have a much improved moral compass, and that wasnt going to happen with the last Dictator, and will only happen with the current non entity if she is forced to do it!