FOI under resourced but Cayman battles on

| 29/04/2013

dilbert.JPG(CNS): The Cayman Islands information commissioner is not alone in her battle to deal with a mounting workload in the face of declining resources. Jennifer Dilbert and her team joined 33 other offices around the world in a survey recently undertaken by the Centre for Freedom of Information based in the UK. The research found that many commissioners believe they are under resourced. According to the results, 58% said their financial and staff resources were insufficient,while another 19%, including Cayman, reported that its resources were ‘not at all sufficient’. Nevertheless, Dilbert said Cayman had made great strides despite the resistance to the law.

“When looking at the overall results of the survey, it is evident that the Cayman Islands legislation and enforcement holds up well with respect to time taken to deal with appeals, the completion of appeals within statutory timeframes and the powers of the Commissioner,” Dilbert said. “Unfortunately, in terms of capacity to deal with current and projected workloads, Cayman falls into the 19% of commissioners who believe that their financial and staff resources, are not at all sufficient.”

Dilbert added that the survey demonstrated that Cayman should be recognized for the strides it has made over the past four years in the area of access to information. She said she was proud to report that, despite the challenges she faces with respect to resources and resistance to freedom of information, Cayman continues to be an example both regionally and internationally of a small island state where access legislation is making a difference in the lives of many people.

The Centre for Freedom of Information is a joint venture between the School of Law, University of Dundee and the Scottish Information Commissioner and focuses on the implementation, interpretation and enforcement of laws which provide rights to information globally.

The main results of the survey found that 76% of commissioners expect the number of appeals which they will receive this year (2013) to ‘increase substantially and none expected the number to decline. 77% of said their resources are insufficient.

The reported time taken to deal with appeals varies significantly from country to country. The shortest reported average time taken to dispose of cases is 3 days and the longest time is 380 days.

See full survey below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: FOI

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Outraged says:

    I applaud the efforts of the ICO.  Hopefully a pattern will develop of the failures of adherence by the Information Managers to release information under the law and allow for greater transparency of the Ministry activities.  Eventually everyone will have a greater understanding of the FOI law and stop with the tactics that are creating such an overwhelming workload for the ICO.  Keep up the great work ICO, and keep up the pressure on those resisting your efforts.  Remember, your true character is your actions when you think nobody is looking.  We all need extra eyes on the Cayman government.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Then why is the ICO throwing a large amount of public money at a judicial review, which has more to do with local politics than FOI?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow!

    The FOI Office will soon needs Lots more resources, as even routine quesitons to govt depts now seem to require FOIs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pure empire building. If you ask for – and get – more resources, then you can ask for more salary since your responsibilities have increased. It's an old trick which used to be much used in the civil service before the financial crisis hit. Mrs Dilbert and Mr Liebeers are doing just fine with the resources they have. They don't need any more. The Complaints Commissioner is another one always going on about "lack of resources". Better use of existing time and resources is what is needed, not more money flung at them.