Public authorities make effort to improve website info

| 10/08/2011

(CNS): The information commissioner’s office says that government departments are beginning to take steps to improve their web presence and public access to information. Following the recent publication of the commissioner’s website audit report the office said this week that some public authorities were now trying to improve the way they communicate FOI rights online. Jennifer Dilbert said that the audit has generated a number of enquiries about how departments can improve their online presence and upgrade their rating. In her audit the information boss gave every public authority a grade for their websites and of more than 80 government entities only a handful got a top grade.

Some government departments, including the ministry of finance, don’t even have a website and Dilbert also found that most of the government’s various departments had only the most basic information on their websites and were given failing grades. The investigation found that almost three-quarters of the country’s public authorities did not have a properly updated informative website.

The audit focused on what FOI information the public could find on government websites.  This included areas such as the location of FOI information on the homepage, whether the authority published their most recent publication scheme on their site, and if the process by which a person can make a request was outlined.  Only 8 public authorities fell into the highest grade but Dilbert said that if authorities make changes to their websites they should inform the ICO and their website would be re-graded at the end of the year.

“I am pleased that we have received such a positive response from the public authorities and that they are interested in improving the way they communicate FOI access rights” said Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert, Information Commissioner.  “It is encouraging to know that the report is being reviewed by authorities and that they are genuinely interested in publishing more FOI information online.”

During the audit, the FOI link at the bottom of the Department of Tourism’s homepage was mistakenly overlooked which resulted in them being given a low grade in the report. The ICO has since reviewed their website and re-graded them at a higher level to better reflect the considerable amount of FOI information that they do have publically available.  The ICO’s report has been amended to reflect this change.

A full version of the Own-Initiative Investigation into websites can be accessed online at


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: FOI

About the Author ()

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Funnily enough I'm still waiting for a reply to an e-mail sent to one of the contacts on one department page, one of the few that allows you to do that !

    Simple, one line question. Still waiting after 4 days ……

  2. truth says:

    Cayman.  Where making an effort is the best you can hope for.  iIts still pathetic compared to the rest of the world where people are payed for a job well done.

  3. Anonymous says:

    About time too !

    Most of the Government sites I have been accessing over the last few days have very little in the way of 'ease of access' portals to contact the department through electronic means. I am not always prepared to have to telephone, especially when calling from overseas and have to hold the line while waiting for information and then having no written proof of conversation.

    Some departments have not updated their sites since 2006 which is a shocking state of affairs for a transparent Government to allow to happen.