How well is GIPA working? Better, according to a recent report

The 2017-2018 Report on the Operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) (Report) prepared by the NSW Information and Privacy Commission was released on 28 February 2019. 

The Report confirms  government agencies have strengthened compliance with the GIPA Act in terms of:

  • increased proactive release of information through better systems, governance and resourcing
  • steady release of information by access application made by members of the public, members of parliament, not-for-profit and community groups and businesses, and media.

However, the Report also noted decreased timeliness of response times requiring a focused resourcing response. The Report contains a detailed analysis of the outcomes achieved for the actions identified in the previous report. 

The Report noted the NSW commitment to Open Government and identified the following future focus strategies:

  • systemic compliance through release of a self-audit tool to elevate compliance with core requirements for sound information governance
  • mandatory proactive release through investigation of low compliance of agencies
  • authorised proactive release through publishing of a guideline to promote release of Open Data by agencies
  • informal release through working with identified agencies, including the NSW Police Force
  • release of information with access applications through assisting the receipt of valid applications by engaging agencies who experienced increased or decreased receipt rate of valid applications 
  • external reviews through publically reporting on compliance with timeliness in finalising external reviews.

Further, the Report has signalled the NSW Information and Privacy Commissioner’s intention to enhance the timeliness and quality of the agencies’ responses by supporting electronic lodgement of access applications, which has the expected benefit of decreasing invalid applications which are a drain on agency resources.

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