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Meeting our obligations for Right to Information and the Privacy Act

As part of a mission to make Ipswich City Council an exemplar local government for other councils to follow, 18 transformation projects have been identified as key areas for reform. We look at the Right to Information and the Privacy Act and how it applies to council moving forward.

A number of key recommendations from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) relating to Right of Information (RTI) and Information Privacy (IP) have now been implemented by the Transformational Project Program.

In 2018, the OIC tabled a Compliance Audit Report regarding how council was meeting its obligations under the Right to Information Act (2009) and the Information Privacy Act (2009).

Corporate Governance Manager Angela Harms said it was important for community confidence that council followed through on the recommendations.

“Successful completion of these recommendations demonstrates council’s commitment to providing the community with open and transparent access to information in relation to our services, activities and business operations,” Ms Harms said.

“By finalising the 2017 OIC audit recommendations we are ensuring that we are more open and accountable, provide equal access to information across all sectors of the community and appropriate protection for each individual’s privacy.”

The Compliance Audit Report contained 12 recommendations with implementation timeframes ranging from 3-18 months. Of the 12 recommendations 6 are still to be implemented and finalised.

Six audit recommendations will be delivered as an outcome of other transformation projects, Reporting Framework, Knowledge Management and Information and Privacy:

  • Council develops and implements an information governance framework and supporting documented policies and procedures to drive right to information and information privacy aims.
  • Council designs and implements training on right to information and information privacy.
  • General obligations.
  • Policies and procedures specific to the council for inclusion in its induction and awareness training, mandatory for all staff.
  • Council Implements performance measures for access to information and privacy principals aligned with our corporate planning and reporting framework.
  • Identify and classify information assets and ensure information that is significant, appropriate and accurate is published.
  • Council review its template documents and manual for application handling and ensure the documents are accurate, up to date and support legislatively compliant application handling and good practice.
  • Council will communicate with all council departments about the roles and responsibilities in response to applications for information made under the Right to Information Act or Information Privacy Act.

Council will be taking steps to make council-held information available to the public as a matter of course, unless there is good reason not to, and will ensure safe-guarding of personal information.

This includes:

  • Annual review and update of council’s website relating to administrative access to information which includes RTI/IP webpages and our publication scheme.
  • Annual refresher training of staff in RTI and IP.
  • Development of an annual communication schedule to meet with all department/branch staff to discuss their roles and responsibilities in response to applications for information made under the Right to Information Act or Information Privacy Act.

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