Part 15 — Reporting
Version 1.2, May 2012
15.1 The Information Commissioner is required under s 30 of the AIC Act to report annually on the OAIC's operations, including on the freedom of information matters set out in s 31. Those matters include information about guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner, applications for IC review, complaints received by the OAIC, and assistance provided to agencies to enable them to comply with the FOI Act (s 31(1)(a), (f), (h) and (i) of the AIC Act).
15.2 The report must also include information about FOI administration in agencies as listed in paragraph 15.4 below (ss 31(1)(b), (c), (d) and (e) and 31(2) of the AIC Act) and the number of applications each year for AAT review of FOI decisions (s 31(1)(g) of the AIC Act).
15.3 The report also includes information on the operation of the Privacy Act, covering the handling of complaints about breaches of the Act, investigations of agencies or organisations to ensure compliance with the Act, and advice and other assistance provided to government, agencies and organisations to promote good privacy practice. Unless the Information Commissioner requests otherwise, this part of the report will continue to be prepared with little input required from agencies and there is no obligation to provide information corresponding to s 93 of the FOI Act. However, this does not affect agencies' obligations to complete an entry for the Personal Information Digest each year under s 27(1)(g) of the Privacy Act. Further guidance on completing a Personal Information Digest entry may be found at www.oaic.gov.au/.
15.4 Section 93 of the FOI Act requires agencies and ministers to provide information and statistics to the Information Commissioner to enable the Commissioner to prepare the report required under s 30 of the AIC Act. Each agency and minister must provide the following information:
- the number of FOI requests made under s 15 of the FOI Act (s 31(1)(b) of the AIC Act)
- the number of decisions granting, partially granting or refusing access (s 31(2) of the AIC Act)
- the number and outcome of requests to amend personal records under s 48 of the FOI Act (s 31(1)(c) of the AIC Act)
- charges collected for processing FOI requests (s 31(1)(d) of the AIC Act)
- the number and outcome of applications for internal review under s 54 of the FOI Act (s 31(1)(e) of the AIC Act).
15.5 The Information Commissioner also has monitoring and reporting functions in relation to the administration of the Information Publication Scheme (Part 2 of the FOI Act) — see Part 13 of these Guidelines for further information.
15.6 An agency or minister must also comply with any additional requirements in the regulations regarding the provision of information or the maintenance of records for the purposes of providing the information and statistics to the Information Commissioner (s 93(3) of the FOI Act). At present no additional requirements are prescribed by regulation. However, the OAIC has continued the past practice of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to request additional information from agencies.
15.7 Each agency and minister must provide a statistical report on a quarterly and annual basis. Information is entered directly into a secure database through a password-protected web portal. The OAIC has provided detailed information on how to provide FOI statistics and what is required at www.oaic.gov.au/publications/agency_resources.html.
15.8 The quarterly reports are required by reg 5 of the Freedom of Information (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1982 to be submitted within 21 days of the end of the quarter, and the annual report by 31 July each year.