What is the difference between a complaint and an application for review of a freedom of information decision?
If a person is concerned about the way an agency has handled their matter, they can complain to the Information Commissioner who may investigate. A person can also make a complaint about an agency’s IPS or disclosure log. See Part 11 of the Guidelines.
If an applicant or an affected third party is unhappy with an agency’s decision about giving or refusing access to documents, they can ask for the decision to be reviewed. The applicant can ask the agency to review its decision internally, except if a minister or the principal officer of the agency made the decision personally. See Part 9 of the Guidelines and Review of Decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
An applicant or third party also has the right to ask the Information Commissioner to review an access decision, either without seeking an internal review or after going through the internal review process. See Part 10 of the Guidelines and Review of Decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.