Internal review

What is an internal review?

In an internal review, both your FOI request and the decision of the agency are reconsidered. Where possible, an employee of the agency who didn’t handle your FOI request should do the review. Generally, they’re a more senior employee.

Internal review is not available:

  • if the decision was made by a minister (or someone the minister has authorised to make a decision on their behalf) or personally by the principal officer of an agency.
  • if you did not receive a decision in response to your request (‘a deemed decision’)

In these situations, you can ask for an Information Commissioner review.

How do you apply?

Contact the agency in writing. Ask them to review their decision about your FOI request. Let them know what you disagree with. For example, the agency has given access to the document you requested to a qualified individual, not directly to you.

You must contact them, in writing, within 30 days of receiving their decision. If you need more time, you may ask the agency to extend the time to apply beyond 30 days.

Is there a charge?

No.

When will a decision be made?

An agency must make a decision within 30 days of receiving your application for an internal review.

Can you ask for an Information Commissioner review instead?

You have to ask for Information Commissioner review if:

  • the decision was made by a minister (or someone the minister has authorised to make a decision on their behalf) or personally by the principal officer of an agency.
  • you did not receive a decision in response to your request (‘a deemed decision’)

In all other cases, you can ask for an Information Commissioner review without applying for an internal review, but we recommend you ask for an internal review first. An internal review gives the agency the opportunity to reconsider their initial decision. Your needs may also be met more quickly with an internal review — as a 30 day limit for a decision applies.