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FOI and Privacy in 2013–14: A Busy and Productive Year

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) publishes quarterly statistics on its active workload. The quarterly statistics for April–June 2014 are now published: http://www.oaic.gov.au/about-us/corporate-information/budget-and-statistics/quarterly-statistics-april-june-2014.

The recent quarterly report includes the ‘Year to Date’ statistics — that is, the aggregate statistics for the OAIC workload in 2013–14. The annual statistics for 2012–13 are included, to enable comparison and to show trends.

A fuller breakdown and explanation of OAIC statistics for 2013–14 will be given in the OAIC Annual Report, along with statistics on the freedom of information (FOI) activity of Australian Government agencies and Ministers. The Annual Report is expected to be published in October 2014, after tabling in the Parliament.

Following are highlights of the OAIC FOI and Privacy workload in 2013–14:

  • Phone enquiries: handled 16,486 phone enquiries (18,238 in 2012–13) — 11,732 of phone enquiries this year related to privacy, a 9% increase
  • Written enquiries: answered 3742 written enquiries (3165 in 2012–13) — a 26% increase in privacy written enquiries, which are 64% of the total
  • Privacy complaints: received 4243 complaints (184% increase), and completed 2616 (74% increase). The average closure rate was 7.2 privacy complaints per day (90% increase), and the average completion time was 86.7 days (44% decrease)
  • FOI complaints: received 78 complaints (47% decrease), and completed 119 (20% decrease). As at 30 June 2014, the number of FOI complaints on hand was 34 (55% decrease)
  • IC reviews (FOI): received 523 Information Commissioner review (IC review) applications (3% increase), completed 646 (54% increase), published 98 IC review decisions (26% increase), and finalised 72% of IC reviews within 12 months of receipt. As at 30 June 2014: the number of IC reviews on hand was 315 (28% decrease); and the oldest unactioned IC review was 40 days (down from 206 days)
  • FOI extensions of time: processed 2456 notifications and applications (7% increase)
  • Privacy audits: conducted 8 audits (60% increase)
  • Data breach notifications (DBNs): handled 73 DBNs (55% increase)
  • Privacy investigations: conducted 13 Commissioner-initiated investigations (32% decrease), and published 4 reports
  • Advice, guidance and submissions: published 20 guideline items, conducted 22 consultations, provided 133 written policy advices, and made 17 submissions
  • Website visits: received 1.51 million website visits (10% increase)
  • Speeches: the three Commissioners made 79 speeches and presentations (10% increase)