3.11 INFORMATION AND TRANSPARENCY Council deals with a range of commercial, public and personal information. It is entirely reasonable for residents and ratepayers to expect that council manages its information with appropriate standards of diligence, that all publicly available information should be readily accessible, and that all private and confidential information should be properly protected from any unauthorised access. BEFORE ADMINISTRATION On 17 May 2018, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) tabled a Compliance Audit Report relating to its review of council’s compliance with the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act). The audit focused on ‘leadership and governance’, ‘culture of openness’, ‘compliance’, ‘privacy’ and captured the following activities/areas within council: The audit report contained 12 recommendations with implementation timeframes ranging from three months to 18 months. A Transformation Project team was established to implement three of the then six remaining recommendations: Recommendation 8: 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. Recommendation 2: Council design and implement training on right to information and information privacy: Policies and procedures specific to the council; and For inclusion in its induction and awareness training, mandatory for all staff. Recommendation 9: Council communicate interactively with all council departments about their roles and responsibilities in response to applications for information made under the Right to Information Act 2009 or Information Privacy Act 2009 . General obligations; Information governance; Community engagement; RTI/IP application handling; Camera surveillance; and Ipswich City Council website.
WHAT WE DID Recommendation 8: Council’s Right to Information (RTI) and Intellectual Property (IP) process manual and templates were reviewed. The manual contains step-by-step processing instructions for staff on how RTI/IP applications should be handled, including: How applications should be submitted, acknowledged, assessed and actioned; How to process documents requested from various areas of the organisation, including timeframes and the responsibility of staff to provide the information and comply with RTI and IP Acts; Correct preparation of the RTI/IP response and release of information;
Internal review processes;
The process for referral to another agency for investigation if the applicant is not satisfied; How investigation outcomes are to be reported to the applicant;
How RTI/IP applications are recorded; and
Reporting requirements to council’s Executive Leadership Team and the Office of the Information Commission. Recommendation 2: RTI/IP Training was delivered to all council staff. The training identified roles and responsibilities in the processing of RTI/ IP applications and providing the necessary documentation to the RTI/IP Officer. RTI/IP training is now undertaken by all new staff and an annual training calendar has been designed. Recommendation 9: The Governance Manager and RTI/IP Officer met with all general managers and branch managers to discuss their roles and responsibilities in response to applications for information made under the Right to Information Act 2009 or Information Privacy Act 2009 . By finalising all OIC Audit Recommendations, council has demonstrated its commitment to the principles and compliance with the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) .