The Office of the Information Commissioner’s (OIC) External Review team has responsibility for reviewing reviewable decisions made by agencies and Ministers under the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act).
If you have received a reviewable decision, you have 20 business days to apply for an external review. See Explaining your review rights for more information.
External Review’s role includes:
The RTI Act requires the External Review team to resolve external review applications informally wherever possible. However, if informal resolution cannot be achieved a formal decision will be issued. These will either affirm, vary, or set aside the agency or Minister’s decision and are published on OIC’s website.
An external review can involve some or all of the following stages:
For more information about external review see Explaining your review rights – a guide for applicants and the below video, Understanding External Review.
The time taken to complete an external review varies depending on the particular circumstances of each application. The OIC’s Early Assessment and Resolution team aims to resolve external reviews as quickly as possible. However, where, for example, the external review involves complex issues, large numbers of documents, or unexpected delay from the relevant agency it may take significantly longer.
The OIC will work with all participants of an external review to encourage settlement of the review without the need to issue a formal decision. This may be done by discussing the application with participants in the review, either by telephone or in writing. This discussion may involve the merits of an application and asking participants to consider resolving the matter based on OIC’s view.
Where an external review cannot be informally resolved, the OIC will proceed to make a formal decision in the matter.1 Reviews requiring a formal decision may take up to one year to finalise.
OIC’s External Review team cannot:
Assist with privacy or other complaints or information access requests relating to Commonwealth government departments, private businesses or organisations, including real estate agents, private medical facilities or insurance companies. For information about organisations that may be able to help, see What the OIC can help with.
Current as at: November 10, 2020