The Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act)1 creates a right of access to government-held information unless doing so would be contrary to the public interest. All documents of an agency are required to be open unless there is a specific reason for them not to be, for example, if they are subject to legal professional privilege. Agencies are required to proactively push as much information as possible out to the community, or release it administratively, so that formal access applications under the RTI Act are a last resort.
Maximum disclosure of information to the community under the RTI Act requires agencies to identify new and existing information that can be proactively released and published in an accessible format. Agencies need to be aware of what information they hold and what the community wants to know and use. It is important to put procedures in place to identify existing and future information which is suitable for publication or access without requiring an application under the RTI Act. Establishing processes to monitor and report on your agency’s performance in maximising proactive disclosure of information underpins continuous improvement in compliance with the RTI Act.
Administrative Access Schemes2 are an important means of ensuring formal access applications are a last resort and can avoid unnecessary processes and costs for applicants and agencies. Information about an agencies’ administrative access schemes, including relevant contact details, should be easily accessible on agency websites and communicated to all staff.
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) promotes open government and can assist agencies:
This checklist is designed to assist agencies to identify information that may be suitable for administrative access, implement an administrative access scheme and monitor performance.
|Administrative Access Checklist||Yes||No|
|Know your information holdings|
|Information holdings are described in a complete and up-to-date information asset register.3|
|Information holdings which include personal information or other sensitive material have been identified and appropriately classified.4|
|Information can be extracted and made available in accessible formats.5|
|Metadata describes information holdings in a manner which is meaningful to external stakeholders.6|
|Third-party information is licensed for electronic distribution.7|
|Publication schemes, disclosure logs and existing administrative access schemes are reviewed to identify key information holdings already available.8|
|Any charges for administrative access to information are regularly reviewed.9|
|Know the needs of your information stakeholders|
|Community engagement strategies seek input on stakeholder’s information requirements.10|
|Frontline staff are engaged in identifying frequent information requests.|
|Right to Information and Information Privacy applications are analysed to identify common information requests.|
|Website usage statistics, phone and e-mail contacts data is analysed to identify frequent information requests.11|
|Agency communications and media units are consulted on frequent information requests and proactive information campaigns.|
|Establish administrative access|
|Projects for the development of administrative access schemes are identified in information management planning.|
|Quality assurance is conducted based on an assessment of risk.12|
|Appropriate terms and conditions are applied to the use of information accessed administratively.13|
|Administrative access schemes are approved through appropriate governance arrangements. 14|
|Promote and monitor administrative access|
|Administrative access is given prominence on the agency website.15
|Frontline staff are well informed about administrative access available and are able to assist the public in requesting access.16
|Performance data on volume, timeliness, cost, user satisfaction and complaints is included in executive management reports and the agency’s annual report. 17
|The operation of administrative access schemes and the opportunities for new schemes is reviewed on a regular basis|
Current as at: June 24, 2015