Media release: Do Queensland local governments and Hospital foundations release enough information online?

Queensland’s Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) report, Desktop Audits 2014-16: Website Compliance with Right to Information and Information Privacy — Local Governments and Hospital Foundations, was tabled in Parliament this week.

OIC examined local government and hospital foundation websites between 2014 and 2016 and made recommendations for improvement to individual agencies. The report provides a summary of the findings of the individual audits.

The Report concluded:

  • Local governments and hospital foundations need to do more work to improve access to government-held information. This would support their transparency and accountability and, in turn, improve community’s confidence in government agencies.
  • When government agencies publish limited information on their websites, they forego the benefits of proactive disclosure - the information gets into the public domain faster and at a lower cost, reducing agency time and resources that deal with applications under legislative process. Proactive disclosure of information in an accessible format improves services to the community, transparency and accountability and builds trust.
  • Overall, all audited agencies need to be more active in using push model strategies. They can use administrative access arrangements, publication schemes and disclosure logs more effectively to provide clear pathways and easier access to information so that formal applications are used as a last resort.
  • The audited agencies had taken steps to handle personal information appropriately, but did not always make an individual aware of how they used the personal information or which entity they disclosed it to.

Queensland’s Information Commissioner, Rachael Rangihaeata said, “I’m encouraged by the work local governments and hospital foundations have undertaken to make more information publically available online but further work is required.”

“I have made recommendations to individual agencies about improving their online information which would strengthen compliance with the Queensland’s Right to Information Act and Information Privacy Act and deliver benefits to the agency and community,” Ms Rangihaeata said.

Read the report here