Open Information case studies

Open Information expresses the overarching intent of open government; the community’s right to government information and how that translates into greater transparency, accountability and better decision making by government.

Case study – Publishing health performance information

Performance information and its publication can be particularly significant and influential in many spheres of government activity. Health services, particularly hospital services, are the area in which the collection and publication of performance information has been most extensively used. Publication of performance measures helps inform the public about the quality and effectiveness of these services. At the same time, publication may offer public service providers an incentive to improve their efficiency and effectiveness while helping to inform consumer choice by allowing them to choose between alternative providers.

Read more on publishing health performance information (Transparency and the Performance of Outsourced Government Services)

Case Study: Engaging with the community: What information to release administratively

One of the most important things to consider in releasing information through administrative access is making sure your agency is publishing relevant information to the community. If the information is not useful, valuable resources could be wasted.

That's where community engagement comes in. Engaging with the community, seeking their views about what they need and what they think about agency actions and agency information, will help ensure good use of agency resources and build strong community networks and relationships of trust. Below are two examples of strong agency engagement with the community drawn from audits conducted by the Office of Information Commission (OIC).

Example 1: Rockhampton Regional Council (RRC): Community engagement policy

RRC had a strong governance structure for community engagement based on sound policies, plans and organisational roles.

Specifically, RRC’s Community Engagement Policy provided for two-way dialogue, participation and involvement by the community. The policy required community engagement prior to any introduction, change or discontinuation of a service. The more detailed Community Engagement Procedure and Community Engagement Matrix supported the policy.

RCC staff used these documents to guide them in identifying key issues and to determine the appropriate level of engagement with the community. Community engagement was mandatory for all community projects.

Read OIC's compliance review report for Rockhampton Regional Council

Example 2: Council of the City of the Gold Coast (COGCC): Community engagement methods

COGCC used a range of engagement tools for people to raise issues with council. These included:

  • City Panel, which allows community members to express their views online
  • community forums
  • regular surveys on key topics, for example, beach use; and
  • information gathered from complaint, compliment and feedback facilities to improve processes and encourage innovation.

Read OIC's compliance review report for Council of the City of Gold Coast

Case study – e-tendering: Public procurement in Sydney, Australia

In recent years there have been two major developments in public procurement and disclosure in Sydney, Australia. First, e-tendering portals have been widely adopted which have lowered the practical barriers to the collection and dissemination of procurement information. Second, the legal framework surrounding public access to government information in New South Wales was updated in 2010 in the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

Read more on e-tendering: Public procurement in Sydney

Transparency: Occasional Paper Series

Since 2012, OIC has released five papers, which examine the beneficial effects of greater transparency on public sector outsourcing, performance, productivity and policy implementation.

The Transparency Occasional Paper Series is a joint initiative of OIC and the Australian and New Zealand School of Government. The partnership is designed to build awareness of the impact of transparency and its utility as a public sector management tool. Drawing the connections between the new approach to information management brought about by the right to information reforms, research and practice it is hoped the series will foster a more open public sector culture.

The Occasional Papers explore the available evidence, point to areas that would benefit from more research and study, draw new insights and begin to define what transparency looks like as a tool. They also provide practical tips about when, where and how transparency can best be applied to current public administration challenges.

The papers released are:

  • Transparency and Outsourcing
  • Transparency in Practice
  • Transparency and Policy Implementation
  • Transparency and Productivity
  • Transparency and Performance

Read the transparency occasional papers