Management and separation of OIC functions

Effective date: 26 September 2017

Policy statement

Staff of the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) will exercise discretion, professionalism and judgement to uphold the independence and rigor of the advisory, information, training, decision making and mediation functions of the OIC. This will ensure there is no conflict or perception of conflict in the services delivered to clients and stakeholders.

Policy context

This policy applies to all employees of the OIC and should be read in conjunction with the Public Service Act 2008 and the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service issued under authority of the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld).

Guidance

The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) provides for the continued existence of the OIC. Each team within the OIC has a distinct function. In order to avoid potential and actual conflicts, or perception of conflicts in the discharge of those functions, the independence of each team’s role needs to be recognised, managed and communicated to stakeholders.

The following measures will be taken to ensure the separation of services, roles and functions within the OIC.

Confidentiality

In addition to the obligations imposed on all public sector officers by the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service, all employees of the OIC are required to execute a Deed of Confidentiality (PDF, 169.64 KB) on commencement, under which they are obliged to comply with all internal confidentiality and security procedures. This includes requiring staff to:

Only access information that they hold authority to access

Understand their recordkeeping obligations in accordance with the OIC’s General Retention and Disposal Schedule including the appropriate destruction of ephemeral documents

Exercise discretion and professional judgement in discussions with other OIC officers.

Some transfer of information is necessary to ensure consistency of advice, opinion and information across the OIC but this communication will be handled in a sensitive, anonymous and general way so that identities and particularities are removed.

Separation

Each team maintains its own secure network drive which is limited to officers who have a requirement to access particular sections of the network drive. In addition, it is the responsibility of each officer to securely store assigned files and confidential or sensitive information in designated secure areas to which they have authorised access.

As well as physical and electronic measures to ensure the independence of each team’s functions, the organisational structure (PDF, 46.01 KB) of the OIC also supports the avoidance of conflicts or perception of conflicts. The Privacy, External Review, Audit & Evaluation, and Engagement and Corporate Services units have distinct and separate reporting lines.