Understand the use of Freedom of Information

This is a draft commitment for Australia’s first National Action Plan (the Plan).

Australia will develop uniform metrics to better measure and improve our understanding of the public’s use of rights under freedom of information laws.

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This commitment reads:

We will work with states and territories to collect and publish uniform data on public use of freedom of information access rights in Australia.

Read rest of the draft commitment in full (one page) and give your feedback. This will be published here, and given to the Interim Working Group who will consider all the public submissions.

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Here’s what people are saying

What would make this commitment better?

Henare Degan says:

It’s nice that this commitment is quite specific. The stated ambition is a good one – to raise awareness about the public’s rights to access government information under freedom of information laws. But there’s nothing in this commitment specifically about doing this. So while I think having metrics is great, it’s only useful if you use them to improve things for people. Adding specific ways of how awareness will be raised of access to information rights would improve this commitment. Having clear goals of what that means would be even better, e.g. having a specific goal of increasing FOI requests by a certain number or percentage.

Luke Bacon says:

It’s great that this commitment lists some of the specific metrics that will be published by agencies overseeing each FOI jurisdiction. That makes this really measurable.

If I understand the milestone dates correctly, I think that the 2014/15 fin year data should be published as part of that milestone, not just collected and “validated”. This will mean we can start seeing the usefulness and impact of the commitment sooner, and make improvements for the next round.

I understand that it will take a lot of effort to get the data together, but I would think that this project would be aiming for as close to real time data collection as possible to be efficient. It strikes me then that to be really ambitious, the 2016/17 data should be published in late 2017 as part of the final milestone as well.

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