FOI - What Will The Organisation Do?
In most cases, your application will be dealt with by an Information Officer appointed by the organisation. The organisation will usually:
- check that your application satisfies the requirements of the Act. More information - FOI - Making an access application - What are the requirements for an application?
- provide you with an estimate of processing costs (if necessary)
- locate the information you have requested
- consult with any third parties who may be affected by the release of the information (if necessary)
- make a decision regarding your access to the information
- arrange for you to access the information.
The Information Officer may contact you to talk about your application or get further details to help them locate the information you want faster and more efficiently.
How long will it take to process my application?
The organisation usually has 30 days from receipt of a valid application to locate the information you have requested and provide you with a decision in writing about whether you have been granted access. However, this time period can be extended if:
- further time is required to consult with a third party
- the application relates to a large amount of information
- extensive searches are required to locate the information
- complying with the period would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the organisation
- the organisation transfers your application to another organisation. (The first organisation has 15 days to transfer your application. The other organisation then has 30 days from the date of transfer to make a decision.)
The 30 days does not include time spent waiting for you to respond to an estimate of processing fees provided by the organisation.
Application that does not meet requirements
The organisation may believe your application does not meet the requirements for a valid application. More information - FOI - Making an access application - What are the requirements for an application?
If you have provided sufficient contact details, the organisation will try to contact you to let you know what the problem is and give you the chance to fix it.
Estimate of processing fee
If the application is likely to involve significant fees, the organisation may give you an estimate of the processing costs. (You can require the organisation to give you an estimate, if you are concerned.) You can then decide whether or not to proceed with your application.
If you decide to proceed, the organisation may require you to pay a deposit of:
- $25, if the estimate is less than $100; or
- 50% of the estimate, if it is over $100.
The organisation doesn't have to proceed with your application until you pay the deposit.
Processing fees and estimates are dealt within the Information Regulations.
Locating the information you requested
The organisation may contact you in order to clarify exactly what information you require. This can help you refine your request so you get exactly what you want and don't have to pay unnecessary fees.
Third party consultation
In some cases, the organisation will have to consult another person or organisation about information that you requested (a "third party"). This may include personal information about other people, business information, aboriginal cultural information, or information relating to another government.
The third party will be given the chance to express their views on whether the information should be released. Whether the third party objects or agrees, it is up to the organisation to decide whether the information should be released.
How does the organisation decide whether to let you see the information?
The organisation will check whether you are entitled to access the information you asked for. The organisation can usually only refuse to give you the information if it falls within one of the exemptions listed in the Information Act. The exemptions are set out in sections 44-58 of the Act. You can read more on the FOI - Exemptions from disclosure page.
Notice of decision
After considering whether any of the information you want is exempt, the organisation provides you with a written notice of its decision. It may:
- provide you with access in full
- provide you with access in part
- refuse access
- neither confirm nor deny that information exists but state that if it did the information would be exempt.
If it does not provide you with access in full, it must explain which exemptions are relied on and provide reasons why those exemptions apply to the information.
How is access provided?
The organisation will either give you a copy of the information or allow you to view it. There are fees for arranging or providing access (but the first two hours of supervised inspection of personal information are free) If you have a particular preference for the form of access, let the organisation know. For example, if there are a large number of electronic documents the organisation may be able to give you a copy on disk or CD in order to reduce the cost.
What if only some information in a document is exempt?
The organisation will edit out the exempt information and give or show you a copy of information that is not exempt (so long as that is practicable, and the copy contains information of substance).
What if I don't get the information I wanted?
For decisions made on or after 1 July 2004, you can apply for internal review of the decision.
Last Updated on
23 June, 2008