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FOI Professional Standards: FAQs

The Professional Standards (the Standards) were developed under Part IB of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (the Act) and, as a legislative instrument, in accordance with the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (Vic).

On Wednesday 11 September 2019 the Standards were published in a special edition of the Government Gazette. The Standards were subsequently tabled in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on Thursday 12 September 2019.

This blog post provides more information on frequently asked questions.

What are the Standards?

There are 33 standards based on 10 themes, relating to the conduct of agencies in performing functions under the Act and the administration and operation of the Act by agencies.

In the development of the Standards OVIC undertook significant consultation with agencies and stakeholders. This included early consultation with OVIC’s Public Access Agency Reference Group and inviting all agencies to provide feedback on draft Standards.

What is their purpose?

The purpose of the Standards is to ensure the Act is administered by agencies consistently with:

  • the Act’s object – to extend as far as possible the right of the community to access information in the possession of an agency subject to the Act; and
  • Parliament’s intention – that the provisions of the Act are interpreted so as to further its object and any discretions conferred by the Act are exercised as far as possible to facilitate and promote the prompt disclosure of information at the lowest reasonable cost.

They aim to improve communication between agencies and applicants, ensure applications are processed in a timely manner, provide clarity to certain provisions of the Act, and ensure the Act is given a modern interpretation, both in practice and process.

Who do they apply to?

The Standards are binding and apply to every Victorian agency subject to the Act. This includes government departments, statutory authorities, public hospitals, councils, TAFEs and universities.

When do they commence?

Although the Standards have been tabled in Parliament, they don’t commence until Monday 2 December 2019.

How can I get more information?

More information on the Standards is available on our website.

We’re also holding an information session on 8 October 2019 to discuss the standards in more detail. RSVP here today.

If you have any further questions about the Standards contact policyteam@ovic.vic.gov.au.

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