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Consultation on draft FOI Guidelines

OVIC is developing guidelines to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (the FOI Act) (FOI Guidelines) and consulting on draft content in stages.

Review draft content and share your views to help make the FOI Guidelines clear and useful.

When a draft Part of the FOI Act (for example, Part I of the FOI Act) is ready for public consultation, we will publish it on this page for a minimum period of four weeks.

This page provides more information about the consultation and a link to download the available draft parts ready for consultation.

Overview

OVIC is developing the FOI Guidelines to provide guidance to agencies and members of the public on how to interpret and apply the FOI Act.

What is the FOI Act?

The FOI Act creates a legally enforceable right to seek access to documents held by Victorian government agencies.

Amongst other things, the FOI Act also sets out how to process an FOI request and provides a right to seek a review of an agency FOI decision or make a complaint about how an agency handled an FOI request.

Why is OVIC writing FOI guidelines?

OVIC publishes guidance for members of the public and Victorian government agencies subject to the FOI Act on how to interpret and apply the FOI Act.

This includes 39 Practice Notes which aim to help agencies understand how to process a request in line with the FOI Act and the FOI Professional Standards.

While we publish a range of resources, we do not have a comprehensive guide on the FOI Act.

We are developing the FOI Guidelines to provide a free, comprehensive, plain English, guide to the FOI Act which incorporates our current guidance and includes new guidance.

The FOI Guidelines will also promote understanding and acceptance of the FOI Act and its object.

What will happen to existing OVIC resources?

When we publish final FOI Guidelines, we will remove existing resources from OVIC’s website where those resources duplicate content in the FOI Guidelines.

Important information for commenting on draft FOI Guidelines

What will the draft FOI Guidelines look like?

The FOI Guidelines will include guidance for each section of the FOI Act and will include (where relevant):

  • OVIC guidance;
  • FOI Professional Standards;
  • OVIC review decisions;
  • case law; and
  • examples.

For public consultation on draft content, each Part of the Act (for example, Part I, Part IA) will be published as a separate document.

However, for the final FOI Guidelines, OVIC will publish each section of the Act (for example, section 3) separately, as its own webpage and document.

Structure of each section

Each section includes:

  • the section replicated in full; and
  • OVIC guidance which may include an example, an OVIC decision, relevant FOI Professional Standards, case law, and/or links for further reading.

Text boxes

Each section may include one or more text boxes with an example, an OVIC decision, a relevant FOI Professional Standard, case law, and/or links for further reading.

There will be different coloured text boxes for each kind of information.

Yellow highlights

We will include in-text links in the FOI Guidelines where guidance on one section of the Act refers to another section. This is to help with navigating between sections.

In the draft FOI Guidelines, we have included a yellow highlight to indicate where the in-text reference will be.

How to participate

When will draft content be available?

Your feedback is important to help make the FOI Guidelines practical and useful for you.

We are consulting on draft FOI Guidelines in stages.

When a draft Part of the FOI Act (for example, Part I of the FOI Act) is ready for public consultation, we will publish it below for a minimum period of four weeks.

See below to see which draft Parts of the FOI Act are available for public consultation.

What should I consider when providing feedback on draft FOI Guidelines?

When providing feedback on draft FOI Guidelines please consider the following questions:

  1. Are the draft FOI Guidelines useful and practical? If not, what would make them more useful and practical?
  2. Is the language clear and understandable?
  3. Is anything missing? For example, relevant case law or a step in applying an exemption.
  4. Is more detail required? Is less detail required?
  5. Any other comments you may have.

Provide your feedback to OVIC

To provide feedback on draft FOI Guidelines:

  1. Download a Word copy of the draft Part and use tracked changes to mark-up suggestions and leave comments; or
  2. Download the feedback form and insert your suggestions into the table provided; or
  3. Send us an email or letter with your feedback (you do not need to use the feedback form).

Download draft FOI Guidelines here

Download draft Parts of the FOI Guidelines below.

Part 1A  – Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

The deadline for consultation on Part 1A is 25 January 2022

Optional feedback form

Next steps

We will consider the feedback we receive on draft Parts of the FOI Guidelines in finalising the FOI Guidelines.

Watch out for updates on this page, with new draft Parts for consultation.

Contact us

Email

policyteam@ovic.vic.gov.au

Mail

FOI Guidelines

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

PO Box 24274

Melbourne VIC 3001

Collection of personal information

You are not required to provide any personal information to provide feedback on draft FOI Guidelines.

Where you choose to provide personal information, OVIC may use it to provide you consolidated feedback on the feedback we receive or seek clarification on your feedback. If you choose to provide personal information, we ask that you do not include this information anywhere other than the designated fields on the feedback form.

If you choose to make your submission by email, we may be able to identify you from your email address. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can post your submission to OVIC.

OVIC will not disclose your personal information without your consent, except where required to do so by law. You may contact OVIC to request access to any personal information you have provided to us by emailing enquiries@ovic.vic.gov.au.

For further information on how OVIC handles personal information, please read our Privacy Policy.

Download

Draft-Part-IA-Office-of-the-Victorian-Information-Commissioner-Draft-FOI-Guidelines-for-Public-Consultation.docx

Draft-Part-IA-Office-of-the-Victorian-Information-Commissioner-Draft-FOI-Guidelines-for-Public-Consultation.docx
Size 463.46 KB

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Optional-feedback-form-for-providing-comments-on-draft-FOI-Guidelines.docx

Optional-feedback-form-for-providing-comments-on-draft-FOI-Guidelines.docx
Size 487.62 KB

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