Section 61E - Agency or Minister to co-operate with Information Commissioner
Extract of legislation
Relevant Professional Standards
|Professional Standard 10.1||An agency must assist the Information Commissioner or Public Access Deputy Commissioner in their attempt to informally resolve a review or complaint.|
|Professional Standard 10.2||An agency must give consideration to a preliminary view issued by, or on behalf of, the Information Commissioner or Public Access Deputy Commissioner during a review.|
Section 61E requires an agency or Minister to cooperate with the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) when dealing with a complaint.1
Professional Standard 10.1 also requires agencies to cooperate with OVIC in relation to reviews and complaints by assisting OVIC to informally resolve a review or complaint. This is to facilitate the efficient resolution of complaints and to ensure that all relevant information is made available to OVIC.
Assisting with a complaint
Agencies and Ministers can cooperate with and assist OVIC by:
- responding to preliminary enquiries promptly and within agreed timeframes – this will help OVIC to determine if the matter can be resolved informally or assist in narrowing the issues in dispute;
- suggesting ways in which a complaint can be resolved;
- participating in the informal resolution process and negotiating in good faith to resolve a complaint informally;
- providing clear and direct responses to requests for clarification or further information
- providing responses as soon as possible;
- avoiding taking an overly technical or adversarial approach to the complaints process.
OVIC may share information between the parties to a complaint
To resolve complaints as efficiently as possible, OVIC may need to share information between the parties to a complaint. For example, this may include discussing agency responses with, and providing information to, a complainant.
If information provided by an agency to OVIC cannot be provided to a complainant, the agency should advise OVIC that it is confidential. However, providing as much information as possible is more likely to result in resolving a complaint.
Where information is provided in confidence, it will not be discussed or shared with a complainant when dealing with the complaint without the agency or Minister’s agreement, unless it is required by law.
- Section 6I sets out the functions of the Information Commissioner and the Public Access Deputy Commissioner; both are responsible for handling FOI complaints. In this section, the FOI Guidelines collectively refer to the Information Commissioner, the Public Access Deputy Commissioner, and OVIC staff as ‘OVIC’ unless otherwise stated.