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Review decisions

As part of the Information Commissioner’s function to promote understanding and acceptance by agencies and the public of the FOI Act and its object, from 1 July 2019 we commenced publishing de-identified copies of decisions made by the Information Commissioner under section 49P of the FOI Act on both the OVIC website and on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) websites.

For agencies

Your agency’s name will be published. However, we will remove your agency’s FOI reference number from the decision prior to publication.

Frequently asked questions for agencies can be found below.

For applicants

If you are an individual, we will remove identifying information from the decision, including your name and other personal information. We will also remove OVIC and agency reference numbers.

If you are applying on behalf of an organisation, the name of your organisation will generally be published, for example, the name of the media organisation where you work or the name of the community action group on whose behalf you are applying for review.

Frequently asked questions for applicants can be found below.

If you have any concerns you can email reviews@ovic.vic.gov.au detailing your concern or contact us to discuss further.

Frequently asked questions - for agencies

Publishing ‘de-identified’ notices of decisions made by the Information Commissioner is in line with the Information Commissioner’s aim to promote understanding and acceptance by agencies and the public of the FOI Act and its object.

The publication of notices of decisions also aims to promote transparency of OVIC’s regulatory role and ensure consistency in decisions.

Yes. Many other states already publish FOI review decisions online, including the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Decisions are published on the OVIC website and the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website. AustLII is a free online database of Australian legal information.

Yes, all notices of decision for review applications received by OVIC on or after 1 January 2019 are published in de-identified form.

From 1 July 2019.

Yes. From 1 January 2019, OVIC told agencies and applicants in our correspondence that decisions will be published.

Information on the pending publication of notices of decision has also been publicly available on the OVIC website since the start of 2019.

Personal information, such as names, dates of birth and addresses, are removed in the de-identified decision. Agency and OVIC reference numbers are also removed.

Your agency’s names will be published.

Youragency’s FOI reference number will be removed from the decision prior to publication.

No. The details of any agency’s FOI decision maker or other FOI officers will not be published. OVIC does not name agency decision makers or FOI officers in its decisions.

  • If the applicant is an organisation, the name of that organisation will generally be published (e.g. a media organisation or community action group);
  • The name of the agency;
  • The decision outcomes; and
  • The reasoning behind the decision.

Documents associated with decisions will not be published by OVIC.

Descriptions of documents and/or general references to them will be included to improve transparency within the decision-making process and to provide clear reasons for the decision.

Yes. Both the agency and the applicant will receive the notice of decision directly from OVIC when a formal review application is finalised. This will occur prior to publication and all parties will be told that the decision will shortly be published, in de-identified form. More detailed information on the review process can be found here.

Decisions will not be published earlier than five (5) business days after the date that the decision was sent out to the agency and the applicant.

Agencies are encouraged to raise any questions about the decision with OVIC as soon as possible after receiving the decision.

Frequently asked questions - for applicants

The notice of decision you receive from the Information Commissioner or Public Access Deputy Commissioner will be published online with identifying personal information removed. OVIC refers to this as a ‘notice of decision in de-identified form’ or a ‘de-identified decision’.

Personal information (e.g. names, dates of birth and addresses) will be removed in the de-identified decision. OVIC and agency FOI reference numbers will also be removed.

No, your name will not be published. All identifying personal information (e.g. names, dates of birth and addresses) will be removed before publication.

  • If you are from an organisation, the name of that organisation will generally be published (e.g. a media organisation or community action group);
  • The name of the agency;
  • The decision outcomes; and
  • The reasoning behind the decision.

Decisions are published on the OVIC website and the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website. AustLII is a free online database of Australian legal information.

Yes, all notices of decision for review applications received by OVIC on or after 1 January 2019 will be published in de-identified form.

From 1 July 2019.

Documents associated with decisions will not be published by OVIC.

Descriptions of such documents and/or general references to them will be included to foster transparency within the decision-making process and to provide clear reasons for the decision.

Yes. Both you and the agency will receive the notice of decision directly from OVIC when a formal review application is finalised. This will occur prior to publication and all parties will be told that the decision will shortly be published, in de-identified form.

Decisions will not be published earlier than five (5) business days after the date that the decision was sent out to the agency and the applicant.

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