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OVIC has implemented its Business Continuity Plan in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

OVIC has activated its Business Continuity Plan in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and OVIC staff are working remotely to ensure the risk of exposure to staff is minimised, and to reduce the health risk to all Victorians. OVIC’s primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of staff, Victorian public sector (VPS) staff and members of the public.

Please contact OVIC via email where possible. We aim to respond to all correspondence in a timely manner, however there may be some delays and we ask for your patience at this time.

We remain committed to ensuring the information rights of Victorians are upheld.

Processing FOI reviews and complaints

OVIC’s Registry team will continue to receive new FOI review and complaint applications and progress review and complaint matters on hand, including attempts to informally resolve matters. Please contact OVIC via email at enquiries@ovic.vic.gov.au.

FOI decisions and statutory timeframes

OVIC recognises that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant impacts on the general public and agencies operating under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act). We understand agencies may have reduced staffing and it may be difficult for some agencies to meet their obligations under the FOI Act and make FOI decisions within statutory timeframes.

OVIC will consider extending the timeframe for agencies to provide exempt documents and written submissions to our office and provide an update when possible.

OVIC will continue to assist members of the public in lodging applications for review and complaints, provide guidance and advice on procedural matters and progress matters to resolution. We encourage members of the public to consider granting extensions of time where required.

Privacy complaints

OVIC will continue to receive, and seek to resolve, privacy complaints from members of the public. To ensure the safety of staff and members of the public, OVIC will conduct conciliation meetings by telephone instead of in-person. Members of the public with an ongoing privacy complaint should continue to contact the relevant case officer handling their matter. Members of the public who want to raise an issue or make a new privacy complaint should continue to contact OVIC via email at privacy@ovic.vic.gov.au.

Protecting public sector information

It’s important for VPS staff to take steps to ensure public sector information is protected from unauthorised access, disclosure and use while working remotely. OVIC has developed guidance for VPS employees on how to respect privacy and protect public sector information when working remotely. OVIC will continue to receive notifications of information security incidents, and we request that notifications are made via email at incidents@ovic.vic.gov.au where possible.

Training and events

To ensure the health of staff and members of the public, OVIC is postponing all events until further notice. We are also postponing all face-to-face agency training sessions and are currently exploring ways to deliver training safely and remotely through webinars. Those that have already registered for an upcoming session will be contacted directly when we have a digital solution in place. All future online training and events will continue to be offered free of charge.

While we aren’t offering face-to-face training currently, we have a suite of FOI and privacy online learning modules. Visit our online learning portal for more information.We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions about training please contact us via email at training@ovic.vic.gov.au.

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