Friday, November 05, 2010
NSW Information Commissioner takes GIPA on the road
NSW Information Commissioner Deirdre O'Donnell and her staff are to be commended for efforts to improve awareness of information rights through a series of roadshow presentations, first in regional centres and more recently in suburban Sydney locations for government employees, NGOs, members of the public and the media. Sessions are still to be held at Campbelltown, Bankstown, Parramatta, Hornsby and Castle Hill-details here if you are interested (program).
Nothing scheduled for the CBD, perhaps reflecting the fact the top end of town has never shown much enthusiasm for the topic beyond self interest.(Update: business should be interested even on that score because as pointed out here, the new NSW law includes some changes of direct relevance. And on page 2 of the program there are details of two sessions in the CBD scheduled for March 2011, along with others at Chatswood, Gosford and Katoomba.)
The Office-leading from the front in the pro-active disclosure stakes- has also published Review report: Right to Information Roadshow - regional, Oct 201 providing an overview, costs and lessons learned from the first 11 workshops held in regional locations outside Sydney. Total attendance was 696: about 600 from government agencies and what looks like a rather disappointing public turnout, none at one session and single figures at another six sessions. There is no breakdown of who showed up. Getting citizens interested in their rights, and participation in government processes is a tough gig, and requires a range of ongoing initiatives. I wonder if government agencies did anything to bring the briefings to the attention of locals? That might have helped spread the word. And whether scheduling sessions for business hours on weekdays necessarily excluded a segment of those who might be interested?
Good on the Commissioner for this first go (and for publishing the review report). From the feedback 91% of attendees were highly satisfied. An additional bonus was media exposure through interviews with local papers, television and radio. There's still time for Sydney folk to make it.