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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Australian Information Commissioner first year report

The 2010-2011 Annual Report of the Office of Australian Information Commissioner, covering activities since the office was established on 1 November 2010, naturally enough is about the office-a separate report on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act with agency statistics for 2010-2011 is yet to be tabled in Parliament and released publicly. The report contains plenty of detail about this busy first eight months regarding organisation issues, FOI, privacy, and the work in progress, development of government wide information policy. Some points of interest:
  • The OAIC had 78 FTE staff at 30 June, 18 in Canberra, 69 in Sydney.
  • 176 FOI review applications, 29 finalised (withdrawn, by agreement or decision), four published decisions. Top of the list: Immigration (27), ASIC (17), Centrelink (16), ATO (15), AFP (9).
  • 88 FOI complaints, 39 finalised. Child Support (13) Centrelink (11) Immigration (9) ATO (8)
  • 1021 requests for FOI time extensions of various types granted (of this number 834 were with the agreement of the applicant), 21 not granted. No agencies identified. 
  • 734 FOI inquiries to the help line from the public and agencies
For the full year, on the privacy protection side of the shop:
  • 1222 complaints, almost 60% concerning the private sector, with the finance industry topping the list (189), federal government agencies next (150) and debt collectors, telecommunications, and the health sector not far behind.
  • Most complained about-Veda Advantage (77), Telstra (54), Child Support Agency (34), Commonwealth Bank (26).
  • 1167 complaints closed (56% declined, 11% following an investigation), on average within four months.
  • 59 Own Motion Investigations, 56 voluntary data breach notifications,10,986 telephone inquiries, almost three quarters involving private sector
  • In matters closed as satisfactory after investigation or preliminary inquiry 26 involving the private sector included a payment in compensation, one of $10,000 or more, and twelve between $1,000 and $10,000. Regarding government agency matters four compensation payments were made, two of less than $1,000 and two between $1,000 and $5,000
A bit tough to be critical of the absence of performance metrics in this initial period. But there aren't any except for some broad "KPI's" for the Privacy Commissioner Outcomes set before integration into the OAIC (Appendix 1).

The KPI's on page 3 of the Queensland Commissioner's 2010-2011 Annual Report set the standard for others in this business. The Western Australian Commissioner's Annual Report (Part 5) utilises service satisfaction and cost among other indicators of efficiency and effectiveness.

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