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Thursday, September 13, 2007

FOI delivers blow by blow account of nine year drafting exercise

Matthew Moore in his Sydney Morning Herald "What they won't tell you" column illustrates through documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act some of the reasons it took over nine years to draft the revised NSW FOI Manual.

In "After nine years it must be a well written manual", he details some of the infighting between the Premier's Department and the Ombudsman's Office, with the then head of the Premier's Department, playing a key role in frustrating progress since 2002. Turnover of staff involved over the years must have contributed to the stop start nature of the project. And lack of firm direction from the top to get this done clearly allowed the exercise to meander on over the years.

Well at least a tick for FOI that the documents about what happened were released in response to an application by a regular user of the Act, who put "right to know" in action.

As to whether "it must be a well written manual", that's another question that those who now have to work with it, or rely on it, are best placed to answer. Good luck to us all.

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