Public Hearing 03/03/2016 - 2016 Review of the Annual Reports of Oversighted Bodies

NSW Information Commissioner and Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elizabeth Tydd has appeared before the Public Hearing of the 2016 Review of the Annual Reports of Oversighted Bodies for the Committee on the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the Crime Commission.

Click here to view the Notice of the Public Hearing (no longer available - view the Final Report here).

Summary of the IPC CEO and NSW Information Commissioner’s opening statement

The achievements of the IPC over the last two years build on the early work of the inaugural Information Commissioner and CEO in establishing the IPC; and the five IPC Annual Reports produced since establishment reflect a congruence of vision and strategy from establishment to our current operations.

IPC achievements are well demonstrated in our Annual Reports. Achievements include review and enhancement of the IPC’s case management processes which successfully addressed a historical backlog of information access cases and vastly improved over all timeliness for both information access and privacy cases. In January 2016 65 percent of reviews, complaints and audits are under four months old, compared to 36 percent in June 2014.

The IPC website was reviewed and relaunched in August 2014 to improve access to comprehensive and consistent resources for citizens and regulated entities. The IPC e-learning portal was launched in March 2015 to provide an improved education base for our regulated sectors and the general public.

Twenty-seven communications and publications were issued in 2014/15 including the second report on the operation of the GIPA Act for 2013/14, and the regular IPC Bulletin and case note service was initiated to provide further support to the regulated sectors.

International Right to Know Day (28 September) has developed into a week-long campaign in NSW. Last year’s highlights included the release of a research report on Advancing the objects of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW): an international comparative evaluation of measures used to promote government information release and the successful “Switch on Open Government in NSW” thought leadership roundtable event, led by the Information Commissioner.

A review of the IPC’s service channels has now been completed and we are implementing the recommendations of that report in order to improve on the quality and efficiency of our services to the NSW community.

Over the last two years we have introduced more consistent and rigorous reporting measures to monitor and elevate our own performance and compliance levels by regulated entities. An example of this is the review and relaunch of the GIPA Tool, which now provides a more responsive service for agency information access application management, and improved timeliness and quality of agency reporting data, in order to ease the regulatory burden on regulated sectors and simplify effective reporting on the operation of the GIPA Act.

In exercising our statutory responsibilities the IPC is motivated to respond to sector-wide issues and more effectively co-regulate. In 2015 the Universities’ Compliance with the GIPA Act: Audit Report investigated contract register compliance and was informed by the work of ICAC and the NSW Auditor General. In 2016 we continue to work closely with the NSW Auditor General to promote compliance by all regulated sectors.

Work is progressing on the development of a robust Regulatory Framework to better articulate our jurisdiction, regulatory approach and to inform more targeted and effective regulatory action.

I am pleased to report that our half yearly business plan review demonstrates that we are well advanced on a range of projects; we have increased  our efficiency in respect of acquitting statutory functions; and, we have addressed new priorities including effectively contributing to externally driven initiatives such as the Data Analytics Centre (DAC) as they arise.

Thank you.

The annual reports review provides an opportunity for the Committee on the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the Crime Commission to review the exercise by oversighted agencies of their legislative functions and to discuss issues of public interest that are relevant to the Committee's functions. The agencies the Committee oversights are as follows: the NSW Ombudsman and Child Death Review Team; the Police Integrity Commission; the Inspector of the Police Integrity Commission; the Information and Privacy Commission; the NSW Crime Commission, including the Commission's Management Committee; the Inspector of the Crime Commission; and the Inspector of Custodial Services.