In most cases, your application will be dealt with by an Information Officer appointed by the organisation. The organisation will usually:
The Information Officer may contact you to talk about your application or get further details to help them locate the information you want faster and more efficiently.
The organisation usually has 30 days from receipt of a valid application to locate the information you have requested and provide you with a decision in writing about whether you have been granted access. However, this time period can be extended if:
The 30 days does not include time spent waiting for you to respond to an estimate of processing fees provided by the organisation.a
The organisation may believe your application does not meet the requirements for a valid application.
If you have provided sufficient contact details, the organisation will try to contact you to let you know what the problem is and give you the chance to fix it.
For more information, visit FOI Make an access application.
The organisation may contact you in order to clarify exactly what information you require. This can help you refine your request so you get exactly what you want and don't have to pay unnecessary fees.
In some cases, the organisation will have to consult another person or organisation about information that you requested (a "third party"). This may include personal information about other people, business information, aboriginal cultural information, or information relating to another government.
The third party will be given the chance to express their views on whether the information should be released. Whether the third party objects or agrees, it is up to the organisation to decide whether the information should be released.
The organisation will check whether you are entitled to access the information you asked for. The organisation can usually only refuse to give you the information if it falls within one of the exemptions listed in the Information Act. The exemptions are set out in sections 44-58 of the Act.
For more information, visit FOI Exemptions from Disclosure.
After considering whether any of the information you want is exempt, the organisation provides you with a written notice of its decision. It may:
If it does not provide you with access in full, it must explain which exemptions are relied on and provide reasons why those exemptions apply to the information.
The organisation will either give you a copy of the information or allow you to view it. There are fees for arranging or providing access (but the first two hours of supervised inspection of personal information are free) If you have a particular preference for the form of access, let the organisation know. For example, if there are a large number of electronic documents the organisation may be able to give you a copy on disk or CD in order to reduce the cost.
The organisation will edit out the exempt information and give or show you a copy of information that is not exempt (so long as that is practicable, and the copy contains information of substance).
For decisions made on or after 1 July 2004, you can apply for internal review of the decision.