Open Access Information Strategy
Purpose of this strategy
This strategy supports Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) in the application of sections 24 and 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 2016 (FOI Act) as informed by section 4.14 of the Ombudsman’s Open Access Guideline.
The FOI Act requires ACT agencies to routinely publish government information proactively, in accordance with the pro-disclosure objectives of the FOI Act. This is to reduce the need for members of the public to make an access application as a last resort if the information they are seeking is not available online. This strategy outlines how CIT will take a proactive approach to providing access to open access information, consistent with the open access obligations outlined in the FOI Act, including:
- what information will be made publicly available
- how it will be made available
- how published information will be reviewed to ensure that it remains accurate, up-to-date and complete
- when information may not be made publicly available because it is contrary to the public interest, and how CIT will publish the reasons for these decisions.
CIT will identify and publish open access information in a timely manner consistent with the following principles:
- Open access information will be made available to the public, unless it has been assessed as contrary to the public interest to release the information - that is, access to information is the default position from which CIT operates
- Information will be assessed for release with a pro-disclosure bias, consistent with the FOI Act
- Open access information will be accurate, up-to-date, and complete
- Open access information will be easily accessible to all members of the public, for example by complying with the web content accessibility guidelines, level AA (available at w3.org), or by being made available in hard copy without charge, on request
- Open access requirements will be considered when documents are created by all CIT staff.
Information CIT will publish
CIT will proactively publish the following categories of information unless it is assessed as being contrary to the public interest information:
- Functional information - including CIT’s organisational chart, who we are, what we do, our values and information about our employment conditions, including the current enterprise agreements
- Documents tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly, including our annual reports
- Other reports, including submissions
- Policy documents, including strategies that inform how we do our work, and procedures followed by CIT
- CIT disclosure log
- Budget papers
- Information about government grants
- Statements regarding bodies that advise CIT
- Ministerial briefs more than five years old
- Agency undertakings
- Information declared by the ACT Ombudsman to be open access information
- Information prescribed by legislation
What information CIT will not release?
Information will not be published by CIT where it is contrary to the public interest information, as defined in section 16 of the FOI Act. Such information could include policy documents comprising of law enforcement information that is assessed as being contrary to the public interest (for example, where the information, if disclosed, could prejudice a current investigation or law enforcement methodology or procedures).
If CIT is considering not publishing a document, the CIT Information Officer with support of the relevant CIT business area, must assess whether the information is contrary to the public interest to disclose, considering the FOI Act and the best practice approaches outlined in the ACT Ombudsman FOI guidelines.
If a single document includes both open access information and contrary to the public interest information, CIT will, as far as practicable, make the open access information publicly available, with the contrary to the public interest information redacted.
When a decision has been made by CIT not to publish information, CIT will instead:
- publish a description of the information
- detail why the information is contrary to the public interest
- include a statement outlining review rights
This will apply to documents not released in full, or only released in part.
How CIT will assess information for release?
CIT will proactively identify and assess information that can be published on the CIT website.
When producing a document relevant to the work of CIT, the author creating the document should do so in a format and style appropriate for publication as open access information.
Staff awareness and senior executive commitment
This strategy and our approach to open access will be communicated to existing staff via staff induction training, the Intranet and other appropriate internal communication channels. The CIT senior executive are committed to open access and will communicate their commitment to staff.
Where and how will CIT publish open access information?
Open access information will be published on the CIT website and the ACT Government Open Access Information Portal and will comply with the web content accessibility guidelines. The public will also be able to contact CIT to request hard copies of open access information.
How CIT will keep information up-to-date?
Open access information published on our website will be reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure it remains current, with more regular updates made to functional information where required. Relevant policies, procedures and guidelines created and updated by CIT will also be published as they are reviewed and approved, as will documents tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
The CIT disclosure log will also be updated as access applications are decided by CIT.
Approved by: CIT Information Officer
(Executive Director, CIT Corporate Services)
Date: 30 September 2020