The FOI Commissioner can investigate complaints where:
- the agency decides a requested document does not exist or cannot be located;
- there is a delay by the agency in processing an FOI request; and
- there has been any other action taken or failed to be taken by an agency in performing its functions and obligations under the FOI Act.
The FOI Commissioner can investigate complaints about a Minister where:
- there is a delay by a Minister in dealing with an FOI request;
- there has been action taken or failed to be taken by a Minister in deferring access to a document under section 24 of the FOI Act.
- there has been action taken or failed to be taken by a Minister in deciding to disclose a document containing personal or commercial information, under sections 33 or 34 of the FOI Act.
A complaint to the FOI Commissioner must be made in writing and made within 60 days after the date of the action or conduct complained of.
The FOI Commissioner will deal with complaints in private.
The FOI Commissioner will resolve complaints informally, if it is possible to do so. Agencies and Ministers have an obligation to cooperate with the FOI Commissioner in relation to complaints made about them.
There is no statutory timeframe in the FOI Act to investigate a complaint.
The FOI Commissioner may decide to not accept or to dismiss a complaint at any time. The FOI Commissioner can also refer a complaint to a more appropriate person or body.
Complaints about our Office
The information in this section applies only to complaints we investigate, regarding agencies or Ministers subject to the FOI Act. Our Office is committed to providing a high level of service and takes your complaint seriously. All complaints are treated confidentially and will be dealt with fairly and as promptly as possible.
If you have a concern or complaint about our Office and the way we have performed our functions, or the services we have provided, please see the Feedback section of our website for further information.
Receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged in writing.
The FOI Commissioner will always be notified when you make a complaint about a member of our staff or the services we provide.
Only those persons within our Office who are required to investigate and resolve the complaint (for example, a senior member of staff), will be notified. If the complaint is about a senior member of staff, your complaint will be referred directly to the FOI Commissioner.
Our Office endeavours to resolve all complaints within a reasonable period of time, depending on the seriousness or complexity of your complaint. You will be kept informed of the progress of your complaint.