What's the best way to pass ideas to government agencies?

By Stephen Easton

May 19, 2016

The New South Wales Information and Privacy Commission wants to help the state’s residents have more input into how government agencies go about their functions.

In a kind of meta-consultation, the IPC says it “wants to hear about the best ways to engage with NSW government agencies on the formulation of agency policies and the exercise of agency functions” through the Your Say IPC website.

NSW residents are asked to provide their views on “how best to participate in the development of policy and services by local councils, NSW government agencies, universities, and state-owned corporations”

Feedback will be accepted up until the end of May through several different options: quick polls, a short survey, and a “brainstormer” tool where new ideas can be submitted and voted up or down. Anyone who wants to take part must register on the site, but an email address is all that is required.

All comments will be considered, subject to moderation, which will be jointly handled by digital engagement firm Bang the Table and the IPC. An FAQ explains:

“The moderators do not edit or alter any published comments and will remove comments deemed to be significantly off topic, offensive or malicious … “

Draft reference guides could make GIPA requests easier

The IPC is also running a separate and far simpler consultation process until May 27 on two new draft fact sheets, which are aimed at the general public but could also help public servants responding to information requests under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

The first of the handy reference documents covers: what constitutes an offence under the GIPA Act, the investigative role of the Information Commissioner; and the process for referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The second explains the thresholds required to apply for a restraint order under the GIPA Act as well as “the authority flowing from the decisions and how this can benefit agencies and the public”.

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