Some applications by their nature are considered formal requests for information. These typically include:
- information that relates to a third party who must be consulted
- information that is subject to legal professional privilege
- information that relates to a third party business that must be consulted
- information that relates to an investigation carried out by council
- large volumes of information that involves extensive search
- information which could not be provided informally
- you have previously been refused information
- the material is sensitive in nature and requires careful balancing of public interest considerations
The lodgement of a formal access to information application gives you a right to a review of the decision made by council.
Application and processing fees apply for formal requests.
Council is required to deal with a Formal Access Application within 20 working days of its receipt. This time may be extended by 10 - 15 days if Council is required to consult with third parties.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision made by Council in a Formal Access Application, you have a right of appeal. There are three avenues of appeal - internal review, Information Commissioner review and external review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
You can apply to the Council for an internal review. This is a review by someone more senior than the original decision maker and there is a $40 fee. You have 20 working days from receiving notice of a decision to ask for an internal review.
Review by the Information Commissioner:
If you are not satisfied with the internal review, or do not want one, you can ask for a review by the Information Commissioner. You have eight weeks from being notified of a decision to ask for this review.
Review at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal:
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner or the internal reviewer or if you do not want to take these options, you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). If you have already had a review by the Information Commissioner, you have four weeks from notification of the decision to make this application. If you haven’t had a review by the Information Commissioner, you have eight weeks from notification of the decision to make this application.