FOI Complaints and Reviews
Make a complaint about the FOI process
If you have a complaint about the process of obtaining government information from an agency or Minister, you can complain to the ACT Ombudsman. Complaints can include issues such as delays in processing FOI requests or FOI charges.
The Ombudsman will consider your concerns and may conduct an investigation into your complaint. More information about how we resolve complaints is available here.
To make an FOI complaint email us at: email@example.com or call (02) 5117 3650 (option 3). Our phone service operates from 10:00am to 4:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) Monday to Friday.
Ask for a review of your FOI decision
If you are not happy with the decision of an agency or a Minister, you can ask the Ombudsman to review the decision.
Please outline why you believe the decision on your access application was incorrect and what outcome you are seeking. You should include a copy of the decision-record and information provided to you, where available.
We recommend using this form Applying for an Ombudsman Review to ensure you provide all of the required information.
You can send your completed form and any supporting information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need help to submit a review application you can call (02) 5117 3650 (option 3). Our phone service operates from 10:00am to 4:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) Monday to Friday.
There is no fee for requesting an Ombudsman review.
Are there any time limits?
You must make an application for an Ombudsman review within 20 working days after the decision is published in the disclosure log.
In special circumstances, the Ombudsman has the discretion to allow an application for review to be made after the 20 working day period.
If you need to ask for an extension of time to submit a review application contact our team using the details above. Please include reasons why the Ombudsman should accept your application.
What will happen to my application?
When we receive your application, we will check:
- if it is a reviewable decision
- you are a person who can apply for review of the particular decision
- you have applied within the 20 working day timeframe, unless an extension was granted.
We will send you an acknowledgement with your review reference (example: AFOI-2023-12345). After our assessment, we consider if your matter could be resolved informally, suitable for mediation or we may decline to review the matter.
If your application proceeds to formal review, we will provide you with a draft consideration and invite you to make a submission. We will consider submissions from all participants before making a decision.
Review decisions are published on our website—see FOI Review decisions. Your name will not be included in the decision unless you give your consent.
More information about Ombudsman reviews can be found in our FOI Guideline 6 – Ombudsman reviews.
How long will it take?
When you ask us to review a freedom of information decision of an ACT government agency or minister, how long it takes will depend on the how complicated your matter is. We will update you regularly as we consider your review request.
In some cases, we can resolve your review request through informal resolution. We aim to do this within six weeks. About 30 per cent of review requests are finalised within six weeks.
Where a formal decision by the Ombudsman is required, your review request is expected to take 12 weeks to finalise. About 60 per cent of review requests are finalised within 12 weeks.
Some review requests are complicated and need to be carefully considered. These usually take up to six months, although a small number are even more complex and will take longer. A review request may also take longer to finalise where agencies take time to provide copies of relevant documents to enable a review to commence. Overall, 95 per cent of review requests should be finalised within six months.
If you are unhappy
If you are unhappy with the Ombudsman’s decision, you can apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) for review. Applications must be made within 20 working days after the Ombudsman’s decision, or within a longer period allowed by the ACAT.
More information is available on the ACAT website.