Report tabled on Victoria’s oversight agencies

Oversight

The Accountability & Oversight Committee has presented its second report to parliament on the annual reports of Victorian oversight agencies.

It contains eight recommendations to the Victorian Government covering the Ombudsman, Freedom of Information (FOI) Commissioner and Victorian Inspectorate.

“This report aims to strengthen the Victorian integrity regime by identifying areas that work well and aspects that need attention,” said Committee Chair Neil Angus.

“A key bipartisan Committee in Victoria’s integrity system, this report will help ensure these three key oversight agencies continue to uphold the highest standards of performance and accountability in the interests of the Victorian public,” he said.

The recommendations include:

  • allowing complaints and referrals to the Ombudsman’s office to be made by means other than in writing;
  • developing a seamless ‘one-stop shop’ framework to provide a single point of entry for people seeking to make a complaint about a public body;
  • reviewing legislative requirements relating to protected disclosures cases in the Ombudsman Act 1973;
  • ensuring more detailed reporting on the time taken by the FOI Commissioner to undertake FOI reviews;
  • calling for greater transparency, with the FOI Commissioner’s financial statements to be included in the annual report; and
  • supporting the continuation of the FOI Practitioners Forum and the development of training in Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques relating to FOI requests.

 

The report, which focuses on issues raised in the last financial year, is available from the Committee’s website.

Developments during 2014–15 will be the subject of the next Committee report expected to be tabled in parliament later in 2015.

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