Freedom of Information, Privacy Protection & Public Interest Disclosures in the Northern Territory : annual report 2011-2012
Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report 2011 - 12
Northern Territory. Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures
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Northern Territory Government
Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report; Annual Report
Office of the Information Commissioner
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Northern Territory Government
Page 14 2.5.4. Referral of investigations to other bodies Section 22 of the Act allows the Commissioner, when it is deemed appropriate to do so, to refer public interest disclosures to the Ombudsman, the AuditorGeneral, the Commissioner for Public Employment, the Commissioner of Police, the Childrens Commissioner or NT WorkSafe. The referral process is only undertaken after the discloser has been advised of the referral and has had his or her comments considered by the Commissioner. Once referred, the referral body exercises its own powers of investigation and the Act no longer applies to the referred investigation. The discloser however, retains his or her protections under the Act. Throughout the reporting period, the Commissioner formally referred the following: 1 matter to the Childrens Commissioner; and 3 matters to the Commissioner for Public Employment. Allegations received at the preliminary stage that were not determined to be public interest disclosures but were still considered important enough to require investigation, were referred to the Chief Executive of the public body in question or another appropriate body for investigation. This step is only taken with the disclosers consent. In such circumstances, this office liaises with the discloser and the Chief Executive, or the appropriate investigating authority, to facilitate the referral of the complaint. 2.5.5. Public interest disclosures not investigated The assessment stage of any complaint is an important one. Some disclosure complaints can be quickly dealt with if, for example, they clearly fall outside the jurisdiction of the Office. Many others however take considerable work before a decision can be made as to whether or not they should be investigated. Of the 32 disclosures ultimately rejected by the Commissioner: 59% were assessed as not involving improper conduct as defined by the Act; 13% were unable to be assessed due to insufficient information being provided or obtainable; 13% had already been adequately investigated; 9% were assessed as personal or employment related grievances; 3% were assessed as allegations about policy decisions of a public body or public officer that they were entitled to make; and 3% were outside the jurisdiction of this Office as the alleged improper conduct did not concern a public officer or public body. These figures appear in a graph over the page.
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