Key questions for decision-makers to consider

A decision-maker should document the process of consideration and decision-making in reaching a decision.  A notice of decision should outline this process in a way that demonstrates how and why the decision was reached and is justified.  The following questions are relevant to making a good decision and documenting that decision in the notice of decision.

For each exemption claimed:
  • Have you clearly identified the documents or parts of documents in question?
  • Have you read and understood previous decisions made by the Information Commissioner that deal with the particular exemption and how it should be applied?
  • Does the claimed exemption contain several requirements that must be met for the document to be exempt?  Have you considered all aspects of the exemption clause?  Have you considered all the relevant limitations on the exemption?

If the exemption clause requires that a particular harm or consequence could follow from disclosure:
  • Have you described the expected consequence in detail?
  • Have you provided material to support your claim that the particular harm or consequence is one that can reasonably be expected?

If an exemption clause requires that a document be prepared for a specific purpose:
  • Have you described the document or the factual circumstances surrounding the creation of the document to establish that it was prepared for that purpose?

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Related information


OIC publications


Writing a notice of decision
FOI Coordinators Manual



Relevant sections of the FOI Act

Section 30