- Governments are increasingly outsourcing services and using technology, including machine learning, to assist decision making.
- The case example outlined in this article illustrates some of the issues that can emerge, and the way in which the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 can be applied in response.
- In this ‘Information Awareness Month’, the NSW Information and Privacy Commission urges government agencies and lawyers to be vigilant, and to positively promote transparency and accountability in accordance with our right to information under the Act.
Globally, there have been epic changes in the way that governments make decisions and deliver services. The new government paradigm is characterised by digital government and data application, increasing partnerships and outsourcing arrangements, and new models of government.
The increasing adoption of technology demands the preservation, assurance and assertion of information access rights. To achieve these outcomes, government licensing and contractual arrangements should ensure accessibility and ‘explainability’ in the provision of government services and decision making.
The NSW Information Commissioner urges government agencies to ask three key questions when entering into these new arrangements:
- Who holds the information?
- In what form is it held?
- How will access be provided?
This case study explores these questions and highlights the need for vigilance to promote transparency and accountability by government. The case demonstrates the importance of robust independent oversight to re-evaluate information access rights and safeguard those rights under this new paradigm.