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Freedom of Information Act - The Ombudsman's Review

Ombudsman’s Review

A person who has been denied access to an official document can request a review of the merits of the public authority’s decision by the Ombudsman.  The complaint to the Ombudsman must be made in writing within twenty-one (21) days of the receipt of the public authority’s decision. The Complaint must also include a copy of the written notice from the public authority.  Upon receipt of the complaint the Ombudsman will review the reasons given by the public authority to determine legislative compliance with the provisions of the FOI Act.

The Ombudsman is authorized under the FOI Act to inspect all relevant materials including documents which are claimed to be exempt.

Government institutions/agencies are obliged under the law to provide all necessary assistance to the Ombudsman for the conduct of the review.

When conducting a review

The Ombudsman is authorized to:

  • require the department/agency to provide information and/or documents
  • require the conduct of further searches if the requested document cannot be located by the public authority

Ombudsman’s Decision

The Ombudsman after examining the relevant documents will make such recommendations as she thinks fit to the Permanent Secretary or Head of the Public Authority with respect to the grant of access to the document.

The Ombudsman’s recommendations will be made within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the complaint or as soon as practicable.