Oversight bodies

Presentation

An oversight institution refers to the body charged with ensuring Oversight and therefore accountability for the implementation of Access to Information. The same body or another may also do appeals, although appeals is a distinct function from oversight and are sometimes done by a separate body. This is why some countries, there exists more than one oversight institution, depending on the different tasks performed.

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Oversight bodies
The oversight function can be exercised by the following institutions:
- Information Commission/ Commissioner;
- Data Protection or Privacy Commission / Commissioner
- Human Rights Commission
- Ombudsman/Department/ Ministry/ Agency
Access to Information Guarantor
The access to information guarantor undertakes the role of monitoring and controlling the implementation and enforcement of existing access to information laws. It shall report back and judge requests for information in adherence with international standards.
Guarantors may take the form of a specific and dedicated body or grouping such as a network of information commissioners, ombudsman, human rights commission, within a department, ministry, etc.
Roles of dedicated Access to Information oversight bodies
Dedicated access to information bodies can exercise the following roles:
- Oversight (legal responsibility to ensure implementation of the guarantee)
- Appeals
- Monitoring of Access to Information implementation
- Enforcement of compliance with Access to Information legal guarantee
- Mediation
Need of Dedicated Oversight Institution
An oversight institution is a body charged with ensuring oversight and therefore accountability for the implementation of Access to Information. The same body or another may also do appeals, although appeals is a distinct function from oversight and are sometimes done by a separate body. This is why some countries, there exists more than one oversight institution, depending on the different tasks performed.
Head of the oversight institutions
Oversight institutions are to be independent. Depending on countries legislation, they may be subject to different forms of external oversight of an administrative or judicial nature.