International Practice of Proactive Disclosure

News | Research | FIGHTING CORRUPTION | Publications 22 November 2014

Within the framework of the project, “Improving the Practice of Compliance with the Proactive Disclosure of Public Information Obligation by State Authorities of Georgia”, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) prepared case studies of three foreign countries (Australia, Canada, Italy), describing and analysing their experience of publication of public information online, on the websites of public institutions. In general, project aimed at assisting the governmental institutions of Georgia to effectively manage FOIA compliance, engaging civil society in monitoring implementation of FOIA provision and taking into consideration international practice in this direction.


It is worth mentioning that existence of the special section devoted to proactively disclosed information on official websites of public institutions is common practice for these countries. All major and crucial data and figures regarding public expenses could easily be found there. It contains various types of information such as annual reports, quarterly or annual performance and budget reports, travel and representative expenses, contracts, grants and contributions. In order to display comprehensive picture of each country in terms of provision of FOIA online, main findings are outlined below with regard to each target country.


In Australia, governmental institutions subject to the FOI Act are required to publish proactively particular information listed in Information Publication Scheme (IPS). Apart from data determined by the IPS, public organizations, as a rule, decide by themselves to release additional reports and figures according to the particularities of their profile. Generally, the following data are subject to proactive disclosure in this country:

• IPS plan;
• details of the structure of the department’s organisation;
• details of the functions of the department, including its decision making powers and other powers affecting members of the public;
• details of appointments of officers of the department that are made under Acts;
• information about the department’s annual reports – various reports are placed under the mentioned section, including annual performance reports, strategic plans, evaluation of particular projects implemented by the institution. Additionally, it contains the titles of the files created by public officials;
• details of arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals for which the department is responsible, including how, and to whom, those comments may be made – this section includes detailed information (procedures, rules of participation, submitted suggestions, final report) about organised public discussions;
• information about documents to which the department routinely gives access in response to requests – it is noteworthy that governmental institutions apart from providing citizens with requested public information, additionally, they publish any information accessed under FOI in the section “Disclosure Log”. It consists of a wide variety of significant data, such as, details about signed agreements, travel and representative/hospitality costs, transcripts, recordings and basic information about meetings attended by high officials, e-mail correspondence of high officials regarding particular issues, various types (for instance, electricity charges, expenditure on credit cards, service expenditure, mobile phone costs) of expenses of public institutions, audit reports, statistical data, grants, contributions, contracts, gifts;
• information held by the department that is routinely provided to the Parliament in response to requests and orders from the Parliament;
• the contact details of an officer who can be contacted about access to information and documents held by the department;
• the department’s “operational information” – that is, information held by the department for the purpose of performing or exercising its functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations affecting members of the public or a particular person or entity, or classes of persons or entities (for example, departmental rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to those decisions and recommendations).


In Canada, all major public institutions systematically publish and update various financial data and reports in the section “Transparency”. They usually release the following information:

• Travel and hospitality expenses of high officials – indicating the purpose, dates, and destination of travel, as well as type of transportation, expenses on meals and accommodation;
• Detailed information about contracts over $10 000 – showing vendor name, reference number, date, value and brief description of each contract;
• Information about position reclassifications – in order to ensure accountability of decisions regarding reclassification of occupied positions and at the same time, to observe efficiency and relevance of public institutions in this regard, publication of information concerning this policy is obligatory. In this case the following data are accessible regarding each case: position title, position number, reclassified position, reason for reclassification decision;
• Information about grants and contribution awards – displaying recipient name, location, date, value, type, purpose and comments for each grant or contribution;
• Information on founded wrongdoing – containing information about founded cases of misuse of public funds or public asset, gross mismanagement, serious breach of a code of conduct, act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger of the life, health or safety of persons, or to the environment, etc;
• Access to Information Act annual report – displaying the comprehensive data about the level of provision of FOI including number of received and complied requests, number of consultations held for complying requests, amount of fees collected, refunded and waived, scale of resources related to the Access of Information Act;
• Financial reports – quarterly financial reports evaluating and assessing performance, summarizing general expenditures and implemented projects of public institutions;
• Audit reports – covering the issues such as audit objective and scope, methodology, findings of the audit, collected and monitored data, recommendations, list of employees interviewed, key information reviewed, members of the audit team;
• Information about funding for advertising – showing the expenditures on advertisement and campaigns with the indication of the campaign name, description, duration, cost, purpose, type of media used and name of the service provider.


The Government Decree 20, December 2013 regulates online publication of significant information. It obliges public institutions to release various types of information, including:

• General provisions and legislative acts – for instance, regulations, normative acts regarding access to public information, action plan, program for transparency and integrity, agreements signed with various organizations and actors;
• Major details about organisation – containing detailed and comprehensive information not only about the institutions, but also about its high officials (biography, relative decree of appointment, commitments, travel, hospitality, communication and additional expenses, asset declaration, etc);
• Services provided by consultants – with the indication of name, position, biography of consultant, purpose, dates of consultation as well as compensation paid for the service;
• Important details about high officials – salaries, travel and hospitality expenses, contributions;
• Information about tenders and competitions – In case of the ongoing and closed tenders, details about object, description, criteria, requirements, documentations, dates and expenses are available on governmental websites. With regard to competitions and vacancies, details about each selection stage (including successful and disregarded applicants and their respective scores) can be found;
• Performance reports – evaluating projects and programs implemented by public institutions;
• Details about subordinated institutions – indicating names, websites, budget, responsibilities and scope of their operation;
• Activities and procedures – containing information and forms necessary for communication with governmental bodies;
• Regulations and acts related to various procedures;
• Information about grants, contributions and economic benefits – displaying the name of beneficiary, reference number, purpose and amount of grant/contribution;
• Budget and other financial reports;
• Information about property and asset management – containing detailed information (location, usage status) about real estate;
• Audit reports evaluating the level of performance, financial effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions;
• Payment administration – showing general information about payment policy of each public information, as well as providing data (invoice, payment date and amount) about particular payments;
• Other information, such as, gifts received by high officials, guidelines on corruption and transparency.

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