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New website makes ICO’s work more transparent: Information Commissioner

Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Information Commissioner’s website has been redesigned in collaboration with international commissioners.

Enhancements to the site include better search functionalities within decisions and public authorities’ listings and the inclusion of a specific page on how to make Public Access to Information requests.

Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, said: “The Pati Act offers a promise to Bermudians and residents of more transparency from public authorities and raises expectations about their openness and accountability.

“To fulfil this promise, public sector leadership should embrace a culture of transparency and readily place more information in the public domain.

“The idea of ‘transparency by design’ embraces the culture shift within the public sector that was furthered by the Pati Act. In a culture of transparency, increased public disclosure of public authorities’ activities, decisions and policies is the goal. The public sector should be creating and managing information to support this openness.

“The ICO’s redesigned website seeks to model this approach to transparency for the benefit of the public and public authorities.”

The website makes additional documents publicly available that disclose the ICO’s management of public funds and its works.

Additional documents available:

ICO’s Pati disclosure log (without Pati requesters’ identities)

Meeting minutes from ICO staff meetings

Information Commissioner’s business credit card statements

Unaudited quarterly expenditure reports

ICO salary scales

Other finance, governance and administrative records.

The redesign is a result of work with the International Conference of Information Commissioners.

Ms Gutierrez added: “A priority for the ICO is to ensure that our experience with the ICIC serves to benefit the public and public authorities in Bermuda. Our website redesign is a local application of international best practices when it comes to public access to information.

“It demonstrates in a concrete way how public authorities can proactively embrace the idea of transparency by design.

“For example, to support accountability for public expenditures, we now publish the ICO’s corporate credit card statements, which are paid from the Government’s Consolidated Fund.

“Publishing government credit card statements has long been a practice of public authorities in other jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands and the UK, and is a practice the ICO has now adopted.

“The international trend towards transparency by design is consistent with the culture shift seen in Bermuda’s public authorities. The Government’s public sector reform initiatives have sought to improve information management and to increase trust between the public sector and the public,

“The ICO also joins other public authorities in Bermuda who are demonstrating a culture of openness, for example, by publishing their meeting minutes on their websites. The Information Commissioner’s annual reports highlight other examples of the broad scope of information that public authorities are voluntarily disclosing.

“The ICO is pleased to recognise that a culture of transparency by design already has a strong foothold in Bermuda and will inevitably continue to grow among public authorities.”

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Published July 20, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated July 20, 2022 at 7:50 am)

New website makes ICO’s work more transparent: Information Commissioner

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