Freedom of information access comes at a cost. In 2011-12 financial year the estimated costs of administering the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA) was reported to be $10.4 million (The Hon I.K.Hunter- Hansard 16/10/14). Records indicate 85% of Freedom of Information requests are released in full or partially released.
In 2014 SA Police released Expiation Notice System Data as open data on Data.SA.
Freedom of Information requests are received for expiation data from Members of Parliament and the media. In 2014 it became clear that the volume of requests were rising. These requests were often received at different times, requiring variations of the same data and significant time and resources expended to process individual requests.
The landscape has moved since the data was published. In the first six months of 2014/2015, 31% of expiation data requests have been diverted directly to the Data.SA website.
Moreover, recent evidence indicates major media users now understand datasets and are willing to manage data extraction themselves, and it is hoped there will be further reduction in applications moving forward.
This will create a more informed community, as already demonstrated by several independent evidence based news articles, using government data to demonstrate Road Safety action by our police service.
Benefits to the Government of South Australia has be realised through a reduction in FOI requests, particularly as data is being refreshed quarterly and requestors can be directed to the published data.
We look forward to seeing the proactive release of FOI data from other agencies in the future.
Read a related story on how open data is being used: ‘Why Police booked cyclists 22,000 times in the last four years’.