INFOTECH: Cape Town Best For Access To Information
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town has been rated the best municipality for the second consecutive year for its access to information policies and practices at the 2010 Golden Key Awards.
The awards stem from a collaboration between the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The awards acknowledge best practices by public institutions which promote openness, responsiveness and information-sharing in South Africa through the implementation of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
A total of 82 institutions were sampled this year, of which 26 responded to the requests. Eight out of 34 municipalities responded at the local government level. The City of Cape Town won two awards: Best Municipality for Openness and Responsiveness and Best Deputy Information Officer.
The City of Cape Town was commended for outstanding work in putting the necessary mechanisms in place to promote openness and responsiveness within the establishment. The City was further recognised for its ‘sterling work in going beyond the call of duty in implementing PAIA and putting other mechanisms in place that not only influence the implementation of PAIA, but also influence the responsiveness and openness of other municipalities in South Africa as well.’
The entrants were assessed according to four criteria:
· The institution’s roadmap, which refers to its process for submitting a request for information. The roadmap should be published in the government directory, displayed on the institution’s website, and be available at the institution’s front office.
· Records management, which refers to the way records are generated, organised and stored. A system must be in place which ensures that all records held by the institution are well documented and organised so that they can be easily identified when a request for information is received.
· Internal mechanisms, which reveal how well an institution puts into operation the provisions set out in the PAIA. This includes procedures for documenting requests, processing requests on time, assisting requestors and voluntary publishing of records.
· Resources, which refers to the human and financial resources allocated to implementation of the PAIA and the institution’s commitment towards enabling staff to promote the right to know.
The City is required by law to respond to all requests for information within 30 days. In 2009/2010 the City processed 197 requests for information.
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