The redesigned ICO website will go live on Friday
The Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] announced that its redesigned website, ico.bm, will go live on Friday [July 15].
A spokesperson said: “The ICO website continues to include Information Commissioner rulings, public authority disclosure statements, ICO guidelines, policies and procedures, working dashboards and other ICO publications and information. Improvements include better search functionality in decisions and lists of public authorities. The redesigned website also includes a specific web page on how to apply for PATI, in a more accessible format for the public.
“Public Access to Information [PATI] The law promises Bermudians and residents greater transparency from public authorities and raises expectations of their openness and accountability. To deliver on this promise, public sector leaders must embrace a culture of transparency and easily place more information in the public domain,” explained Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez.
“The idea of ’transparency by design’ embraces the culture change within the public sector that has been fostered by the PATI law. In a culture of transparency, the goal is to increase public disclosure of government activities, decisions and policies. The public sector should create and manage information to support this openness. The redesigned ICO website aims to model this approach to transparency for the benefit of the public and public authorities”.
A spokesperson added: “The redesigned website models transparency by design by making additional materials available to the public that shed light on the ICO’s management of public funds and its work. The website now includes:
- ICO PATI Disclosure Log [without PATI requesters’ identities],
- Minutes of ICO staff meetings,
- Corporate credit card statements from the Information Commissioner,
- Quarterly unaudited expense reports,
- Other financial, governance and administrative documents.
“This redesign is a direct result of ICO’s work with the International Conference of Information Commissioners [ICIC]. In addition to serving on the ICIC Executive Committee, the Bermuda ICO is a member of the ICIC Transparency by Design Working Group.
“The task force aims to advance global knowledge and understanding of the principles that underpin the culture of ‘transparency by design’ and establish agreement among Information Commissioners.
“The task force will collate and compare the experiences of ICIC members with the current attitudes of their governments and public authorities toward proactive disclosures, as well as making more data and general information available to the public. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a guidance document with best practices for adoption at the 2023 ICIC Conference. The working group is currently comprised of information commissioners from:
- Brazil – Office of the Comptroller General of the Union [Co-chair]
- Albania – Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner
- Bermuda – Office of the Information Commissioner
- Canada [Ontario] – Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
- Hungary – National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
- Mexico – Institute for Transparency, Access to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data
- Mexico [State of Mexico] – Institute for Transparency, Access to Public Information and Personal Data Protection of the State of Mexico and Municipalities [Infoem]
- Nepal – National Information Commission
- Philippines – Access to Information Program Management Office [FOI-PMO]
- South Africa – Information Regulator
- United Kingdom – Information Commissioner’s Office [Co-chair]
“A priority for the ICO is to ensure that our experience with the ICIC benefits the public and public authorities in Bermuda. Our website redesign is a local application of international best practices for public access This demonstrates in a concrete way how public authorities can proactively embrace the idea of transparency by design,” said Commissioner Gutierrez.
“For example, to support accountability for government spending, we now publish ICO corporate credit card statements, which are paid from the government’s Consolidated Fund. Publishing government credit card statements has long been a government practice in other jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands and the UK, and it is a practice that the ICO has now adopted.
“The international trend towards transparency by design is consistent with the culture change seen in Bermuda’s government. The government’s public sector reform initiatives have sought to improve information management and increase trust between the public sector and the public,” explained Commissioner Gutierrez.
“The ICO also joins other public authorities in Bermuda who demonstrate a culture of openness, for example by posting their meeting minutes on their websites. The Information Commissioner’s annual reports highlight other examples of the wide range of information that public authorities voluntarily disclose. The ICO is pleased to recognize that a culture of transparency by design is already well established in Bermuda and will inevitably continue to develop among public authorities.
“The ICO invites the public and public authorities to explore the new ICO website.”
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