Country

Lithuania

Lithuania

Name of law : Republic of Lithuania Law on the Provision of Information to the Public
First adopted : 1996

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 5
Scope 30 24
Requesting procedures 30 18
Exceptions 30 11
Appeals 30 6
Sanctions 8 0
Promotional measures 16 0
TOTAL 150 64

Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
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Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES Article 25 of Lithuania's 1992 Constitution states "The citizen shall have the right to receive, according to the procedure established by law, any information concerning him that is held by State institutions." Link to the Constitution of Lithuania (English version): http://www3.lrs.lt/home/Konstitucija/Constitution.htm
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Article 3. Basic Principles of Provision of Information to the Public "1. Freedom of information embedded in the Constitution, this Law and other laws and treaties of the Republic of Lithuania shall be guaranteed in the Republic of Lithuania. <...>" Article 4. Freedom of Information "1. Every person shall have the right to freely express his ideas and convictions and to collect, obtain and disseminate information and ideas. The right to collect, obtain and disseminate information may not be restricted otherwise than under the law where it is necessary to protect the constitutional system, a person’s health, honour, dignity, private life and morality."
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 Partially Article 3. Basic Principles of Provision of Information to the Public "1. Freedom of information embedded in the Constitution, this Law and other laws and treaties of the Republic of Lithuania shall be guaranteed in the Republic of Lithuania. 2. Producers and disseminators of public information as well as journalists and publishers in their activities shall be governed by the Constitution, laws and treaties of the Republic of Lithuania, also by the principles of humanism, equality, tolerance and respect for every human being; they shall respect freedom of speech, creativity, religion and conscience, and the diversity of opinion, adhere to the norms of professional ethics and the provisions of the Code of Ethics of Lithuanian Journalists and Publishers, contribute to the development of democracy and public openness, promote civil society and state progress, enhance the state independence and nurture the state language, national culture and morality. 3. Public information must be presented in the media in a fair, accurate and impartial manner. 4. The enjoyment of freedom of information may be restricted by the requirements, conditions, restrictions or penalties which are laid down in laws and are necessary in a democratic society to protect Lithuania’s state security, its territorial integrity, public order and constitutional system, to guarantee the impartiality of its judicial authority with a view to preventing violations of law and crimes and disclosure of confidential information, and to protect public health and morality as well as their private life, dignity and other rights."




Scope

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MAX score
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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Article 2. Principal Concepts of this Law "<...> 9. “Person” means a natural or legal person and branches of enterprises established in the Member States of the European Union and the states of the European Economic Area located in the Republic of Lithuania. <...>" Article 4. Freedom of Information "1. Every person shall have the right to freely express his ideas and convictions and to collect, obtain and disseminate information and ideas. The right to collect, obtain and disseminate information may not be restricted otherwise than under the law where it is necessary to protect the constitutional system, a person’s health, honour, dignity, private life and morality. <...>"
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Article 2. “<...> 37. "Official documents of state and municipal institutions and agencies” means written, graphic, audio, computer information or other documents relating to the activities of state and municipal institutions, enterprises and agencies and persons authorised by the State produced, approved or received by them in the course of exercising the powers established by regulations which are entered in the records of documents of the said institutions, enterprises and agencies.<...>"
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Article.2 The definition of documents is comprehensive and refers to both information and documents.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Article 1. Purpose of the Law "1. This Law shall establish the procedure for collecting, producing, publishing and disseminating public information and the rights, duties and liability of producers and disseminators of public information, their participants, journalists and institutions regulating their activities. 2. This Law shall implement the legal acts of the European Union listed in the Annex to this Law." ALL state and municipal authorities are obliged to provide information to the requesters (minus the exceptions), it does not matter whether they perform executive or legislative functions. The exceptions to this rule are laid out in Art. 1 of this law and contain such bodies like museums, theaters, national radio etc. They same goes for judicial branch.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 1. Purpose of the Law "1. This Law shall establish the procedure for collecting, producing, publishing and disseminating public information and the rights, duties and liability of producers and disseminators of public information, their participants, journalists and institutions regulating their activities. 2. This Law shall implement the legal acts of the European Union listed in the Annex to this Law." ALL state and municipal authorities are obliged to provide information to the requesters (minus the exceptions), it does not matter whether they perform executive or legislative functions. The exceptions to this rule are laid out in Art. 1 of this law and contain such bodies like museums, theaters, national radio etc. They same goes for judicial branch
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 1. Purpose of the Law "1. This Law shall establish the procedure for collecting, producing, publishing and disseminating public information and the rights, duties and liability of producers and disseminators of public information, their participants, journalists and institutions regulating their activities. 2. This Law shall implement the legal acts of the European Union listed in the Annex to this Law." ALL state and municipal authorities are obliged to provide information to the requesters (minus the exceptions), it does not matter whether they perform executive or legislative functions. The exceptions to this rule are laid out in Art. 1 of this law and contain such bodies like museums, theaters, national radio etc. They same goes for judicial branch
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 NO Not mentioned.
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 NO Not mentioned.
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 NO Not mentioned.

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 Partially Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Right to Obtain Information From State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies Article 12. Submitting a Request "1. In order to obtain information from an institution, an applicant shall submit a request. The request shall indicate the type of information or document requested by the applicant, the applicant’s name, surname, place of residence (where the applicant is a natural person) or the name, company number, head office address (where the applicant is a legal person) and contact details. If information is requested by the representative of the applicant, the request shall indicate the name, surname and address of the representative, the document confirming representation and the applicant for whom the request is made. The request form shall be published on the website of the institution.<...>"
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Right to Obtain Information From State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies Article 12. Submitting a Request "<...> 2. Requests may be immediately submitted by an applicant at the institution or sent by post, courier service or electronic means provided that it is possible to identify the applicant. Requests, except oral, shall be registered, processed and recorded according to the procedure established by laws and other legal acts.<...>"
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 Partially Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 4. Information for the production whereof the accumulation of additional data is not required shall be provided to the producers and/or disseminators of public information and journalists not later than within one working day, whereas information for the production whereof additional data has to be accumulated shall be provided not later than within one week. 5. State and municipal institutions and agencies as well as other budgetary institutions which have refused to provide public information to the producer of public information must, not later than on the following working day, notify the producer in writing of the reasons for refusal to provide the information. <...>"
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 NO Not mentioned.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 YES Article 13. Forwarding Requests "1. If information requested is available to another institution, the request shall be forwarded to another competent institution not later than within 5 working days of the receipt of the request, and the applicant shall be informed thereof within 3 working days of the forwarding of the request. The institution that receives the forwarded request shall provide the applicant with information within the period defined in Article 14 of this Law. If the applicant refers to an institution orally, the institution shall immediately notify the applicant and inform the applicant of the institution, including its contact details, which should be addressed in relation to the requested information. <...>" Government Decree No. 875 (22-08-2007) para.27 provides that such receipts are only provided upon a request to provide it. If the requester asks for such a receipt, it must be provided initially or in no more than 2 days in cases where the request was filed via mail.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES The Law on Obtaining Information from State and Municipal Authorities , Art. 13 clearly provides for the procedure. If the institution does not have the requested information, it must refer the request to another institution and inform the requester about this.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 NO Not mentioned.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 4. Information for the production whereof the accumulation of additional data is not required shall be provided to the producers and/or disseminators of public information and journalists not later than within one working day, whereas information for the production whereof additional data has to be accumulated shall be provided not later than within one week. <...>"
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 4. Information for the production whereof the accumulation of additional data is not required shall be provided to the producers and/or disseminators of public information and journalists not later than within one working day, whereas information for the production whereof additional data has to be accumulated shall be provided not later than within one week. <...>" no later than one week
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 YES Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 4. Information for the production whereof the accumulation of additional data is not required shall be provided to the producers and/or disseminators of public information and journalists not later than within one working day, whereas information for the production whereof additional data has to be accumulated shall be provided not later than within one week. <...>"
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 6. Public information relating to state and municipal institutions and agencies shall be free of charge. These agencies may charge a fee only for the services involving retrieval of the provided information and duplication (copying) of information or documents. The fee may not exceed the actual costs of the provision of information. <...>"
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 YES Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 6. Public information relating to state and municipal institutions and agencies shall be free of charge. These agencies may charge a fee only for the services involving retrieval of the provided information and duplication (copying) of information or documents. The fee may not exceed the actual costs of the provision of information. <...>"
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 Partially Article 3. Basic Principles of Provision of Information to the Public "<...> 4. The enjoyment of freedom of information may be restricted by the requirements, conditions, restrictions or penalties which are laid down in laws and are necessary in a democratic society to protect Lithuania’s state security, its territorial integrity, public order and constitutional system, to guarantee the impartiality of its judicial authority with a view to preventing violations of law and crimes and disclosure of confidential information, and to protect public health and morality as well as their private life, dignity and other rights."
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially Article 19. Information Not to Be Published "1. It shall be prohibited to publish in the media information which: 1) incites to change the constitutional order of the Republic of Lithuania through the use of force; 2) instigates attempts against the sovereignty of the Republic of Lithuania, its territorial integrity and political independence; 3) instigates war or hatred, ridicule, humiliation, instigates discrimination, violence, physical violent treatment of a group of people or a person belonging thereto on grounds of age, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, race, nationality, citizenship, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, views or religion; 4) disseminates, promotes or advertises pornography also propagates and/or advertises sexual services and paraphilias; 5) promotes and/or advertises addictions and narcotic or psychotropic substances. 2. It shall be prohibited to disseminate disinformation and information which is slanderous and offensive to a person or which degrades his honour and dignity. 3. It shall be prohibited to disseminate information which violates the presumption of innocence and which impedes the impartiality of judicial authorities. 4. The Government shall establish the procedure for dissemination of press publications, audio, audiovisual works, radio and television programmes, information disseminated in the information society media and other public information assigned to information of erotic, pornographic or violent nature or other restricted public information. " Extra exceptions: state, official, professional, commercial or bank secret and statistical data protection
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 NO Not mentioned.
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 NO Not mentioned.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 NO Not mentioned.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO Not mentioned.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 NO Not mentioned.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 Partially Article 6. Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies "<...> 5. State and municipal institutions and agencies as well as other budgetary institutions which have refused to provide public information to the producer of public information must, not later than on the following working day, notify the producer in writing of the reasons for refusal to provide the information. <...>" The institution must motivate the answer but does not have to inform about appeals


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES Article 11. Right to Protect Freedom of Information "1. Every person shall have the right to appeal in court against the decisions and actions of state and municipal institutions and agencies as well as officials should they violate or unlawfully restrict a person’s right to obtain, collect or disseminate information. 2. It shall be prohibited to persecute a producer or disseminator of public information, their participant or a journalist for the information published if there has been no violation of law in the course of production and dissemination thereof." Appealing to the administrative dispute commission - either the Municipality Administrative Dispute Commission or the Chief Administrative Dispute Commission - is considered to be an optional pre-trial procedure.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Ombudsman, the term for filing complaints to the Seimas Ombudsman is one year from the commission of the act complained about or adoption of the contested decision.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 NO Not mentioned.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 NO Not mentioned.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 NO Not mentioned.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 NO Not mentioned.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 NO Not mentioned.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 NO Not mentioned.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 NO Not mentioned.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 NO Not mentioned.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 NO Not mentioned.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES Article 11. Right to Protect Freedom of Information "1. Every person shall have the right to appeal in court against the decisions and actions of state and municipal institutions and agencies as well as officials should they violate or unlawfully restrict a person’s right to obtain, collect or disseminate information. 2. It shall be prohibited to persecute a producer or disseminator of public information, their participant or a journalist for the information published if there has been no violation of law in the course of production and dissemination thereof."
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 NO Not mentioned.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 NO Not mentioned.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 NO Not mentioned.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 NO Not mentioned.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 NO Not mentioned.


Promotional measures

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54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.