First generation access to information laws are limited but nonetheless a means of testing for and obtaining information from governments.
Getting results requires a strong will, curiosity and skills. Agency fees can vary and service too dependent with which department and jurisdiction you deal.
Stages of Access
The access process is unduly complicated but normally consists of four stages that I would be undertaking for you.
Stage One - The Framing Period
This is the key period where you determine what you want. It is important to spend the time drafting and discussing your request.
Stage Two - The Waiting/Watchdog Period
Just what is happening to your application? It pays to keep on top of time deadlines, check out fee estimates and negotiate for a better response.
Stage Three - The Review Period
You now have the response - analyse it for content, exemptions, authenticity.
Stage Four - The Follow-up/Use Period
File any complaints or appeals or further information requests if necessary. Assess how best to make use of the data received. Note departmental inconsistencies and share problems you encountered with others.
Next: The FOI Workshop