Case number: OIC-133942-J4C6P9
30 May 2023
On 1 June 2022, the applicant made an FOI request to RTÉ on behalf of the National Union of Journalists, RTÉ Current Affairs Chapel, seeking access to “A copy of the report prepared by Resolve Ireland for RTÉ Human Resources which has been referred to as both a “temperature check” and a “culture audit”. The report was carried out on the basis of field work conducted in late 2021.” In a decision dated 10 June 2022, RTÉ refused access to the report under sections 29(1)(a)/(b), 30(1)(a)/(b), 35(1)(a) and 37(1) of the FOI Act. On 12 July 2022, the applicant requested an internal review of RTÉ’s decision. On 27 July 2022, RTÉ affirmed its original decision. On 12 January 2023, the applicant applied to this Office for a review of RTÉ’s decision.
I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the applicant and RTÉ as set out above, and to the submissions made by the applicant and by RTÉ. I have also had regard to the contents of the record at issue and to the provisions of the FOI Act. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.
The scope of this review is confined to whether RTÉ was justified in its decision to refuse access to the report under sections 29(1)(a)/(b), 30(1)(a)/(b), 35(1)(a) and 37(1) of the FOI Act.
Section 13(4) of the Act provides that, subject to the Act, in deciding whether to grant or refuse an FOI request, any reason that the requester gives for the request and any belief or opinion of the FOI body as to the reasons for the request shall be disregarded. Thus, while certain provisions of the Act implicitly render the motive of the requester relevant, as a general rule, the actual or perceived reasons for a request must be disregarded in deciding whether to grant or refuse an access request under the FOI Act.
Although I am obliged to give reasons for my decision, section 25(3) requires all reasonable precautions to be taken in the course of a review to prevent disclosure of information contained in an exempt record. This means that the description which I can give of the record at issue and the material that I can refer to in the analysis is limited. Finally, the release of a record under the FOI Act is understood, effectively, to be equivalent to its release to the world at large.
As noted above, I am limited in the description of the report that I can provide. However, I believe it would be useful to provide some high level detail in respect of the background to the report and the report itself.
In 2021 RTÉ engaged Resolve Ireland to undertake a review of the nature of the culture and working relationships within its Current Affairs Unit. On 10 November 2021, the Director of HR emailed staff to inform them of the review and that “this process will focus on what you have to say about your working environment across a range of topics, including communication, teamwork, standards of dignity and respect, problem resolution and support. We want to understand what’s working well within your area and where there are opportunities for improvement and/or change… The outcome of the process will be shared with you.” On 15 November 2021, a consultant from Resolve Ireland sent a follow-up email to staff advising them that she would like to meet them individually to get their views. RTÉ states that forty-five members of the Unit, representing 88% of staff, engaged with the process.
RTÉ states that Resolve Ireland issued a report solely to the Director of Human Resources which was marked ‘strictly private and confidential - not to be copied or circulated.’ The report states “the decision to instigate this review was taken in conjunction with the widespread focus by RTÉ on raising awareness amongst employees of the dignity at work standards required by all those working with the organisation. The aim of this review was to get feedback, through these confidential meetings, of people’s perceptions and experiences of their working environment.” The report contains five sections: review timeline; background to the review; central themes; conclusions and recommendations. The emails to staff dated 10 and 15 November 2021, are contained in appendices 1 and 2 to the report. RTÉ states that on 18 May 2022, a meeting took place between staff in the Current Affairs Unit and the Director of Human Resources and other managers in the Current Affairs Unit. RTÉ states that it shared the outcome of the process with staff at this meeting and staff were given an opportunity to ask questions.
Section 37 Personal Information
Having regard to the content of the report and the submissions of the parties, in my view it is appropriate to consider sections 37 and 35 of the FOI Act first. Section 37(1) of the FOI Act provides for the mandatory refusal of a request where access to the record sought would involve the disclosure of personal information relating to an individual other than the requester. Section 2 of the Act defines "personal information" as information about an identifiable individual that, either - (a) would, in the ordinary course of events, be known only to the individual or members of the family, or friends, of the individual, or (b) is held by an FOI body on the understanding that it would be treated by that body as confidential.
Section 2 of Act details fourteen specific categories of information that is personal without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing definition. These categories include (iii) information relating to the employment or employment history of the individual; (v) information relating to the individual in a record falling within section 11(6)(a) i.e. a 4 personnel record that is to say, a record relating wholly or mainly to one or more of the following, that is to say, the competence or ability of the individual in his or her capacity as a member of staff of an FOI body or his or her employment or employment history or an evaluation of the performance of his or her functions generally and (xiv) the views or opinions of another person about the individual.
The applicant states that the "temperature check" was undertaken to assess the performance of RTÉ with respect to its Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Policy. He states that it is natural that this would involve some discussion on how this is implemented by management. He contends that this is only information with respect to managers performing their roles as managers. He states that their performance, as position holders in a public body, is not personal information. He states that notwithstanding this point, where certain comments in the report may involve opinions about identifiable individuals, these limited cases can be dealt with by way of selective redactions.
RTÉ states that while individuals are not named in the report, nonetheless a number of people are identifiable by their job description/title in the report. RTÉ states that the report contains the views of others about those individuals. It states the exclusions to the definition of ‘personal information’ as set out in Section 2(I) do not apply in this case. It states that the exclusion, relates to the routine work of staff in public bodies and participation in this ‘temperature check’ was not part of the routine work by staff in the Current Affairs Unit.
I am satisfied, that the report contains a certain amount of information in relation to identifiable individuals. As the individuals concerned are staff members of an FOI body, section 2(I) is relevant. This paragraph excludes certain matters from the definition of "personal information", including the names of staff members of an FOI body or information relating to the position, the functions of the position, the terms upon and subject to which the individual holds or held that position, or anything written or recorded in any form by the individual in the course of and for the purpose of the performance of his or her functions.
The exclusion at section 2(I) does not provide for the exclusion of all information relating to staff members of FOI bodies. The exclusion is intended to ensure that section 37 will not be used to exempt the identity of a staff member of an FOI body in the context of the particular position held or any records created by the staff member while carrying out his or her official functions. The exclusion does not deprive public servants of the right to privacy generally. The Commissioner takes the view that it does not exclude personnel records relating to the "competence or ability of the individual in his or her capacity as a member of staff of an FOI body".
RTÉ states that the report sets out the views and opinions of others about certain individuals in the Current Affairs Unit and it is akin to performance appraisals of the individuals. I accept that the report contains views relating to the competence or ability of individuals. I am satisfied that the qualification on the definition of "personal information" in section 2(1) does not apply to this type of information. The following parts of the report contains views in relation the communication style of identifiable individuals, views in 5 relation to the editorial direction taken by identifiable individuals and views in relation to the people management skills of identifiable individuals:
I find that the above parts of the report are exempt on the basis of section 37(1) of the FOI Act subject to the provisions of section 37(2) and section 37(5) which I examine below.
The remaining parts of the report contain views or comments of participants on general themes such as communication, fairness in promotional opportunities, gender equality, standards of dignity and respect, problem resolution and the conclusions and recommendations of Resolve Ireland. The views of participants contained in the remaining parts of the report have been anonymised and aggregated to guarantee confidentiality. I am not satisfied that the remaining parts of the report contain personal information. I find that the remaining parts of the report are not exempt on the basis of section 37(1) of the FOI Act.
There are some circumstances, provided for at section 37(2) of the FOI Act, in which the exemption at section 37(1) does not apply. I am satisfied that none of the circumstances identified at section 37(2) (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) arise in this case.
Section 37(5) The Public Interest
Section 37(5) of the FOI Act provides that access to the personal information of a third party may be granted where (a) the public interest that the request should be granted outweighs the right to privacy of the individual to whom the information relates, or (b) the grant of the request would benefit the person to whom the information relates. It has not been argued that releasing the records would benefit the individuals to whom the information relates and I find that section 37(5)(b) does not apply.
In relation to the applicability of section 37(5)(a), in carrying out any review this Office has regard to the general principles of openness and transparency set out in section 11(3) of the FOI Act. Section 11(3) provides that an FOI body must have regard to the need to achieve greater openness in the activities of FOI bodies and to promote adherence by them to the principles of transparency in government and public affairs and the need to strengthen accountability and improve the quality of decision making of FOI bodies. It is important to note that in The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the 6 Information Commissioner & Ors  IESC 57 (“the eNet case”), the Supreme Court found that a general principle of openness does not suffice to direct release of records in the public interest and “there must be a sufficiently specific, cogent and fact-based reason to tip the balance in favour of disclosure”. Although the Court’s comments were made in cases involving confidentiality and commercial sensitivity, I consider them to be relevant to the consideration of public interest tests generally.
In relation to the issue of the public interest, it is also important to have regard to the comments of the Supreme Court in The Governors and Guardians of the Hospital for the Relief of Poor Lying-In Women v. the Information Commissioner  IESC 26 (“the Rotunda case”). It is noted that a public interest should be distinguished from a private interest.
The applicant states that the people who work in Current Affairs are subject to the RTÉ Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Policy which states that “The provision of a safe and healthy working environment in which all employees are treated with dignity and respect, free from bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or racism is a central objective for RTÉ.” He says any review of RTÉ’s performance in this area is of significant interest to the staff members whose working lives are impacted by the culture and environment in the Current Affairs Unit. He contends that there is also a wider public interest in ensuring that RTÉ, as a public sector body, is upholding its legal responsibilities under Employment Law Legislation.
RTÉ says it considered that publication of the report would involve the release of ‘personal information’ contrary to the mandatory application of section 37(1) of the FOI Act. It says the Supreme Court in the eNet case stated that the exemption can only be overturned in the public interest on the basis of cogent and fact-based reasons. RTÉ says it does not believe there are cogent and fact-based reasons for disclosing the personal information at issue.
The FOI Act recognises the public interest in the protection of the right to privacy both in the language of section 37 and the Long Title to the Act (which makes clear that the release of records under FOI must be consistent with the right to privacy). It is also worth noting that the right to privacy has a constitutional dimension, as one of the unenumerated personal rights under the Constitution. Moreover, unlike other public interest tests provided for in the FOI Act, there is a discretionary element to section 37(5)(a), which is a further indication of the very strong public interest in the right to privacy. Privacy rights will therefore be set aside only where the public interest served by granting the request (and breaching those rights) is sufficiently strong to outweigh the public interest in protecting privacy.
I accept that releasing the information at issue would allow for a greater level of transparency concerning RTÉ’s performance with respect to its Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Policy in the Current Affairs Unit. However, this does not mean that there should be no protection of the privacy rights of identifiable individuals in this unit. The information at issue relates to the competence or ability of identifiable individuals. This information is contained in a report provided to the Director of HR. I accept that the information amounts to performance appraisals of the identifiable individuals. In the circumstances, and based on 7 a careful review of the report, I find no relevant public interest in granting access to the information at issue that, on balance, outweighs the public interest in upholding the right to privacy of the identifiable staff members in the report. I find that section 37(5)(a) does not apply in this case. I find therefore that the parts of the report as detailed above are exempt under section 37(1) of the FOI Act.
Section 35 – Information Provided in Confidence
RTÉ has also refused access to the report under 35(1)(a) of the FOI Act in. Section 35(1)(a) provides for the protection of information given to an FOI body in confidence. For the exemption to apply, it is necessary to show the following: that the information contained in the records was given to an FOI body in confidence; that it was given on the understanding that it would be treated as confidential; that the disclosure of the information would be likely to prejudice the giving to the FOI body of further similar information from the same or other persons, and that it is of importance to the body that such further similar information should continue to be given to it.
Section 35(2) provides that section 35(1) does not apply to a record prepared by a staff member of an FOI body or a service provider in the course of the performance of his or her functions unless disclosure of the information concerned would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence that is provided for by an agreement or statute or otherwise by law and is owed to a person other than an FOI body or head or a director, or member of the staff of, an FOI body or of such a service provider. As section 35(2) serves to dis-apply section 35(1), I will consider its applicability first.
RTÉ says it owes a duty of confidence to its staff including those who participated and those who are discussed in the report. It states that while subsection 2 states a public body cannot owe a duty of confidence to a “member of staff’’, it is RTÉ's view that this subsection applies to work of the staff where the information is generated ‘in the course of the performance of his or her function.’ It states that the staff who provided the information upon which the report is based, did so voluntarily and it was not done ‘in the performance’ of their jobs. RTÉ states that in its view the phrase ‘provided for by an agreement’ in section 2 is also relevant. It states that there was an agreement for the process to be confidential between RTÉ, the relevant staff and Resolve Ireland. It states that it is not the case that retrospective confidentiality is being sought as it was stated at the very start and there was an agreement between all parties for the process to be confidential.
RTÉ has confirmed that the report at issue was prepared by a service provider in the course of their functions. As such, I must consider whether disclosure of the report would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence provided for by an agreement or statute or otherwise by law and owed to a person other than RTÉ or its staff. RTÉ has not identified a party other than staff members that it owes a duty of confidence to. In these circumstances, I find that section 35(2) serves to dis-apply section 35(1).
Section 30 Functions and negotiations of FOI Bodies
RTÉ also relied on sections 30(1)(a)/(b) of the FOI Act in refusing access to the report. Section 30(1)(a) provides that a head may refuse to grant an FOI request if access to the record concerned could, in the opinion of the head, reasonably be expected to prejudice the effectiveness of tests, examinations, investigations, inquiries or audits conducted by or on behalf of an FOI body or the procedures or methods employed for the conduct thereof. Where an FOI body relies on this provision, it should identify the potential harm in relation to the relevant function specified in paragraph (a) that might arise from disclosure and, having identified that harm, consider the reasonableness of any expectation that the harm will occur.
Section 30(1)(b) provides that a head may refuse to grant an FOI request if access to the record concerned could, in the opinion of the head, reasonably be expected to have a significant, adverse effect on the performance by an FOI body of any of its functions relating to management (including industrial relations and management of its staff). The FOI body should identify the relevant function relating to management and identify the significant adverse effect on the performance of that function which is envisaged. The FOI body should explain how and why, in its opinion, release of the records could reasonably be expected to give rise to the harm envisaged. A claim for exemption under section 30(1)(a) or 30(1)(b) must be made on its merits and in light of the contents of each particular record and the relevant facts and circumstances of the case.
In relation to section 30(1)(a), the applicant says RTE’s made the point that the "temperature check" process is ongoing in other areas of the organisation and that publication is “highly likely to inhibit others from participating in future reviews.” He contends that the opposite is true and staff in Current Affairs engaged with the process on the basis that the outcome of the report would be shared and the report was to be written in such a way as to protect the confidentiality of participants. The applicant states that the RTÉ Current Affairs Chapel, which represents the vast majority of staff in the division, passed a motion on 20 May 2022 explicitly calling for the report to be published. In relation to section 30(1)(b), the applicant states that RTÉ ties the work of Resolve Ireland to "normal HR reports" and suggests publishing it would deprive RTÉ and its staff of the ability to engage directly and in confidence. The applicant states that this was not a HR investigation or part of any disciplinary process. He states that it was a general “temperature check” and the report was linked to wider training and awareness of the Dignity at Work Policy.
In relation to section 30(1)(a), RTÉ states that the ability of HR to engage with staff will be prejudiced if promises of confidentiality given to individuals cannot be upheld. It states that release of the report is likely to inhibit others from participating in future reviews by Resolve Ireland and reports like this depend on people being willing to engage openly and honestly. RTÉ states that they would be unable to conduct similar exercises in the future should the report be released on the basis that a) confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and b) the risk of legal action depending on the comments of individuals. RTÉ states that the Current Affairs Unit was the first area of RTÉ to be invited to participate in such a ‘temperature check’ but it is planned that others will be conducted using the same approach and methodology. It states that the release of the report at this stage would ‘prejudice the effectiveness’ of a core function of HR to engage openly with staff in future 'temperature 9 checks’ in other parts of the organisation. In relation to section 30(1)(b), RTÉ states that its ability to manage staff, including dignity and respect in the workplace, would be significantly adversely affected by the release of the report. It states that there is a very real apprehension that the release of this report will have a ‘chilling effect’ on anyone who wishes to bring matters to the attention of HR. It states that staff who come forward to HR will be concerned that information they provide (and for example drawn up into a report), can be released to anyone or any union that requests it.
On 10 November 2021, the Director of HR informed staff in Current Affairs that “over the coming weeks (Resolve Ireland) will be inviting you and colleagues in your area to meet on a one-to-one basis. These meetings will be confidential and solely intended for the purpose of understanding more about the dynamics of your division from your perspective. (Resolve Ireland) will then prepare a report for submission to myself. While (Resolve Ireland) may comment on themes or general issues mentioned, no individual participant will be identified and all views expressed will be anonymised and aggregated to further guarantee confidentiality… Notes from the meetings will be retained on a no-names basis and only used to inform the final report, but will not otherwise be shared with RTÉ. The outcome of the process will be shared with you. This process will be entirely confidential to HR, the independent reviewer, and the employees who are involved in the review process.” On 15 November 2021, a consultant from Resolve Ireland sent a follow-up email to the same staff stating “…I’m now inviting you to meet with me for a 1:1. These meetings, conducted on a strictly confidential basis, will inform the report issued at the end of the review. The information gathered through these meetings will be anonymised for use in my report, no individual participant will be identified, and the report will contain comments on general themes and feedback only.”
As outlined above, parts of the report contain the views of participants in relation to communication style, editorial direction and people management skills of identifiable individuals. I am satisfied that those parts of the report are exempt under section 37 of the Act. The remaining parts of the report contain views or comments of participants on general themes such as communication, fairness in promotional opportunities, gender equality, standards of dignity and respect, problem resolution and the conclusions and recommendations of Resolve Ireland. The views of participants contained in the remaining parts of the report have been anonymised and aggregated to guarantee confidentiality. I am not satisfied that release of views on general themes which have been anonymised to guarantee confidentiality of participants could reasonably be expected to inhibit other participants from participating in future audits. I find, therefore, that the remaining parts of the report are not exempt under section 30(1)(a) of the Act.
I note the applicant’s contention that this report was not a HR investigation or part of any disciplinary process, it was a general “temperature check” and was linked to wider training and awareness of the Dignity at Work Policy. The information contained in the remainder of the report consists of views of participants on general themes relevant to the Dignity at work Policy and the conclusions and recommendations of Resolve Ireland. I am not satisfied that release of this type of information, which has been anonymised and aggregated to guarantee confidentiality of participants, could reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse effect on RTÉ’s ability to manage staff by having a ‘chilling effect’ on anyone who 10 wishes to bring matters to the attention of HR. I find therefore that the remaining parts of the report are not exempt on the basis of section 30(1)(b) of the FOI Act.
Section 29 – Deliberations of Public Bodies
RTÉ also refused access to the report under sections 29(1)(a)/(b) of the FOI Act. Section 29(1) provides that a head may refuse to grant an FOI request: (a) if the record concerned contains matter relating to the deliberative processes of an FOI body (including opinions, advice, recommendations, and the results of consultations, considered by the body for the purpose of those processes), and (b) the granting of the request would, in the opinion of the head, be contrary to the public interest and, without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b), the head shall, in determining whether to grant or refuse to grant the request, consider whether the grant thereof would be contrary to the public interest by reason of the fact that the requester concerned would thereby become aware of a significant decision that the body proposes to make. These are two independent requirements and the fact that the first is met carries no presumption that the second is also met.
Section 29(2) provides that the exemption contained in section 29(1) does not apply insofar as the records contain any of the following, (a) rules, procedures, guidelines etc; (b) factual information; (c) the reasons for the making of a decision by an FOI body; (d) an investigation or analysis of the performance of an FOI Body and (e) an expert report.
The applicant states that on 18 May 2022, affected staff were invited to a meeting with management to hear the "outcomes" of the process. He states that there was no indication that the process was ongoing or that there were any further deliberations. He states that none of the feedback given appeared to address any other area of the organisation, so it is unclear why it is anticipated that the outcome of the Current Affairs "temperature check" would influence similar exercises in other areas of the organisation. The applicant states that the work of an auditor is not so secretive that the process involved needs to be protected. He states that each audit looks at a specific issue and an audit of the Current Affairs’ division should not influence an audit of another division. He states that in so far as the process is concerned, it is not clear how an exercise seeking opinions from staff and summarising those opinions could possibly affect a subsequent effort to ask different staff their opinions about a different division.
RTÉ states that the report was the start of a process within the organisation, not the conclusion. It states that the receipt by RTÉ’s Director of Human Resources of this Resolve Ireland ‘temperature check’ is not the end of the matter. It states that it is still deliberating on the contents of the report and considering the information and perceptions it contains. RTÉ states that this is just one of several such checks that it is hoped will take place across the organisation and it is not possible to take one report in isolation.
A deliberative process may be described as a thinking process which informs decision making in FOI bodies. It involves the gathering of information from a variety of sources and weighing or considering carefully all of the information and facts obtained with a view to making a decision or reflecting upon the reasons for or against a particular choice. Thus, it 11 involves the consideration of various matters with a view to making a decision on a particular matter. It would, for example, include some weighing up or evaluation of competing options or the consideration of proposals or courses of action.
The report itself states that “the decision to instigate this review was taken in conjunction with the widespread focus by RTÉ on raising awareness amongst employees of the dignity at work standards required by all those working within the organisation. The aim of this review was to get feedback, through these confidential meetings, of people’s perceptions and experiences of their working environment...” In my view, the remainder of the report consists of individuals’ opinions on their working environment or the author’s conclusions and recommendations to RTÉ based on the opinions received. I accept that the remainder of the report contains opinions, advice, recommendations and the results of consultations, considered by RTÉ for the purpose of decisions in relation to its dignity at work processes. I find therefore that the remainder of the report relates to the deliberative processes of RTÉ. I am also satisfied that none of the exceptions identified at section 29(2)(a)-(e) arise in this case.
Section 29(1)(b) The Public Interest
In light of my finding above, I will consider section 29(1)(b) in relation to the remainder of the report. The public interest test at section 29(1)(b) is a stronger public interest test than the public interest test in many other sections of the Act, as it provides that the exemption only applies if the granting of the request would be contrary to the public interest. This Office has previously held that the Act clearly envisaged that there will be cases in which disclosure of the details of an FOI body’s deliberations - whether before or, in some cases, after a decision based on those deliberations has been made - would be against the public interest. However, this is not to say that such disclosure is always, as a matter of principle, against the public interest. Indeed, section 11(3)(c) of the FOI Act points to “the need to inform scrutiny, comment and review by the public of the activities of FOI bodies…” Any conclusions as to the public interest under section 29 should be substantiated and supported by the facts of the case. Consistent with section 22(12), an FOI body should show how granting access to the particular record would be contrary to the public interest, e.g. by identifying a specific harm to the public interest flowing from release.
In his submissions to this Office, the applicant states that staff impacted by the culture of the unit have an interest in the release of the report which assesses and makes recommendations on their workplace culture. He states that this culture has a huge bearing on their day-to-day lives and is a matter of significant interest to them. The applicant also states that the national broadcaster being transparent in its dealings and abiding by its codes of conducts and employer responsibilities is a matter that is in the wider public interest.
In its submissions to this Office, RTÉ states that it is important that any public sector employer can examine how it operates internally to allow it deliver a public service. RTÉ states that it is important that staff can express their views openly and honestly and for management to hear and act accordingly. It states that staff were informed of the outcome of this process at a meeting and given the opportunity to ask questions. RTÉ states that it is 12 also important that the whole organisation-wide process is allowed to take place without being released piecemeal to ‘the world at large’.
The information at issue in the remainder of the report contains opinions and recommendations on general themes such as communication, fairness in promotional opportunities, gender equality, standards of dignity and respect and problem resolution. It is not clear to me, that release of this type of information which has been anonymised and aggregated would be likely to inhibit staff from expressing their views openly and honestly or would be likely to inhibit staff from participating in future reviews. I am not satisfied that RTÉ has shown that the release of the relevant information would be contrary to the public interest. I find, therefore, that section 29(1) does not apply to the remainder of the report.
Having carried out a review under section 22(2) of the FOI Act, I hereby vary RTÉ’s decision. I find that RTÉ was justified in refusing access to parts of the report, as outlined above, under section 37(1) of the Act. I find that RTÉ was not justified in refusing access to the remaining parts of the report on the basis of sections 29(1)(a)/(b), 30(1)(a)/(b) or 35(1)(a) of the FOI Act and I direct the release of the remaining parts of report to the applicant.
Section 24 of the FOI Act sets out detailed provisions for an appeal to the High Court by a party to a review, or any other person affected by the decision. In summary, such an appeal, normally on a point of law, must be initiated by the applicant not later than eight weeks after notice of the decision was given, and by any other party not later than four weeks after notice of the decision was given.