Is it confidential information or not?

The Inspectorate receives many allegations of disclosures of confidential information that could potentially harm the business or reputation of council.

The unauthorised release of information can have a range of adverse outcomes for council. At the more serious level, it may involve a person misusing private, commercial, legal or personal information for their own benefit. Other circumstances include confidential issues being discussed in council and then publicly disclosed without approval from those involved.

The Inspectorate investigates allegations where information has been deemed confidential by the process set out in the Local Government Act (section 77).

A common complaint received by the Inspectorate relates to material or information that is understood to be in confidence but is disclosed without authorisation or agreement. This may not be an offence or breach of the Act, depending on how the matter was designated by the council CEO.

Read more on confidential information and how it applies in local government.