PAIA Tracker Development and Maintenance
Since 2011, SAHA has been utilising and developing the PAIA Request Tracker, an online information management tool developed by the South African History Archive (SAHA) and administered by the Freedom of Information Project (FOIP) to track and manage requests made under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in South Africa. The PAIA Request Tracker is also used by other members of the PAIA Civil Society Network (PCSN). The PAIA Request Tracker is essentially a tool for monitoring compliance with PAIA, tracking the extent to which both the government and private bodies are meeting their obligations in terms of making information accessible to South Africans.
The PAIA Request Tracker includes integrated mechanisms to create, send and track PAIA requests and all related communication to the private and public bodies to which these requests are submitted. By incorporating a system for tracking the progress of PAIA requests against the prescribed timelines in terms of the legislation, as well as functionality to send automated faxes / emails from within the system, the tracker serves as an online records management system, streamlining the request process, thus making it easier for civil society organisations to submit requests to support human rights advocacy in South Africa.
The PAIA request tracker is linked to a growing online archive of publicly available materials released to SAHA under PAIA (currently archived as SAHA Collection AL2878), in order to demonstrate the connection between the right to know with broader development debates and transparency and accountability agendas.
While much of the information about requests submitted through the PAIA Request Tracker is already publicly accessible from the FOIP website, FOIP will, in 2016, with generous funding from Indigo Trust be working to expand the PAIA Tracker and to make even more publicly accessible. New functionality will include more detailed classification of public bodies at local, provincial and national levels, a mechanism to record when requestee bodies attempt to respond to overdue initial requests in circumstances where internal appeals have already been submitted, improved management of partially transferred PAIA requests and the inclusion of a mapping function for tracking proactive disclosure at the local government level.