Frisk launches Document Fetcher to tackle FOIs

Adelaide company Frisk has launched Document Fetcher as a new feature of its software platform to make the process of fulfilling Freedom of Information (FOI) requests faster and more cost-effective.

Frisk CEO Nick Kervin said the biggest pain point in managing any FOI request was the vast array of data types and sources that need to be accessed and aggregated to fulfil the request. 

“The variety of information that someone can request is wide. Documents, emails, notes, recordings, chats, calendar invites, social media posts, images, videos... the list goes on. Often these are held in a variety of different storage and communication platforms, many with unique formats and access requirements," said. Kervin.

“The request often means many individuals searching for, collating and supplying documents from various platforms to the manager of the request, who then must further collate, sometimes redact individual documents, and then fulfil the request. Not only can this lead to requests being responded to outside of statutory timelines, but it also follows that the longer a request takes, the more it costs,” he said.

Document Fetcher can also assist Governments battling the perception that there is a lack of transparency and increase confidence due to the process being taken out of human hands in which manual searches can be limited and include a higher risk that documents are missed.

Document Fetcher fast-tracks FOI fulfilment via a powerful combination of data indexing, artificial intelligence and natural linguistic programming. 

The technology enables users to: 

  • Integrate and simultaneously search data across tools such as (Micro Focus) Content Manager, Microsoft Sharepoint (and extensions), Objective and more 
  • If an FOI request spans more than one topic or keyword, create a collection of search results from all related queries 
  • Accurately and efficiently search all data types including structured (document and record management systems, CRM etc), semi-structured (word docs, emails, calendar invites etc) and unstructured (PDFs, design files, video or audio files etc) data types  
  • Utilise Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to ensure that all text, even if its image-based, is searchable  
  • Configure search string length to any department’s requirements 
  • Export all located documents and files into a ZIP file in a single click

According to a recent report, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is “increasingly burdened” by the weight of its FOI work and needs additional resourcing to fulfil its roles.  

According to, in the last year there has been a 40% increase in FOI cases, and since the 2018 financial year, a 419% increase in FOI complaints.  

Key problems identified in the 2011-2021 period within the Centre of Public Integrity report include: 

  • FOI requests responded to outside the statutory 30-day period have doubled  
  • FOI requests over 90 days late have increased over 10-fold 
  • The percentage of FOI requests refused completely has increased 52 per cent  
  • The percentage of FOI requests granted in full has fallen 30 per cent 

Frisk technology is currently being deployed into South Australian Government agencies to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the Freedom of Information document gathering process.