This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'NDIA FOI Policy and Procedure'.

FOI 21/22-0045
Freedom of Information 
This step: Processing a request for access under the FOI Act. 
Next step: Processing a request for internal and/or Information Commissioner review of a 
decision made under the FOI Act. 
This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines the processing of a request for
access under section 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).
To be used by
This SOP is to be used by NDIA staff responsible for processing Freedom of
Information (FOI) requests.
This SOP applies to request for access made under section 15 of the FOI Act. This is
separate to:
 requests for access to personal information made under Australian Privacy
Principle (APP) 12 of the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth); and
 requests made under the Participant Information Access (PIA) process.
In accordance with section 15(2) of the FOI Act, a request must:
 be in writing;
 state that it is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act;
 provide an address for reply; and
 provide  enough  information  about  the  documents  to  enable  the  NDIA  to  locate
The NDIA must take reasonable steps to assist applicants to make a request. If a 
request does not meet section 15, the NDIA will contact the applicant to obtain any 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Further to advice on the NDIA website, the Agency is able to provide access to certain
personal information without the need for a formal FOI request. On receipt of a request
for personal information that does not appear to meet section 15(2) of the FOI Act, the
FOI Coordinator will assess whether the request is intended to be a request for access
under the FOI Act, or whether it is a request for personal information which can be
processed administratively through the Participant Information Access scheme (PIA).
If the applicant does not specify that their request is intended to be made in accordance
with the FOI Act, the FOI Coordinator may refer the matter to be processed
administratively by referring it to the PIA document release process.
If the request is intended to be a request under the FOI Act, the FOI Coordinator will
assist the applicant to make a valid request.
6.1  Registration of an FOI request 
FOI requests can be made anonymously. However, where the request seeks access 
to personal information, it is preferable to verify the applicant’s identity. This is important 
to consider in the context of unreasonable disclosure of personal information (section 
Where possible, the FOI Coordinator will attempt to verify the applicant’s identity. 
6.1.2  Verify identity (for requests involving personal information) 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
6.1.3  Consent 
Where the applicant is willing to provide their details and they are not the person who is 
the participant to whom the request relates, it is preferable to confirm that the applicant 
has the authority to act on behalf of the participant, and this is usually given through 
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FOI 21/22-0045
what is known as express consent. Where express consent has been given, it will 
appear in CRM. s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
Appropriate authority includes, but is not limited to: 
 The applicant is a Plan Nominee on the participant’s CRM;
 The applicant is a Child Representative on the participant’s CRM.
Consent can also be given in writing. 
6.1.4  Registration 
Requests falling under the FOI Act are registered as individual matters, each with a 
unique reference number, R-Drive folder and LEX file. Key communications and 
documents arising from a matter must be saved on the R-Drive and LEX. Where a 
request seeks documents about an NDIS participant, an interaction record is created on 
their customer record.  
Once the decision is notified to the applicant, the interaction record is closed.  
6.1.3  Data and Reporting 
FOI requests are also recorded on the ‘FOI Database’. The database summarises FOI 
request data, including timeframes, outcomes and the use of exemptions. This allows 
for trends and averages to be calculated and analysed. It also allows for quarterly and 
annual reporting to the OAIC.  
Each week, the FOI Coordinator will prepare a report of significant FOI requests. 
7.1  Determining the Scope of a Request 
Where a request is broad or large, the FOI Team will consult the applicant to revise or 
narrow the scope of their request so that it can be processed. Variations to a request’s 
scope must be confirmed by the applicant in writing. An applicant’s refusal to modify the 
scope of a voluminous request may cause grounds under section 24AA for a decision 
maker to issue a ‘practical refusal’. Where a request is large, consideration should be 
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FOI 21/22-0045
given to whether seeking an extension of time from the applicant would enable the 
processing to take place without placing undue burden on the Agency resources.   
7.1.1  Acknowledgement letter 
Section 15(5)(a) of the FOI Act requires that requests are acknowledged within 14 days 
of receipt. 
Provided that a request is valid, requests are acknowledged via an ‘Acknowledgement 
Letter’ as soon as practicable and no later than 14 days from receipt. 
7.2  Searching and bundling documents for release 
An Action Officer will prepare a matter assessment for the Decision Maker, seeking 
instruction on next steps. This assessment will make an initial determination on validity, 
the documents potentially falling within the scope of the request, the authority of the 
applicant to receive information, the likely size of the request and will also address any 
potential consultations and complexities. 
The Decision Maker will instruct the Action Officer on the basis of the matter 
assessment, making comments and changes as necessary. The Action Officer will then 
gather the relevant documents before drafting a Decision Letter for review by the 
Decision Maker. 
7.2.1  Searching for documents 
Documents are often located from the following sources: 
 NDIA email server
 Network Drives (R Drive)
 A participant’s CRM file (for personal matters); and/or
 Through consultation with line areas.
Where documents exist on CRM, the CRM Guide should be referred to for guidance in 
saving documents.  
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FOI 21/22-0045
Line areas may be consulted using the appropriate email template where a request 
seeks documents not uploaded to CRM, or where advice is sought regarding 
exemptions. Consultations must be in writing and must provide a specified date for the 
return of documents and advice. 
7.2.2  Preparing a bundle of documents 
The relevant documents will be provided to the Decision Maker in PDF format with 
appropriate redactions marked up (if any), the correct FOI reference number, and pages 
and documents numbered. 
7.2.3  Preparing the draft decision 
Notice of Decision letters are drafted in accordance with the following template: 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
Extensions of time
8.1  Seeking extension of time from the applicant 
Where further time is required to process an FOI request, an extension of time of up to 
30 days may be sought from the applicant. Approval must be sought from the Decision 
Maker before seeking an extension of time. 
If the applicant agrees, this consent must be notified to the OAIC, preferably through 
their webform.  
8.2  Seeking extension of time from OAIC 
Where an FOI request is large and/or complex, if the applicant does not agree to an 
extension of time, extension of up to 30 days may be sought from the OAIC and again, 
preferably through the OAIC webform. Further extensions may not be granted and all 
extension considerations are at the discretion of the OAIC. Approval must be sought 
from the Decision Maker before making application to the OAIC for an extension of time. 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Decisions on Access
9.1.1  Full Access 
Documents which do not contain exempt information are released in their entirety as 
part of a ‘Full Access Decision’. 
9.1.2  Partial Access and Access Refused 
Documents containing exempt information are released as a ‘Partial Access Decision’, 
with the exempt material redacted. A partial access decision may a combination of 
redacted and unredacted documents.  
Access to a document must be refused where the document is exempt in its entirety. 
The Notice of Decision must justify the use of all exemptions, whether access is in part 
or refused. 
10. Finalising and closing the matter
10.1  Preparing the decision to be sent 
Once the Decision Maker has made a decision, the Action Officer will: 
 Apply an accessibility check on the decision letter;
 Apply any tracked changes in the letter;
 Apply any redactions;
 Sanitise the bundle; and
 Prepare a covering email, to be privacy checked by another team member.
10.2  Finalising the matter 
A covering email with the Notice of Decision and documents attached will be sent to the 
applicant. All correspondence (both internal and external) must then be saved to the R-
The Action Officer will then close off the matter on CRM, LEX and the FOI Database. An 
email must be sent to the Decision Maker noting that the above tasks have been 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration
Registration of FOI/APP12 Requests 
Previous Step: 
Triage SOP 
Next Step: 
1. Purpose
This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines the process of registering and recording 
new requests for information received by the Agency, through the Freedom of Information 
(FOI) and Privacy Act (APP12) release mechanisms. This SOP is to be used when new 
requests for information are received by the FOI team, via the inbox. 
2. Index
1. Purpose
2. Index
3. To be used by
4. Scope
5. Prerequisites
6. Procedure

Registration Processes 
Create New Matter in 
s47E(d) - ce
Create R Drive Folder 
Database Entry 
Registration Checklist 
Interaction Records 
Other Processes 
Transfer Matters 
Disclosure Log Updates 
Acknowledgement Letter Tracker 
7. Supporting Material
8. Process Owner and Approver
9. Feedback
10. Version Control

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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
  Create R Drive Folder 
6.3.1  Create Folder 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration
1. Copy template folder located in R Drive (here):
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
2. Paste template folder in:
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
3. Rename folder with LEX number created and FOI Reference No
e.g. [
 ID] – FOI 20.21-XXXX (NA
s47E(d) - ce
s47E(d) - ce
or   [
 ID] – 20.21-APPXXX 
6.3.2  Save Original Request 
1. Open the folder and place original email request and any attachments in Registration
1. Registration > Original Request
2. Place any subsequent correspondence with or from applicant in:
2. Communication with Applicant
6.3.3   Draft Acknowledgement Letter 
1. Open template Acknowledgment Letter located in Shell Folder:
1. Registration > Acknowledgment
2. Delete the Acknowledgement Letter folder for APP12, IR and OAIC requests as they
are not required.
3. Fill and complete Acknowledgment Letter adding relevant information.
  Database Entry 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration 
  Interaction Records 
6.6.1  Determine Assigned Action Officer (AO) 
When FOI and APP12 requests for personal information have been allocated, go 
through the allocation database to see who the AO is (interaction records are not 
required for Non-Personal requests
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration 
Other Procedures 
  Transfer Matters 
6.7.1   Transfer Matters between Release Mechanisms 
If a matter has been registered with one release mechanism (FOI, PIA or APP12) but is later 
identified as being more appropriate to a different release mechanism, then the matter needs 
to be transferred and details updated. 
1.  Find the LEX file of the relevant matter, mark it as withdrawn and enter the following 
text into File Notes to indicate a transfer between release mechanisms: 
“This matter has been transferred from FOI / APP12 / PIA to FOI / APP12 / 
PIA on dd/mm/yyyy” 
2.  Create a new 
 file and R Drive folder with th
s47E(d) - ce
e new release mechanism details. 
3.  Create a new entry into the database of the new release mechanism and mark the 
original database entry as withdrawn. 
6.7.2  De-Registration of Matters 
If split requests are merged together, the now un-required FOI, APP12, or PIA Reference 
numbers need to be closed off. 
1.  Find the LEX file of the relevant matter and mark ‘Status’ as ‘Closed’ and ‘Outcome’ 
as ‘Withdrawn’. 
2.  Move the R Drive folder from ‘Active Matter’ to ‘Archived Matters’. 
3.  Close off the matter in the database and mark ‘Outcome’ as ‘Withdrawal’ 
  Disclosure Log Updates 
6.8.1  Disclosure Log Updates 
New Discourse logs will be found on the NDIS website under FOI Disclosure log and new 
Disclosure log requests will be sent via email. 
1.  Take the FOI reference number from the NDIS website under FOI Disclosure log and 
find the matter in s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
(for current matters) or s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies 
for archived matters) 
2.  Copy the reference number, name and the PDF document found in the Disclosure 
log folder  
FOI matter > 7.Disclosure Log > 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration
3. Create a new folder in s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
and paste the reference number and
4. Paste the PDF document into the new folder
5. Open 1 Disclosure log excel found s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
6. Input following information:
 Reference #
 Date  date the disclosure log was released
 Description  copy FOI request found on the NDIS website
 Applicant  who the FOI request was made by
 Exemptions applied  where the redactions were applied
 Current version
 Comments
 Document  hyperlink the PDF file
7. Update Subsequent Releases
Disclosure log requests update the Subsequent Releases in the 1 Discourse 
log excel 

  Acknowledgment Letter Tracker 
6.9.1  Record New Matters in Ack Letter Tracker 
1. Open the Acknowledgement Letter Tracking spreadsheet
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
2. Enter in reference number, name and date of request – acknowledgment letter due
date will automatically calculate
3. Open FOI allocation excel and search for the reference number/name to find the AO,
RO and DM
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
(FOI Allocation) 
4. Copy the AO and RO (if the RO and DM are the same). If they are different then copy
the AO and DM
5. Paste into the Ack letter tracker column for AO and DM’s
6.9.2  Track Outgoing Acknowledgement Letters 
1. Open outlook and search each reference number in the FOI inbox and check if an
acknowledgement letter has been sent
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure   Registration 
Search FOI> ‘20/21-XXXX’ (subfolders) > Search 
2.  Click yes or no using the drop box next to the acknowledgment letter due date  
3.  Filter the matters to only show ‘no’  
4.  Now using the DM outstanding ack letters sort the remaining matters to each DM  
5.  Send an email to all DM’s notifying them of what acknowledgment letters need to be 
sent out in the coming week 
7.  Supporting material 
  NDIS Act – Section 75 on Parental Authority 
  Triage SOP 
  Release Mechanism Checklist 
8.  Process owner and approver 
Registration Officer – FOI Team 
Director/Assistant Director – FOI Team 
9.  Feedback 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage
Triage of the FOI mailbox  
Next Step: 
Registration of FOI Requests. 
1. Purpose
This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to be used to triage and manage the 
Freedom of Information (FOI) mailbox. This SOP will provide guidance in how to triage 
the FOI inbox and to streamline the triage process 
2. Index
1. Purpose
2. Index
3. To be used by
4. Scope
5. Prerequisites
6. Procedure
6.1 Inbox 
6.2 ACTION Folder 
6.4.1 TO ACTION 
7. Supporting material
8. Release Mechanism Checklist (FOI)
9.Process owner and approver 
10. Feedback
11. Version control
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FOI Triage SOP 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage
3. To be used by
This SOP is intended for the following users: 
 FOI Coordinator; and
 FOI Team.
4. Scope
 This SOP serves to provide an overview of how the FOI Mailbox (foi@ndis,
is structured, as well as best practice guide to managing workflow within this
mailbox. Diligent application of this SOP will ensure seamless workflow and all
statutory timeframes are adhered to.
5. Prerequisites
 The triage aspect of the FOI process is the first point of contact for a participant
and/or their representative in terms of submitting a FOI request or a general enquiry
about seeking access to information;
 Before providing contact or forwarding emails on to relevant staff, privacy must be
considered in terms of email addresses for receipt and the type of information that is
being provided or forwarded on;
 It is critical that contact is made with participants and internal/external stakeholders
in a timely matter that engage the inbox.
6. Procedure
Emails received to the mailbox should be triaged and addressed as a 
matter of urgency.  
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FOI Triage SOP 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage 
The folder structure for this positional mailbox currently resembles the following: 
The below folders assist in streamlining the triage process: 
6.1  Inbox 
This folder is the communication nexus of the FOI Team, acting as the primary avenue 
for the receipt of FOI requests, APP12 requests, consultations and communications with 
internal and external bodies. Emails should not remain in this folder, but rather should 
be directed to the relevant team members with carriage of a matter or work-flowed per 
the below. 
6.2  ACTIONED Folder 
This folder serves as an archive for all correspondence that has been received by or 
sent from the email address. Once an email has been sent to the 
appropriate stakeholder it should be moved to the Actioned Folder to denote that there 
is no further action required from the Triage Team. 
This folder is the holding point for valid FOI requests which have not yet been registered 
by the Registration Officer. Once these matters have been registered and allocated to 
the appropriate staff they must be moved to the ALLOCATED REQUEST folder 
This is the working folder for the Registration & Allocations Officers.  
For more information see Registration Officer SOP 
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FOI 21/22-0045
Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage 
6.4.1  TO ACTION  
 This sub-folder contains the FOI Allocation Email Shell which is to be actioned by the 
Registration Officer in their course of their duties. Once complete these emails will be 
moved to the REGISTERED subfolder. 
This sub-folder contains the completed FOI Allocation Email Shell. Once it has been 
filled out and registered on all platforms by the Registration Officer, the completed 
allocation email is reviewed and sent by the Allocations Officer. This matter has now 
been allocated to an AO/DM pairing for processing. 
7.  Supporting material 
  NDIS Act 2013 
  .FOI Webpage 
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Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage 
An issue or suggestion from someone about the website 
Forward copy of email to 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies and 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies for ther 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
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Standard Operating Procedure 
FOI Triage 
External Consultations may need to be 
If yes – advise AO/DM to complete as soon as possible 
s47E(d) - certain operations of agencies
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