Dear Department of Defence,
Under administrative access in the first instance, but failing that under FOI, I request extract/copy (of just the relevant sections, as per scope below) from any manual or reference document of instruction held by Defence regarding the Department's financial information management system (which I understand is ROMAN) and any partial extract/copy (of just the relevant sections, as per scope below) from any manual or reference document of instruction regarding Defence's Card Management System (CMS) held by Defence, on:
* running summary reports for individual account codes (i.e. General Ledger account for hotel accommodation travel expenses) at a Group or higher reporting level
I also seek, using s 17 if necessary (but which would be more likely to be in an already discrete reference document), the list of all Defence General Ledger travel related account codes.
Thank you for your email. Your email has been forwarded for consideration/action.
Please note that while I have given Defence the opportunity to provide access to copies of the requested extracts of the internally published manuals/reference documents sought (which should not be contentious, given the subject matter and that it is information approved for release to the general Defence entity) under administrative access, in lieu of under FOI, this was on the basis of concurrent assessment, not to be used as a mechanism to stall release.
Defence, as part of the FOI process, can assess requested material for release under administrative access, and provide the applicant the opportunity to receive the information sought via administrative release (essentially withdrawing or varying the FOI application as a result).
Consent is not given to treat this application as first a thirty day period or more of consideration of administrative access, followed by a seperate subsequent consideration of thirty days or more of release under FOI (which is a transparently thin stalling tactic, not intended or supported by the legislation).
Defence is only given consent to consider these matters concurrently during the statutory processing period of 30 days, as such requests are normally processed by agencies.
Dear Defence Freedom of Information Cell,
A reminder that response is due today for this FOI Application.
Where an agency fails to make a decision before an FOI statutory deadline expires, the FOI decision is classified as a “deemed refusal”. For benefit, I have reproduced the relevant sections of the Australian Information Commissioner’s s 93A Guidelines to agencies
3.131 A ‘deemed refusal’ occurs if the time for making a decision on a request for access to a document has expired and an applicant has not been given a notice of decision. If this occurs, the principal officer of the agency or the minister is taken to have personally made a decision refusing to give access to the document on the last day of the ‘initial decision’ period (s 15AC).
3.134 The consequence of a deemed refusal is that an applicant may apply for IC review (s 54L(2)(a)).
3.135 Where a decision is deemed to have been made before an initial decision is made, the agency or minister continues to have an obligation to make a decision on the FOI request. This obligation continues until any IC review of the deemed decision is finalised.
Note also that as the agency failed to respond before deadline lapsed, the agency is restricted in applying any charges going forward.
4.16 Section 15(5)(b) of the Act provides that an applicant is to be notified of a decision on a request not later than 30 days after an agency or minister received the request. This period can be extended by an agency or minister to facilitate consultation with an affected third party or foreign government or organisation (ss 15(6),(8)), by agreement with the applicant (s 15AA), or by the Information Commissioner (s 15AB). If an applicant is not notified of a decision on a request within the statutory time limit (including any extension), the agency or minister cannot impose a charge for providing access, even if the applicant was earlier notified that a charge was payable (regs 5(2), (3)). If a deposit was paid by the applicant it is to be refunded (reg 14).
I understand you may be busy at the moment what with the various negative media coverage at the moment, that may be resulting in a higher level of FOI activity, but this was a very simple request (just a copy of part of the General Ledger account list and exisiting reference material) and I am surprised Defence have intentionally ignored their obligations under the FOI Act here.
Good Afternoon Ms Pane,
Sorry for the delay in responding to your FOI inquiry.
In relation to the first part of your request:
' I request extract/copy (of just the relevant sections, as per scope below) from any manual or reference document of instruction held by Defence regarding the Department's financial information management system (which I understand is ROMAN) and any partial extract/copy (of just the relevant sections, as per scope below) from any manual or reference document of instruction regarding Defence's Card Management System (CMS) held by Defence, on:
* running summary reports for individual account codes (i.e. General Ledger account for hotel accommodation travel expenses) at a Group or higher reporting level'.
I advise that Defence does not have a manual or reference document that outlines/instructs how summary reports are run for individual account codes at a Group or higher reporting level.
To address the second part of your request I have attached a spreadsheet detailing the travel related general ledger account codes.
I hope this information satisfies your FOI inquiry.
Assistant Director - Information Access
Information Management and Access
Governance & Reform Division
Thank you for your belated decision. No further action is required and you may now close this FOI application.