Census - how will ABS deal with those who refuse to complete Census?

James Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Bureau of Statistics

The request was partially successful.

From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Australian Bureau of Statistics,

This FOI request relates to documents related to departmental follow-up of persons who refuse to complete the 2016 Census.

I understand many Australians have expressed concern about the department's decision to retain names and addresses of all those who complete the census, and the requirement that the provision of names and address is now compulsory.

Presumably, many Australians will refuse to complete the census. I understand the department will then need to follow a decision making process against those who fail to comply with departmental requests to complete the census.

I request all relevant documents which an ABS employee would refer to in making a decision to take further action against non-compliant individuals. This includes all relevant policy, guidelines, or other such material, and any standard letters which are proposed to be sent to individuals at various stages of the follow-up process.

I also understand in the last census, approximately 100 persons were issued a fine for non compliance. I request a document that describes what happened here, for example, the general characteristics of those 100 persons, the total fines received, and other such general information.

Please contact me should you have any questions.

Yours faithfully,

James Smith

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From: Lachlan MacRae
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Dear Mr Smith,

I refer to your application in which you seek access to documents under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (ABS reference FOI 201617/08).

You requested:

1)...documents related to departmental follow-up of persons who refuse to
complete the 2016 Census.  ... I request all relevant documents which an
ABS employee would refer to in making a decision to take further action
against non-compliant individuals. This includes all relevant policy,
guidelines, or other such material, and any standard letters which are
proposed to be sent to individuals at various stages of the follow-up
process.

2) I also understand in the last census, approximately 100 persons were
issued a fine for non compliance. I request a document that describes what
happened here, for example, the general characteristics of those 100
persons, the total fines received, and other such general information.
     
Your request was received by the ABS on 6 August 2016 and the 30 days
statutory period for processing your request commenced from that date.  If
this request will take longer than 30 days to process, we may contact you
to negotiate an extension of time.

You will be notified of any charges in accordance with the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations, should they apply, in relation
to your request as soon as practicable.
Regards,

Lachlan MacRae

FOI Contact Officer
Policy, Legislation and Assurance  |  Governance and Parliamentary Liaison
Branch  |  Australian Bureau of Statistics 

(P) (02) 6252 7203  (E) [1][ABS request email] (W) 
[2]www.abs.gov.au 

The [3]ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal
information that you provide to us

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[ABS request email]
2. http://www.abs.gov.au/
3. http://www.abs.gov.au/privacy

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From: Keelie Williams
Australian Bureau of Statistics


Attachment FOI 201617 08.pdf
797K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Smith,

This email refers to your FOI request (201617/08) received on 6 August
2016.

The purpose of this email is to advise you, as required under Section 24AB
of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) that a practical refusal
reason exists under Section 24AA of the FOI Act in relation to your
request.

The reasons for this practical refusal and the actions required by you are
set out in the attached letter.

(See attached file: FOI 201617-08.pdf)

The FOI Act requires that you respond to this notice before the end of the
consultation period, which is 15 September. 

Kind regards,

FOI Contact Officer 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 

(P) (02) 6252 7203 

(E) [1][ABS request email]   (W)  [2]www.abs.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.abs.gov.au/

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Ms Williams,

Thank you for your letter (your reference 201617/08) dated 1 September 2016.

I am willing to consider revising the scope of this request. Ideally I would like to assist the Bureau minimise work by reducing the number of documents in scope, however as I have no knowledge of ABS operations I may need to ask for your assistance with this.

With regard to the first aspect of my request, is there a single policy document, or set of documents, which detail the steps the Bureau will take to address non-compliance with directions to complete the Census? I assume there must be some kind of overarching policy or guidelines which cover this aspect of the Census?

With regard to the second aspect of my request, what I am looking for there is a reason why the Bureau has 'chosen' the 100 or so people to be fined. I'd like to see how these people were chosen and determine if there were particular reasons why these people were chosen. Are there any documents which details the specific characteristics of those who received a fine? Are there any reports to the Executive Leadership Group which explain the reasons why these people were chosen for fines?

I hope this assists with a narrowing of the scope and will result in a manageable number of documents, however if you have any further suggestions on how I may assist the Bureau, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

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From: Keelie Williams
Australian Bureau of Statistics


Attachment graycol.gif
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Dear Mr Smith

Without understanding what elements of your request are of more concern to
you than others, the business area has recommend that you consider:

o for procedural/policy documents - only request documents that are
currently in effect. For example, you may not be interested in
guidelines from the 2006 Census.
o for procedural/policy documents - specify a more narrow focus of
activities. For example, you may be happy to receive documents that
only relate to where an individual failed to comply with a notice of
direction to complete their Census form.
o The ABS does not profile people who are fined, and as such a single
document explaining this does not exist. Rather, detailed case files
are kept for each person.

In addition, some of the documents you seek would be likely to require
significant redaction due to the following applicable exemptions provided
by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act):

· section 42 – documents subject to legal professional privilege

· section 47F – documents that would involve the unreasonable disclosure
of personal information

· section 47E – documents that would or could be reasonably expected to
have an adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the
operations of an agency

Please contact me by email at [1][ABS request email] or by
telephone on (02) 6252 7203 if you would like to discuss further
refinement of the scope of your request.

Regards

FOI Contact Officer

Australian Bureau of Statistics

(P) (02) 6252 7203

(E) [2][ABS request email]   (W)  [3]www.abs.gov.au

[4]Inactive hide details for James Smith ---02/09/2016 11:51:54 AM---Dear
Ms Williams, Thank you for your letter (your reference 2James Smith
---02/09/2016 11:51:54 AM---Dear Ms Williams, Thank you for your letter
(your reference 201617/08) dated 1 September 2016.

From: James Smith <[FOI #2100 email]>
To: Keelie Williams <[email address]>,
Date: 02/09/2016 11:51 AM
Subject: Re: FOI Request 201617/08: Notification of practical refusal

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ms Williams,

Thank you for your letter (your reference 201617/08) dated 1 September
2016.

I am willing to consider revising the scope of this request. Ideally I
would like to assist the Bureau minimise work by reducing the number of
documents in scope, however as I have no knowledge of ABS operations I may
need to ask for your assistance with this.

With regard to the first aspect of my request, is there a single policy
document, or set of documents, which detail the steps the Bureau will take
to address non-compliance with directions to complete the Census? I assume
there must be some kind of overarching policy or guidelines which cover
this aspect of the Census?

With regard to the second aspect of my request, what I am looking for
there is a reason why the Bureau has 'chosen' the 100 or so people to be
fined. I'd like to see how these people were chosen and determine if there
were particular reasons why these people were chosen. Are there any
documents which details the specific characteristics of those who received
a fine? Are there any reports to the Executive Leadership Group which
explain the reasons why these people were chosen for fines?

I hope this assists with a narrowing of the scope and will result in a
manageable number of documents, however if you have any further
suggestions on how I may assist the Bureau, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

show quoted sections

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Australian Bureau of Statistics

Thank you for your email.

I confirm a revision of scope to only policy/procedural documents which are currently in effect and relate only to individuals who refuse a direction to complete the Census.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

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From: Wolfgang Hertel
Australian Bureau of Statistics


Attachment FOI 201516 07 Response with documents.pdf
16.6M Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Smith

The ABS has conduct a search for the document you have sought access to in
your revised Freedom of Information request received by the ABS on 6
September 2016.

Attached to this email is ABS' official response to your access request
including the document being directly released to you.

(See attached file: FOI 201516-07 - Response with documents.pdf)

Should you have any questions regarding this please feel free to contact
myself on the details below.

Regards

Wolfgang Hertel

FOI Contact Officer

Australian Bureau of Statistics

(P) (02) 6252 7203

(E) [1][email address]   (W)  [2]www.abs.gov.au

For information about how the ABS' handles personal information please see
our [3]Privacy Policy.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.abs.gov.au/
3. http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D331011...

Link to this

From: Wolfgang Hertel
Australian Bureau of Statistics


Attachment graycol.gif
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Attachment 201617 08 Request response.pdf
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Dear Mr Smith - apologies, I attached a prior FOI response.

Correct version is attached

(See attached file: 201617-08 _ Request response.pdf)

Regards,

Wolfgang Hertel

Assistant Director

Policy, Legislation and Assurance Section  |  Governance and Parliamentary
Liaison Branch  |  Australian Bureau of Statistics

(P) (02) 6252 7883

(E) [1][email address]   (W)  [2]www.abs.gov.au

For information about how the ABS' handles personal information please see
our [3]Privacy Policy.

[4]Inactive hide details for Wolfgang Hertel---12/09/2016 07:59:56
PM---Dear Mr Smith The ABS has conduct a search for the documenWolfgang
Hertel---12/09/2016 07:59:56 PM---Dear Mr Smith The ABS has conduct a
search for the document you have sought access to in your revise

From: Wolfgang Hertel/Staff/ABS
To: [FOI #2100 email],
Cc: Policy & legislation WDB@ABS
Date: 12/09/2016 07:59 PM
Subject: Your FOI request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Smith

The ABS has conduct a search for the document you have sought access to in
your revised Freedom of Information request received by the ABS on 6
September 2016.

Attached to this email is ABS' official response to your access request
including the document being directly released to you.

[attachment "FOI 201516-07 - Response with documents.pdf" deleted by
Wolfgang Hertel/Staff/ABS]

Should you have any questions regarding this please feel free to contact
myself on the details below.

Regards

Wolfgang Hertel

FOI Contact Officer

Australian Bureau of Statistics

(P) (02) 6252 7203

(E) [5][email address]   (W)  [6]www.abs.gov.au

For information about how the ABS' handles personal information please see
our [7]Privacy Policy.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.abs.gov.au/
3. http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D331011...
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.abs.gov.au/
7. http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D331011...

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