Classification documents for National Judicial Registrar positions in the Federal Court

The request was refused by Federal Court of Australia.

Dear Federal Court of Australia,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), I request access to documentary copies of all classification evaluations conducted for Legal 2 and SES 1 National Judicial Registrar roles in the Federal Court.

I also request access to documentary copies of all classification evaluations conducted for any Executive Level 2 National Judicial Registrar role in the Federal Court to the extent there is a difference between Legal 2 and Executive Level 2 classifications of the National Judicial Registrar role.

I encourage you to grant access to the requested documents by administrative release.

Please email the documents to me.

Yours faithfully,

Martin

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Hammerton-Cole,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Federal Court of Australia's handling of my FOI request 'Classification documents for National Judicial Registrar positions in the Federal Court'.

The Australian Public Service Classification Guide (the Guide) provides general advice on workforce classification within the APS and replaces the 1992 publication Handbook of Australian Public Service Classification Management. It outlines the broad framework and principles underlying the system of classification management, and provides guidance and advice on techniques that agencies can use when putting these principles into practice.

While many of the principles and practices identified in this guide are relevant across all APS classification levels, this guide is aimed primarily at the classifications APS Levels 1-6 and Executive Levels 1-2. Information relevant to Senior Executive Service (SES) classification levels has been incorporated where appropriate.

As you may know, the Guide provides, among other things:

a) It is important to ensure that a detailed, factual and up to date picture of the role being classified is established and documented prior to making a decision on the classification level. This includes:
• a detailed description of the activities (for example, a duty statement)
• an understanding of the inherent requirements of the job and any mandatory licenses, registration or qualifications required
• the skill and knowledge requirements
• any agency arrangements that affect the role (for example, organisational chart).

b) A record must be kept of decisions made when exercising delegated authority under the PS Act or the Classification Rules. Documenting reasons for the decision is also necessary to safeguard the integrity and transparency of the decision outcome.

Classification decisions need to be based on a suitably thorough investigation, including:
• work analysis leading to job design
• reasons for the classification level allocated, including the job analysis and assessment of work value
• details of the assessment made regarding changes in work value where the job is reclassified.

Documented reasons provide valuable historical information that will assist any subsequent review of a job, particularly where changes in work value need to be assessed. Maintaining such records is important to an agency’s ability to manage its classification arrangements.

c) Thorough information and documentation procedures relating to classification decisions are necessary elements in safeguarding the integrity of the process. A decision to allocate a new or revised classification level to a job is made under delegated authority under the Public Service Act 1999 and the Public Service Classification Rules 2000. This means a record of the decision MUST be made, including the reasons for the decision.

Adequate documentation in support of classification decisions can also provide valuable information to assist any subsequent review of a job where, for example, further work value changes may need to be assessed.

Appropriate documentation includes, but is not limited to, job descriptions, completed questionnaires and interviews. Other supporting documentation may include:
• background information (who initiated the action and why)
• in the case of a new role – some evidence that the need for the new role had been established
• an assessment of the resource impact of the creation or reclassification
• an analysis leading to task and job design
• supporting reasons for the classification decision, including reference to the comparisons made with formal standards
• in the case of a reclassification – a summary and assessment of work value change, including reference to the authority for the change.

Maintaining such records is important to an agency’s ability to manage its classification arrangements effectively. The extent of detail and the type of information provided in support of the decision made also depends upon the nature and complexity of the role.

d) Appropriate documentation should be kept regarding a decision to advance an employee through a broadband to a higher classification level. This is good governance, and supports rigour, consistency and integrity in decision-making.

While keeping such records is important to the effective management of classification arrangements, the form the records take and their level of detail are matters for individual agencies to decide, having regard to its particular broadband arrangements and other factors.

How is it that these documents do not exist if the APSC has provided policy guidance that makes it mandatory to keep this information for integrity purposes? How is it that Ms McMullan, the acting assistant commissioner of the Australian Public Service Commission, was convinced that allegations of impropriety were not made out in relation to recruitment at the Federal Court because there had been “a role review process that had resulted in certain positions being found suitable for either a Legal 2 or (SES1) position, depending on the relative complexity and work load.” If there was a role review process, which entails there must be a decision to allocate a new or revised classification level to a job, there MUST be a record of the decision, including the reasons for the decision. Unless of course the Federal Court believes itself above the guidelines issued (and mandatory directions contained within) by the Australian Public Service Commission.

I am not prepared to believe that the Federal Court of Australia thinks itself above best practice and mandatory directions issued by the peak agency for the Australian Public Service unless somebody in the Federal Court is prepared to tell me otherwise. Please search for the documents again as part of this request for internal review.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Martin

Dear Ms Hammerton-Cole,

Further to my request for internal review, I ask rhetorically, how could the requested documents not exist?

According to an article published in the Australian on 9 February 2022, Ms Kate McMullan, an acting assistant commissioner in the Australian Public Service Commission, stated that the National Judicial Registrar role was the subject of a "role review". It was on this basis that Ms McMullan concluded that:

a) it was possible to have the National Judicial Registrar role classified at both the "Legal 2" and "SES1" classification bands; and
b) there was nothing improper about classifying the role over both the "Legal 2" and "SES1" classification bands (I beg to differ).

You're not suggesting that an assistant commissioner in the peak integrity body for the Australian Public Service made up the fact that there was a role review or just took someone's word without any supporting evidence? .

Please ask the person conducting the internal review to search more thoroughly for the documents requested.

Yours sincerely,

Martin

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

Martin left an annotation ()

My requests (original request and internal review request) for classification evaluation documents were refused by Claire Hammerton Cole, a Registrar of the Federal Court, and Scott Tredwell, General Counsel of the Federal Court, on the ground that the documents do not exist (s 24A of the FOI Act).

Federal Court of Australia

 
 
  [1]Office of the Australian Information Reference Code:  
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References

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Federal Court of Australia

 
 
  [1]Office of the Australian Information Reference Code:  
Commissioner ICR_10-48514101-2508
 

 
You submitted a form called: FOI Review_
 
Your form reference code is: ICR_10-48514101-2508

To check the progress of your submission and/or confirm it has been
received you should contact the agency that provides the form. These
details are displayed below.
 
 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
[2]http://www.oaic.gov.au | [3]1300 363 992 | [4][email address]
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
 
 
Note: Please do not reply to this auto-generated email.
 

References

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4. mailto:[email address]

Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

Our reference: MR22/00741

 

By email: [FOI #8483 email]

Receipt of your IC review application  

Thank you for your application for Information Commissioner Review (IC
review).

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is
considering your application.

If you wish to advise the OAIC of any changes to your circumstances,
including your contact details or if your FOI request has been resolved,
please write to [email address] and quote MR22/00741.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information Regulatory Group

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

 

 

 

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