Documents about “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.”

The request was refused by Australian Public Service Commission.

Dear Australian Public Service Commission,

Under the FOI Act, I request access to any and all documents (including but not limited to classification evaluation documents prepared for the “Legal 2” and “SES1” classification level registrar positions referred to in an Australian article published on 9 February 2022 titled Federal Court boss warned on job rule sidestep) that support acting assistant commissioner Kate McMullan’s conclusion that, in relation to the “National Judicial Registrar role”, “a role review process … had resulted in certain positions being found suitable for either a Legal 2 or (SES1) position, depending on the relative complexity and work load.”

Yours faithfully,

Helen

FOI, Australian Public Service Commission

5 Attachments

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant

 

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is writing to acknowledge
receipt of your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act).

 

The timeframe for responding to your request is 30 days from the date of
receipt. This timeframe may be extended in certain circumstances. You will
be notified if these circumstances arise and the timeframe is extended.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [1]www.apsc.gov.au        

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This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Australian Public Service Commission

6 Attachments

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant

 

The scope of your recent FOI request includes one or more documents
containing either personal information or business information about one
or more third parties. In such circumstances, the Commission consults with
relevant third parties about the disclosure of the information.

 

The timeframe for responding to your request is therefore extended by 30
days under subsection 15(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [1]www.apsc.gov.au        

[2]three hexagons[3]twitter icon [4]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

From: FOI <[email address]>
Sent: Wednesday, 23 March 2022 5:24 PM
To: Helen <[FOI #8627 email]>
Cc: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: SHC22-4924 Acknowledgement [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant

 

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is writing to acknowledge
receipt of your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act).

 

The timeframe for responding to your request is 30 days from the date of
receipt. This timeframe may be extended in certain circumstances. You will
be notified if these circumstances arise and the timeframe is extended.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [5]www.apsc.gov.au        

[6]three hexagons[7]twitter icon [8]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Australian Public Service Commission

8 Attachments

OFFICIAL

A decision notice is attached.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [1]www.apsc.gov.au        

[2]three hexagons[3]twitter icon [4]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

 

From: FOI <[email address]>
Sent: Monday, 11 April 2022 5:03 PM
To: Helen <[FOI #8627 email]>
Cc: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: 4924 Extension of time [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant

 

The scope of your recent FOI request includes one or more documents
containing either personal information or business information about one
or more third parties. In such circumstances, the Commission consults with
relevant third parties about the disclosure of the information.

 

The timeframe for responding to your request is therefore extended by 30
days under subsection 15(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [5]www.apsc.gov.au        

[6]three hexagons[7]twitter icon [8]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

From: FOI <[9][email address]>
Sent: Wednesday, 23 March 2022 5:24 PM
To: Helen <[10][FOI #8627 email]>
Cc: FOI <[11][email address]>
Subject: SHC22-4924 Acknowledgement [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant

 

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is writing to acknowledge
receipt of your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act).

 

The timeframe for responding to your request is 30 days from the date of
receipt. This timeframe may be extended in certain circumstances. You will
be notified if these circumstances arise and the timeframe is extended.

 

Regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [12]www.apsc.gov.au        

[13]three hexagons[14]twitter icon [15]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Strangio,

I have considered your decision.

I have also considered some of the applications for internal review of your past decisions. Two internal review requests stand out. The links to the internal review requests are recorded below:

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/r...

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d...

The reasons provided in those internal review decisions are correct. I adopt them and record them below:

MIRCEA

Dear Ms Strangio,

Thank you for your decision.

Your decision does not make much sense. I will explain below.

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Australian Public Service Commission's handling of my FOI request 'Role review processes in the Federal Court for National Judicial Registrars'.

You will note that I asked the APSC for all documents (including classification assessments, broadbanding proposals etc) that were provided to Kate McMullan of the Australian Public Service Commission which support her conclusion that allegations of impropriety and, presumably, unlawful conduct in the context of the recruitment of National Judicial Registrars were unsubstantiated 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.”

What does this mean? It means that the documents I am asking for are:

1. documents that were provided to Kate McMullan; and
2. are evidence that “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.”

First, in your decision you claim that the documents are exempt for, among other things, having personal information.

That immediately raises red flags.

More than anybody else in the country, the assistant commissioner for integrity, performance and employment policy would know that "role reviews" are reviews of roles. To put it in terms that you will understand, an assessment of a role is not an assessment of a person. It is an assessment of the groups of duties relative to the Commissioner's work level standards. It is impersonal. It has nothing to do with an individual or individuals. I don't need to quote chapter and verse from the Australian Public Service Classification Guide, which is available here:

https://www.apsc.gov.au/working-aps/aps-...

Going back to the documents, you claim that the document provided to Kate McMullan of the APSC that evidences that “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" is exempt for having personal information. How could that be? A role review has nothing to do with individuals. Therefore I am immediately suspicious of your claims that this document is, in fact, the document that I requested, or if it is, that the conditional exemptions you have claimed do in fact apply.

Second, you claim that the document is a recruitment outcome document. Another red flag. How can the outcome of a recruitment process determine the scope of a role, and the groups of duties to be performed in that role, by reference to the Commissioner's work level standards? The role assessment, whether it is a review or whether it is an assessment for a new role necessarily precedes any recruitment process and certainly the outcome of that process.

Again, this document cannot be what I asked for.

Moreover, you claim that parts of the document are exempt on the ground of irrelevance. What could be irrelevant in a document that is a record of the reassessment of the scope of a role (i.e. the groups of duties to be performed) by reference to the Commissioner's work level standards?

Do you understand why your decision letter makes no sense?

Having read some of the responses that you have provided, I have had cause to question whether you know what you are doing. This decision has only cemented my concerns about your ability to make lawful decisions under the FOI Act.

That is to say nothing, of course, of the fact that the APSC is under investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman for the PID investigation that Kate McMullan, the then assistant commissioner for integrity, performance and employment policy, conducted. It was obviously botched because the Ombudsman conducted a preliminary inquiry and, once that inquiry ended, the Ombudsman decided to investigate the APSC under s 8 of the Ombudsman Act, immediately escalating the investigation to "Category 4". How the Australian Public Service Commissioner could look senators in the eye and claim, as he does in his hot pocket brief, that the APSC takes PID investigations seriously is beyond me. He must have been one hell of a diplomat.

I invite the person who will be conducting the internal review to make a lawful decision and one that can withstand scrutiny on its face (i.e. I've not even seen these documents and based on the description of the documents have been able to determine that what you have recorded in your decision is nonsense).

MARCUS

Dear Ms Strangio,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Australian Public Service Commission's handling of my FOI request 'Documentary evidence provided to Kate McMullan in relation to investigation conducted about allegations of impropriety in the Federal Court'.

I have read Mircea's criticisms of your decision, which have been set out here:

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/r...

Mircea is on the money.

I adopt his criticisms and request internal review on those grounds.

I also point out two more things.

The first point is this - you claim that the documents which support Ms McMullan's conclusion that allegations of impropriety and, presumably, unlawful conduct in the context of the recruitment of National Judicial Registrars were unsubstantiated 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” are the same documents which support Ms McMullan's "conclusion that the SES Band 1 National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar – QLD was the subject of “a role review process … [that] had resulted in certain positions being found suitable for” either the “Legal 2” or SES Band 1 classifications. How could that be? How could the same document contain evidence of role reviews for two distinct roles - one being the National Judicial Registrar role that was broadbanded over the executive level 2 and SES 1 classifications, and the other being the SES Band 1 National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar - QLD role that Murray Belcher was promoted to, which was, mysteriously, subjected to a role review after he was promoted to an SES Band 1 position?

The second point is this - Velan asked, in almost substantially identical terms, for documents "recording the 'role review processes' that Kate McMullan based her conclusions on", and both you and Mr Hetherington refused to provide those documents on the grounds that those documents could not be found. Once Velan applied for IC review and pointed out that he had made a request in identical terms for the documents from the Federal Court, you have now decided to align your response with the Federal Court's response. That is very suspicious. Of course, as Mircea has pointed out, the documents you are relying on cannot be documents that support Ms McMullan's conclusion that the SES Band 1 National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar – QLD was the subject of “a role review process … [that] had resulted in certain positions being found suitable for” either the “Legal 2” or SES Band 1 classifications because the document sets out recruitment outcomes for the recruitment of registrars in the Federal Court.

As Mircea stated:

How can the outcome of a recruitment process determine the scope of a role, and the groups of duties to be performed in that role, by reference to the Commissioner's work level standards? The role assessment, whether it is a review or whether it is an assessment for a new role, necessarily precedes any recruitment process and certainly the outcome of that process.

For the reasons identified by Mircea and Marcus I request an internal review of your decision.

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

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

Yours faithfully,

Helen

FOI, Australian Public Service Commission

OFFICIAL
Dear Applicant

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for internal review under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

The timeframe for responding to your internal review request is 30 days from the date of receipt. This timeframe for internal review may be extended in very limited circumstances. You will be notified if these circumstances arise and the timeframe is extended.

Regards

FOI OFFICER
Legal Services

Australian Public Service Commission
Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

t: 02 6202 3500  w: www.apsc.gov.au        
                           
This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or attachments to a third party.

show quoted sections

FOI, Australian Public Service Commission

6 Attachments

OFFICIAL

Dear Applicant,

 

Please see attached.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI OFFICER

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, PARKES ACT 2600
GPO Box 3176 CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

t: 02 6202 3500  w: [1]www.apsc.gov.au        

[2]three hexagons[3]twitter icon [4]facebook
icon                          

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information, and neither are waived or lost if the email has
been sent in error. If you have received this email in error, please
delete it (including any copies) and notify the sender. Please consult
with APSC Legal Services before using disclosing any part of this email or
attachments to a third party.

 

show quoted sections

Australian Public Service Commission

 
 
  [1]Office of the Australian Information Reference Code:  
Commissioner ICR_10-48873625-2579
 

 
You submitted a form called: FOI Review_
 
Your form reference code is: ICR_10-48873625-2579

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
 
 
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References

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Australian Public Service Commission

1 Attachment

Our reference: MR22/00825

 

By email: [FOI #8627 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 MR22/00825.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information Regulatory Group

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

 

 

 

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attachments.

Dear Ms Spaccavento,

I have read your decision and it does not make sense to me. You state:

"...despite the name of the document “Judicial Registrar Recruitment” the material within that document also contains information that Ms McMullan may have relied upon to conclude that a role review process had occurred.

That is, document 2 contains material concerning recruitment outcomes and information that could be used in a role review. I hope this clarifies the issue for you."

The issue is no clearer now than it was when I requested internal review. Materials concerning the outcome of a recruitment process cannot be a document that supports acting assistant commissioner Kate McMullan’s conclusion that, in relation to the “National Judicial Registrar role”, “a role review process ... had resulted in certain positions being found suitable for either a Legal 2 or (SES1) position, depending on the relative complexity and work load. To the extent that you are claiming that, that is just nonsense.

I have applied for IC review. I will leave it to the Information Commissioner to determine whether the documents you claim meet the terms of my request do actually meet the terms of my request.

Good luck with that Ombudsman investigation.

Yours faithfully,

Helen

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