Documents for the FOI exemption of the assessment criterion for the National Redress Scheme

ClearPseudonym made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Social Services

The request was refused by Department of Social Services.

From: ClearPseudonym

Delivered

Dear Department of Social Services,
It is my understanding that the assessment criterion for applicants to the National Redress Scheme have been made except under the FOI Act. I am led to believe that this is due to the extreme risk of fraud to the Commonwealth by prospective applicants. Though, under the FOI Act, I can only see one section that conditional exemption can be applied in this case: “deliberative processes relating to agencies' or ministers' functions”

If this is incorrect, please treat this request administratively (not a formal request) and point me in the right direction.
If I am correct, then please treat this request as a formal Freedom of Information request.

I am seeking documents relating to the FOI exemption of the National Redress Scheme criterion/rubric for evaluating applicants.
This may include:
• Briefs/options paper/written advice given to the Minister’s Office/DLOs about the possible need to exempt the criterion
• Formal instructions given by the Minister’s Office/DLOs to the Department to exempt the criterion
• Reasons set out to exempt the criterion (the public interest test)
To help limit the scope, you may exclude Instant Messaging between Departmental staff or superfluous documents, if formal/signed-off documentation is provided.

Yours faithfully,
ClearPseudonym

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Thank you for contacting the Freedom of Information (FOI) inbox of the
Australian Department of Social Services (the Department). Your email,
should it be a request for access to documents under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982, will be actioned by the DSS FOI Team.

If your email is for any other type of enquiry, you should direct it to
[1][email address]. It will not be actioned from this inbox.

GENERAL INFORMATION

If you are seeking general information about FOI, you may find the
following websites useful:

[2]http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...

[3]http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

PROCESS

An FOI Officer has received your email and it will be actioned
accordingly. In the case of a valid FOI request, you can expect us to
provide you with an acknowledgment that the request has been received
within 14 days. We may contact you earlier if we need to discuss
particular aspects of your request.

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Please note that if this message has been received outside our business
hours of 9am to 5pm (Eastern Standard Time), Monday to Friday or on
a public holiday, your request will be actioned on the next business day.

Kind regards

DSS FOI Team
Email: [4][Department of Social Services request email]

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...
4. mailto:[Department of Social Services request email]

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Hi Clear Pseudonym,

Thank you for your email. We are just pulling together some information for you and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Melanie

Dr Melanie Beacroft
Assistant Director, Freedom of Information and Portfolio Appointments
Strategic Coordination Section
Government and Executive Services Branch
Department of Social Services
P: 02 6146 0348 | E: [email address]
[Department of Social Services request email]
[email address]

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear ClearPseudonym,

Thank you for your email.

You have asked about the ‘assessment criterion for applicants to the National Redress Scheme’, which it seems may be a reference to the assessment framework policy guidelines the Minister for Families and Social Services (Minister) may make under the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018 (National Redress Act). The assessment framework policy guidelines may be taken into account by a decision maker when applying the assessment framework.

The assessment framework is a declaration made by the Minister by legislative instrument (the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Assessment Framework 2018), setting out matters to take into account in working out the amount of redress payment for a person and the amount of counselling and psychological component for a person. The assessment framework is available from the Federal Register of Legislation website.

Any assessment framework policy guidelines made by the Minister are protected under the National Redress Act, which contains a provision making it an offence to obtain, record, use or disclose information contained in the assessment framework policy guidelines, unless a person is authorised by or required to do so under the National Redress Act (see section 104).

Section 38 of the FOI Act [documents to which secrecy provisions of enactments apply] provides that:
(1) … a document is an exempt document if:
(a) disclosure of the document, or information contained in the document, is prohibited under a provision of an enactment; and
(b) either:
(i) that provision is specified in Schedule 3; or
(ii) this section is expressly applied to the document or information, by that provision, or by another provision of that or any other enactment.

The provisions specified in Schedule 3 of the FOI Act [secrecy provisions] include section 104 of the National Redress Act.

Any assessment framework policy guidelines made by the Minister are therefore an exempt document under section 38 of the FOI Act.

These provisions are considered necessary to ensure the assessment framework policy guidelines are appropriately protected from unauthorised use and disclosure, as the guidelines may provide additional matters that may be taken into account when applying the assessment framework, which may contain graphic and triggering descriptions of abuse. Protecting the assessment framework policy guidelines from unauthorised use and disclosure also assists in mitigating the risk of fraudulent and enhanced applications, as unauthorised disclosure of the guidelines could enable people to understand how payments are attributed and calculated.

Given this explanation, can you please advise how you would like us to treat your request? Is there something specific that you are seeking?

Strategic Coordination Section
Government and Executive Services Branch
Department of Social Services
E: [email address]

DSS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.            

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From: ClearPseudonym

Delivered

Dear Social Services,

Thank you for your response.

That is the best explanation I've seen around the relationship between the Assessment Framework, the National Redress Act and the FOI Act.

I did not know it was a offence to obtain the ssessment framework policy guidelines, which was indeed what I was looking for.
As such, could you please formally refuse this request.

I thank you again for the timeliness and breath of your response.

Yours sincerely,
ClearPseudonym

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear Clear Pseudonym

Freedom of Information Request No. 18/19-115

Thank you for clarifying the details of your FOI request below. As a result, I have interpreted the scope of your request as:

A copy of the assessment framework policy guidelines specified in the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018.

The statutory period for processing your request is 30-days commencing from the day after your clarified request was received. Accordingly, the deadline for notifying you of the Department’s decision is 10 August 2019.

I note that the above mentioned due date is a Saturday. In accordance with the FOI guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner, if the last day for notifying a decision falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday, the timeframe will expire on the first day following which is none of those days. As such, the due date for you to receive a response is 12 August 2019.

Should you have any queries about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me on the details below.

Kind regards,

Melanie

Dr Melanie Beacroft
Assistant Director, Freedom of Information and Portfolio Appointments
Strategic Coordination Section
Government and Executive Services Branch
Department of Social Services
P: 02 6146 0348 | E: [email address]
[Department of Social Services request email]
[email address]

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of Social Services


Attachment D19 909031 FOI Request 18 19 115 access decision.PDF.pdf
1.4M Download View as HTML


Good afternoon Clear Pseudonym,

 

Please find attached the decision on your FOI request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Dr Melanie Beacroft

Assistant Director, Freedom of Information and Portfolio Appointments

Strategic Coordination Section

Government and Executive Services Branch

Department of Social Services
P: 02 6146 0348 | E: [1][email address]

[2][Department of Social Services request email]

[3][email address]

 

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of
country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land,
water and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and
to Elders both past and present.

 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[Department of Social Services request email]
3. mailto:[email address]

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