Employee entitlements

Tara Campbell made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Social Services

The request was refused by Department of Social Services.

From: Tara Campbell

Delivered

Dear Department of Social Services,

May I please request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

Correspondence to or from senior executive service officers regarding issues with employees accessing entitlements and possible back pay arrangements over the past 2 years.

Yours faithfully,

Tara Campbell

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Good morning Ms Campbell

 

I refer to your correspondence received by the Department of Social
Services (the department) on 29 May 2020, in which you requested access
under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to:

 

“Correspondence to or from senior executive service officers regarding
issues with employees accessing entitlements and possible back pay
arrangements over the past 2 years”.

 

I note that your request is seeking access to correspondence relating
departmental staff that may have been sent to or from any SES officer
within the department relating to accessing entitlements from the past two
years. This request is very broad. We wish to advise that a request for
any/all documents concerning a particular subject will likely attract
refusal under section 24AA of the FOI Act because, with few exceptions, it
would simply not be possible for the decision maker to certify that they
have identified every copy of every document in the department’s
possession. To do so would require an intensive IT search – that is,
searching the email accounts of every current and former SES who has
served in the department in the past two years and undertake thorough
searches of each email to determine any that may relate to the topic
requested.

 

Notwithstanding the above, we also require further clarification on your
meaning. For example, is ‘issues with employees accessing entitlements and
possible back pay arrangements over the past 2 years’  two separate
questions/issues, or one? And we need further clarification on ‘issues
with employees accessing entitlements’. Do you mean employees accessing
entitlements incorrectly or being unable to access entitlements?

 

Taking the above into consideration, under section 24AA of the FOI Act and
for the purposes of section 24 of the FOI Act, the department considers
that a ‘practical refusal reason’ exists in relation to your FOI request.
Specifically, the department considers that the work involved in
processing the request in its current form would substantially and
unreasonably divert the resources of the department from its other
operations. A significant amount of resources would have to be diverted to
arrange for the required searches to be undertaken, to then review any
documents that were identified as being possibly relevant to your request.
And finally, to undertake the decision-making process on any documents
that meet the parameters of your request.

 

Under section 24AB of the FOI Act, the department is required to advise
you of its intention to refuse your request in its current form and advise
you that you have fourteen days, after receiving this notice, within which
to consult with the department on removing the practical refusal reason. I
am the nominated person you should contact with a view to agreeing to one
of the following options:

(a)    Withdraw your request;

(b)    Make a revised request; or

(c)     Indicate that you do not wish to revise the request.

 

In accordance with subsection 24AB(9) of the FOI Act, the department is
only required to undertake this consultation process once and you must
contact me within 14 days to discuss. If you do not contact the department
within this period, your FOI request will be taken to have been withdrawn
in accordance with subsection 24AB(7) of the FOI Act and will not be dealt
with any further.

 

I encourage you to contact me via [1][Department of Social Services request email] so I can assist you in
moving forward with your request.

 

With regards

 

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Judy Lamb

Assistant Director, Freedom of Information

Strategic Coordination Section

Government and Executive Services Branch

Department of Social Services

 

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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References

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

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