FOI delegate statistical information

Verity Pane made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Defence

The request was partially successful.

From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Department of Defence,

Under s 17 of the FOI Act I seek a one page document to be complied from information held in your HR information system and any other applicable data systems or holdings, detailing the APS level and Defencd office location of all current department FOI delegates (and seperately, reconsideration delegates, if there are any who have no original decision duties).

If a delegate also has duties other than FOI duties, can you also provide a estimated percentage proportion of their time spent on FOI activities.

Names and other details are outside scope and not required.

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

Thank you for your FOI inquiry, it is being considered.

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information
Governance & Reform Division
 
Telephone:  (02) 6266 2200
[email address]

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Just an addendum, if a FOI delegate spends less than 10% of their duties on FOI, please exclude them from scope (looking only for those who make FOI decisions more than once in a blue moon).

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Ms Pane,

 

Regarding your request for the following;

 

“Under s17 of the FOI Act I seek a one page document to be complied from
information held in your HR information system and any other applicable
data systems or holdings, detailing the APS level and Defencd office
location of all current department FOI delegates (and seperately,
reconsideration delegates, if there are any who have no original decision
duties).

If a delegate also has duties other than FOI duties, can you also provide
a estimated percentage proportion of their time spent on FOI activities.

Names and other details are outside scope and not required.

Addendum to request:

if a FOI delegate spends less than 10% of their duties on FOI, please
exclude them from scope (looking only for those who make FOI decisions
more than once in a blue moon).“

Defence FOI would like to seek clarification on the scope of your request
regarding the creation of a document under section 17 of the FOI Act.  As
you may be aware, the Guidelines issued by the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner state that:

2.28 The right of access applies to:

·   a document of an agency that is subject to the FOI Act

·   an official document of a minister,

unless the document is an exempt document (s 11(1)).

Section 17 of the FOI Act is a discretionary provision to allow an Agency
to produce a document that is not available in discrete form.

17  Requests involving use of computers etc.

             (1)  Where:

                     (a)  a request (including a request in relation to
which a practical refusal reason exists) is made in accordance with the
requirements of subsection 15(2) to an agency;

                     (b)  it appears from the request that the desire of
the applicant is for information that is not available in discrete form in
written documents of the agency; and

                   (ba)  it does not appear from the request that the
applicant wishes to be provided with a computer tape or computer disk on
which the information is recorded; and

                     (c)  the agency could produce a written document
containing the information in discrete form by:

                              (i)  the use of a computer or other
equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or
collating stored information; or

                             (ii)  the making of a transcript from a sound
recording held in the agency;

the agency shall deal with the request as if it were a request for access
to a written document so produced and containing that information and, for
that purpose, this Act applies as if the agency had such a document in its
possession.

             (2)  An agency is not required to comply with subsection (1)
if compliance would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of
the agency from its other operations.

. Paragraph 2.33 and 2.34 of the Guidelines state:

2.33 The right of access under the FOI Act is to existing documents,
rather than to information. The FOI Act does not require an agency or
minister to create a new document in response to a request for access,
except in limited circumstances where the applicant seeks access in a
different format or where the information is stored in an agency computer
system rather than in discrete form (see Part 3 of these Guidelines). A
request may nevertheless be framed by reference to a document that
contains particular information.

2.34 The right of access applies to documents that exist at the time the
FOI request was made. An applicant cannot insist that their request cover
documents created after the request is received. However, the agency or
minister could consider whether to include documents that were created
after the request was received. This could be more administratively
efficient because the applicant might otherwise submit a new request for
the later documents.

Under section 17 of the FOI Act, the creation of a document can accrue
charges based on actual costs incurred by the agency. This is covered
under 4.31 of the Guidelines:

4.31 An agency or minister can impose a charge that does not exceed the
actual costs incurred by the agency or minister in:

·   retrieving and collating information stored on a computer or on like
equipment (Charges Regulations, Schedule, Part I, Item 3)

·   retrieving and collating information stored on a computer and using
the computer or other equipment to make deletions from the record of the
information (Schedule, Part II, Item 4)

·   producing a computer tape or disk (Schedule, Part II, Item 4A)

·   arranging for an applicant to hear a recording or view a stored image
(Schedule, Part II, Item 5)

·   producing a copy of a recording, film or videotape (Schedule, Part II,
Item 6)

·   posting or delivering a document to an applicant, as requested by the
applicant (Schedule, Part II, Item 8).

Taking the above into consideration we would seek your advice on how you
would like to proceed. We are more than happy to assist you to revise your
scope to existing documents if that would help meet the intent of your
request.  Other options include:

·        proceeding with the request in its current form – an assessment
of charges will be provided to you;

·        refine the scope of the request to existing documents held by
Defence; or

·        you may choose to withdraw your request.

Please contact this office to advise your preferred way ahead. Please also
feel free to get in contact with Defence FOI if you have any further
questions.

Regards,

 

Freedom of Information

Governance and Reform Division

 

Department of Defence | CP1-6-001|

PO Box 7910 | CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Ph:  02 6266 2200

email: [1][email address]

 

[2]http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp

 

 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence
and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914.
If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the
sender and delete the email.

References

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Unnamed FOI Officer of Defence that wrote this identical consultation response of 2 May 2018 (which was carbon copied to the other FOI made),

For your benefit again, I provide extract of s 17 of the FOI Act below (note no ‘discretion’ or ‘discretionary’ term appears in the words of this Act):

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1982 - SECT 17 Requests involving use of computers etc.

Requests involving use of computers etc.
(1) Where:

(a) a request (including a request in relation to which a practical refusal reason exists) is made in accordance with the requirements of subsection 15(2) to an agency;

(b) it appears from the request that the desire of the applicant is for information that is not available in discrete form in written documents of the agency; and

(ba) it does not appear from the request that the applicant wishes to be provided with a computer tape or computer disk on which the information is recorded; and

(c) the agency could produce a written document containing the information in discrete form by:

(i) the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored information; or

(ii) the making of a transcript from a sound recording held in the agency;

the agency shall deal with the request as if it were a request for access to a written document so produced and containing that information and, for that purpose, this Act applies as if the agency had such a document in its possession

(2) An agency is not required to comply with subsection (1) if compliance would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations.

*****

You’ll note contrary to your deeply misleading and erroneous claim, it is not a “discretionary” decision for a delegate whether they will comply with s 17 of the Act, but:
a) a question of fact whether an existing document held by the agency would met all the requirements of the FOI scope; and
b) a question of fact that if no such document exists, but information which could be compiled to provide that document, exists in the information systems held by the agency, that the agency shall deal with the request as if it were a request for access to a written document so produced and containing that information and, for that purpose, this Act applies as if the agency had such a document in its possession.

The Guidelines, which are not a statutory instrument and do not have force of law, are indeed guidelines, but in case of any conflict between the guidelines and the FOI Act and its statutory instruments, the wording of the Act takes precedence.

While you have initiated a consultation process to delay the statutory clock two weeks, your consultation response does nothing more that reproduce parts of the Guidelines with some inane commentary, while asking nothing more than if I wish the request to stand as is or do I wish to change it.

It is again nothing more than a pathetically transparent delaying tactic, which again raises no question beyond the inane (consultation should only be used when there is actually a question to resolve, not merely do you want to proceed or not).

The FOI stands as made, given you have raised no actual issue, and attempted to fraudulent made out s 17 is a discretionary decision of the agency, not an obligatory one if the two aforementioned factors are satisfied, which in this case they are.

It is deeply disappointing that Defence’s FOI responses continue to demonstrate an even greater slide into open malfeasance and abuse of public office responsibilities, such that delegates even hide their authorship now.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

I refer to your FOI inquiry below. Unfortunately, in its current form your FOI request is not considered valid under section 15(2)(b) [Requests for access] of the FOI Act as you have not provided such specific information concerning the documents as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency to identify them.

More information can be found here http://www.defence.gov.au/foi/

Regards,

Freedom of Information
Governance and Reform Division
Ph: (02) 6266 2200
[email address]

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Yet another Defence FOI Officer Hiding their Identity (for good reason given the shameful fraud),

You ridiculously claim, quite wrongly for a s 17 FOI, you have insufficient information to identify “the documents” requested.

s 17 is for compilation of a document from information held in your information systems.

In this case, the requested report can be produced in PMKEYS from position report data.

Given the clearly fraudulent responses, I seek internal review of your refusal, with a view to making a formal OAIC IC Review, if the internal review again refuses.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: Viney, Nicola MS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

Thank you for your email of 4 May 2018. Your request and associated correspondence was escalated to me, as the Director of Freedom of Information within Defence, for consideration.

In the spirit of the FOI Act and to facilitate access at the lowest reasonable cost, I suggest the best way to proceed is for you to consider revising the scope of your request. To assist you with this, I propose the following:

“The current list of Authorised Decision Makers (ADMs) held by the FOI Directorate and the contact details of the ADMs as recorded in the FOI database.”

The above scope would include documents that show the rank, location and Group or Service of Authorised Decision Makers (ADMs) within Defence. One of these documents would be produced using the existing functionality of the database rather than seeking additional support for specialist searches across multiple databases. While the above scope would not address all of the elements of your original request, I believe this approach is consistent with the spirit of the FOI Act and would facilitate access at the lowest reasonable cost.

If you agree with the revised scope I will ensure the case is reactivated and processed immediately. Furthermore, there will be no charges associated with this request.

Kind regards,

Nicola Viney
Director, Freedom of Information
Enterprise Reform Branch
Governance and Reform Division
________________________________________
CP1-6-012 | Campbell Park |Canberra ACT
E: [email address]

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Nicola Viney,

As the scope of my FOI was “APS level and Defence office location of all current department FOI delegates” that would 99% meet my scope (other than it might capture those who spend less than 10% of their duties on FOI).

Names are irrelevant, but APS/Rank level and Defence office/base location are useful to get an idea of distribution both geographically and and hierarchically.

The proposal therefore meets 99% of scope and therefore I agree. It’s pleasing common sense has been demonstrated here. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: Stott, Michelle MRS
Department of Defence


Attachment FOI 423 1718 Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Attachment FOI 423 1718 documents in the form approved for release.pdf
1.3M Download View as HTML

Attachment FOI Your Review Rights.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane

Please find attached the Statement of Reasons and documents approved for
release relating to FOI 423/17/18

FOI Disclosure Log

In accordance with the requirements of section 11C of the FOI Act, Defence
is required to publish details of information released under the FOI Act.
Defence publishes identified documents relating to requests within five
working days of receipt by the applicant or immediately following any
publication of the released material. As the application was sent via the
Right to Know website the documents will be published immediately.

Rights of Review

Under the provisions of section 54 of the FOI Act, you are entitled to
request a review of this decision. Your review rights are attached.

Should you have any questions in regard to this matter please contact this
office.

 

Kind regards,

 

Freedom of Information

Governance and Reform Division

Department of Defence

CP1-6-008 | PO Box 7910 | Campbell Park  CANBERRA BC  ACT  2610

E-mail:   [1][email address]

Phone: 02 6266 2200

[2]http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp

 

 

 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence
and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914.
If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the
sender and delete the email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp
file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Melissa Davidson,

Thank you for your decision, which really what Defence should have some in the first place, instead of fraudulently pretending it was not a valid FOI application. Seems the change in attitude was entirely due to referring the issue to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and illustrating how an identical FOI to another agency was processed without problem, yet Defence did a false one way conferral then refused to process claiming FOI application was invalid.

I’m glad wiser heads prevailed and a choice word or two from the OAIC stopped what was really a campaign of harassment from your staff, on not only this FOI but others made in the months previous.

This FOI may now be closed.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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