FOI Training Costs in FY16/17

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 FOI I seek copy of any document held by the Freedom of Information Section, of the Enterprise Reform Branch, in the Governance & Reform Division (titles which are antonyms to the actual conduct of the staff in these areas I note) that was created in FY16/17, that relates to any expenditure by that section on training for FOI duties.

It would be appreciated if Defence, could for once, treat this application in accordance with its obligations under the FOI Act instead of the usual bad faith responses.

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 has been forwarded for consideration.

Regards,

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

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Unnamed FOI Officer from Defence

Thank you for your acknowledgement, rapid acknowledgement is about the only thing Defence complies with in the FOI Act, but one wonders for how long that will last, given the continuing slide in standards.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence


Attachment FOI 444 17 18 Preliminary Assessment of Charges Signed.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

 

Please find the preliminary assessment of charges for your FOI request
attached.

 

Thank you,

 

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]

 

 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence
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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Cos Cameron,

I have received your estimated charges assessment. I note you have allocated 11 hours for searching time, and 7 hours for assessment, with four hours for miscellaneous tasks.

Given the scope of the FOI request which applies to one only specific section of Defence comprising only a few staff, relates only to documents that relate to a very narrow and specific activity, and then only for one financial year, 11 hours search and 7 hours assessment is grossly excessive, given formal FOI training for this secton’s staff, which required expenditure, is likely to involve one or two documents, if any at all.

Can you explain how the figures of 11 hours and 7 hours were obtained - given a key word search of Objective records held by this section, for the financial year in question, would take minutes?

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Cos Cameron,

Still waiting for a response.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

 

I apologise for the delay in responding.  Thank you for your email date 10
May 2018, requesting further explanation of the Preliminary Assessment of
Charges.

 

As your original scope related to any documents that referred to training
expenditure within the FOI Directorate, Defence FOI identified over 130
individual documents that may fall within the scope of your request.
 Defence FOI identified documents relating to training in specific FOI
functions as well as training for DIO staff in broader non-role specific
Defence functions, for example Work Health and Safety. 

 

The assessment took into account the time in which to extract, review and
prepare the material which was conservatively estimated at 11 hours.

 

The identified documents contained over 250 pages of material requiring
consideration.  The average processing time per page used to
conservatively estimate charges was two minutes which is the minimum
amount of time any page considered in relation to the FOI Act would
receive in processing by this office. 

 

Noting the above, there is opportunity to reduce the charges by refining
your scope.  For example by limiting your scope to documents specifically
relating to training for FOI decision makers.

 

If you are able to provide some additional clarification FOI Directorate
can provide you with a revised estimate of charges.  The FOI directorate
are available to discuss refining your scope.  Please feel free to call 02
6266 2200.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI Officer

Assistant Director Case Management

Information Management and Access

Governance and Reform Division

 

Department of Defence

PO Box 7910 | CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Ph:  02 626 62200
Fax: 02 626 62112

email: [1][email address]

 

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

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence
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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear FOI,

My FOI scope is as per the application, which states:
Under FOI I seek copy of any document held by the Freedom of Information Section, of the Enterprise Reform Branch, in the Governance & Reform Division (titles which are antonyms to the actual conduct of the staff in these areas I note) that was created in FY16/17, that relates to any expenditure by that section ***on training for FOI duties.***

It was therefore always the case that the scope was restricted to only those small number of staff and only for training which was FOI training (not as otherwise claimed).

Please redo for the FOI scope made, not for ones where words are added or deleted by Defence from the scope made.

I have no interest in any other training expenditures other than FOI training expenditure for that specific central FOI section.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane

1.                   I refer to your correspondence dated, 3 May 2018, in
which you sought access, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act), to:

“Under FOI I seek copy of any document held by the Freedom of Information
Section, of the Enterprise Reform Branch, in the Governance & Reform
Division (titles which are antonyms to the actual conduct of the staff in
these areas I note) that was created in FY16/17, that relates to any
expenditure by that section on training for FOI duties.”

2.                   Your request was forwarded to Associate Secretary
Group for consideration. The Accredited Decision Maker Mr Cos Cameron has
advised that your request covers documents which contain information of a
commercial nature of a number of third parties.

3.                   Mr Cameron has determined that there is requirement
to consult the third parties under section 27 of the FOI Act, before
making a decision on the release of the documents. 

4.                   Subsection 15(6) of the FOI Act provides for an
extension of 30 days to the statutory time limit for processing requests. 
Therefore, the deadline for providing you with the decision on your
request is now 27 July 2018.

5.                   I would be grateful if you could confirm if the FOI
Directorate could disclose your identity as the applicant to the third
parties for the purpose of consultation. While you are under no obligation
to reveal your identity as the applicant and we will not disclose your
identity without consent, in our experience, third parties will generally
be more likely to object to the release of their information if they do
not know who the applicant is.

6.                   Should you have any questions relating to your
request, please do not hesitate to contact our office via telephone on
(02) 6266 2200 or via email to [1][email address].

Yours sincerely,

 

Freedom of Information

Governance and Reform Division

Department of Defence

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

E-mail:   [2][email address]

Phone: 02 6266 2200

[3]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.

 

 

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

More ridiculous delay tactics from the home of unethical and morally bankrupt FOI conduct. You should be aware that I have compiled multiple examples now of improper abuse of process by Defence to establish a pattern of conduct. These will be consolidated into one s 70 complaint.

This is a abuse of process tactic you used before, claiming third party consultation after the original 30 day deadline has expired (and coming after earlier stalling tactics), again without demonstrating reasonable grounds for commercial sensitive considerations.

I vary my FOI by specifically adding/allowing for the exclusion of the business name and trading address of any commercial entity (excluding government entities) on any of the documents in scope (of which, given the scope, there would only be a handful) given my interest and scope of my FOI was for the nature and extent (cost/time/coverage) of FOI training conducted for staff in one section of Defence, and the names of any external providers was not sought in that scope.

That negates a deeply unnecessary and very late consultation claim by Defence, when no valid grounds have been established by Defence for material falling into commercially sensitive material. Which is something Defence should have done already, given the statutory obligation is to enable access p, or partial access, without excessive delay and by the simplest way possible.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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From: FOI
Department of Defence


Attachment FOI Your Review Rights.pdf
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Attachment FOI 444 1718 Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Attachment FOI 444 1718 Documents approved for release.pdf
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Attachment FOI 444 1718 Schedule of Documents.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Ms Pane,

Please find attached the Statement of Reasons and documents relating to
FOI 444/17/18.  A schedule of documents is also attached.

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. Defence will also publish the
statement of reasons with privacy deletions.

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.

 

 

 

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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Verity Pane left an annotation ()

Despite this FOI having been made at the start of May, it took over two months to get some very basic expenditure information out of Defence, who made a mockery of FOI principles and the legislation along the way, and even in the end result, didn’t stick totally to the scope of the FOI. For this reason, I’m marking this one partial.

Defence’s hostile gaming of FOI is a repugnant antithesis to FOI’s principles and aims.

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