Management advisory services, CN3620680

John Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Human Services of their handling of this request.

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

Please provide all documents relating to the Open Tender of and contract for Management Advisory Services by the Department of Social Services, awarded to Ernst & Young ("EY") including documents relating to the:

1. calling of the tender
2. the contract awarded to EY(please provide a copy)
3. any technical specifications or requirements issued by DSS in relation to the tender or contract

The following references on AusTender may be helpful:

CN ID: CN3620680 through to CN3620680-A2
ATM ID: FIN15BPAM3290
SON ID: SON3305648

Agency Reference ID: 90011831

Given the large amount of public money associated with this tender (>$6M), I ask that a public interest in the transparency of this matter be recognised; and the ordinarily applicable FOI fee be consequently waived.

Yours faithfully,

John Smith

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM


Attachment LEX 54859 Transfer Notice to Applicant.pdf
129K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Smith

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your recent Freedom of Information request.

Kind Regards

Chelsea
FOI Practitioner | Freedom of Information Team Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division
Email: [email address]

Please note: This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal professional privilege or  information that is otherwise sensitive or confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete this email.

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From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

Thank you, I await the outcome from DSS.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

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From: FOI


Attachment image001.jpg
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Dear Mr Smith

 

Freedom of Information Request 19/20-133

 

I refer to your correspondence sent to Services Australia on 18 May 2020,
in which you requested access under the Commonwealth Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to:

 

“Please provide all documents relating to the Open Tender of and contract
for Management Advisory Services by the Department of Social Services,
awarded to Ernst & Young ("EY") including documents relating to the:

 

1. calling of the tender

2. the contract awarded to EY(please provide a copy) 3. any technical
specifications or requirements issued by DSS in relation to the tender or
contract

 

The following references on AusTender may be helpful:

 

CN ID: CN3620680 through to CN3620680-A2 ATM ID: FIN15BPAM3290 SON ID:
SON3305648

 

Agency Reference ID: 90011831

 

Given the large amount of public money associated with this tender (>$6M),
I ask that a public interest in the transparency of this matter be
recognised; and the ordinarily applicable FOI fee be consequently waived”.

 

I note that on 21 May 2020 you were notified that your request had been
transferred to the Department of Social Services (the department) for
completion.

 

Under section 22 of the FOI Act, the department will exclude the names and
contact details of non-Senior Executive Service (SES) staff, as well as
the signatures and mobile numbers of those SES staff. Additionally, draft
and duplicate documents will be excluded and only final versions
considered in relation to the scope of your request. If you require any of
this information, please inform us within five days of this email so that
the decision maker can consider your request.

 

The statutory period for processing your request is 30 days commencing
from the day after your request was received. If the due date falls on a
Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday, in accordance with the FOI guidelines
issued by the Australian Information Commissioner, the timeframe will
expire on the first day following which is none of those days.

 

You will be notified as soon as possible if a charge is associated with
processing your request.

 

The department will correspond with you by email in relation to your FOI
request.  Should you have any queries about this matter, please do not
hesitate to contact the FOI team via email at [1][email address]

 

With regards

 

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Jessie

Freedom of Information Officer

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [2][email address]

 

DSS 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. 

[3]Indigenous

 

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: FOI


Attachment image001.jpg
5K Download

Attachment FOI 1920 133 Notice of charge.pdf
2.9M Download View as HTML


Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

Please find attached notice of charge in relation to FOI Request
19/20-133.

 

Kind regards

 

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Jessie

Freedom of Information Officer

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [1][email address]

 

DSS 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. 

[2]Indigenous

 

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Let me be frank. The 15% 'public interest discount' you have offered is insulting. This FOI request relates to an expenditure of more than $6,000,000. Please waive the entirety of the $100 access fee. The FOI access fee you are asking me to pay, would be less than than 0.002% of what the department has spent on this contract; but would be a significant amount of money for me to pay.

The public interest in determining the propriety of a $6M contract to the private sector to the department, is clear. It is so clear and overriding, that the entirety of the ordinarily applicable fee ought to be waived in this instance.

I ask that you waive the fee. If you are not willing to waive this fee, I ask that your decision here regarding the fee be internally reviewed.

Secondly, if you are not willing to waive this fee on public interest grounds; I am willing to provide documentation to prove that paying such a fee would cause financial hardship.

Please waive the fee, or internally review this decision.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

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From: FOI


Attachment FOI 1920 133 Charges Review Decision.pdf
2.7M Download View as HTML


Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

Please find attached the internal review of charges for FOI 19/20-133.

 

Kind regards

 

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Freedom of Information

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [1][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

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

The interest to the public was explicitly stated. It is an interest in the oversight of a significant quantity of public expenditure. This is $6M contract, and the public has a right to know whether this money was spent efficiently and effectively.

You are correct to note that I have a particular interest in this matter; that being I am motivated to look into consultancy contracts generally. It has been a worrying trend for a number of years that governments have increased their reliance on external contractors, and the value for money to the average taxpayer is dubious.

I do have evidence of financial hardship. I will provide this today, and if the fee isn't waived by COB Monday I will be appealing to the OAIC.

Yours sincerely,
John Smith

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I have just emailed through evidence of financial hardship. Will the fee be waived?

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

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From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I have just emailed through further evidence, including a low income health card, my passport, and evidence that I am a jobseeker recipient.

Will the associated fee be waived?

Yours sincerely,
John Smith

Link to this

From: FOI

Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

Thank you for your email.

 

As noted in our review decision, the charges notice sent to you on 3 June
2020 indicates that the Department of Social Services (the department)
requires evidence of financial hardship, should you wish to contend the
charge on that basis. This enables the department to make an informed and
considered decision on the further reduction or dismissal of the fee
during the internal review process. Given that no evidence was provided,
we deemed that no financial hardship grounds existed at that time.

 

The department is not obliged to consider a second contention to waive the
charge following the internal review process. However, given that you have
now provided documented evidence to support your financial hardship claim,
the department would like to reconsider its decision. If you agree, the
department will provide a second charges review decision to you by 6 July
2020. If you do not agree you are welcome to seek an external review as
outlined in the charges decision notice.

 

Please advise if you agree to this proposal by COB 23 June 2020.

 

Kind regards

 

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Freedom of Information

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [1][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

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I agree to that proposal and will hold off on making an external review.

Thank you for considering my evidence.

Yours sincerely,
John Smith

Link to this

From: FOI


Attachment FOI 1920 133 Revised Charges Review Decision.pdf
3.7M Download View as HTML


Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

Please find attached your revised charges review decision.

 

Kind regards

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Freedom of Information

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [1][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

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I find this correspondence disappointing. Your response is callous and presumptive. It has also failed to address a number of the points that I have tried to raise through internal review.

Welfare has indeed has been temporarily boosted in response to COVID. That doesn't though, provide any basis for your assertion that the temporary boost means that paying FOI fees will not cause financial hardship.

I presently spend nearly all of my income on essentials for me and my family. The remainder I mostly save, in anticipation of the cuts to welfare payments to come in September.

It is likely that every dollar that I spend on FOI requests today, is a dollar that will cause financial hardship when I do not have enough income to survive on pre-COVID welfare come September. It should be obvious to you that requiring a payment of $77 from a family living on welfare, will cause financial hardship, particularly when even the boosted welfare allowance is only effectively ~$80 per day.

I can hardly believe that during a pandemic, a government department would insist upon the payment of an FOI request fee from an unemployed welfare recipient, who holds a low income card holder.

Regarding your claim that I have a 'personal' or 'financial' interest, rendering my claim to a financial hardship waiver moot; you should know that this research is for unpaid academic project, that seeks to shed light on the details of the Government's use of contracting since 2013. Your assertion that I would gain a 'a 'commercial, personal or other' advantage from the request therefore lacks any basis. I am puzzled that you would make such an assumption. It is totally unreasonable. I am also puzzled that you did not put that adverse finding to me before you came to this decision. If you had, I would have had an opportunity to explain to you that I do not anticipate and financial or personal gain through these FOI requests. Quite the opposite.

Thirdly, and most unreasonably of all, you haven't responded to my contention that the fee ought be waived on the public interest ground. There has been great media interest in recent years in the outsourcing/contracting of departmental functions to external companies. This FOI request; along with my other FOI requests, seeks to obtain information and data on the use of contractors by the APS. There is a clear public interest in details contained within the contracts that I have been trying to FOI.

The information provided through Austender is inadequate for that purpose. It does not disclose the details of the contract I am seeking to FOI. It merely shares the price, and name of the contractor. Quite obviously, this FOI seeks to obtain further information about this contract so as to evaluate whether the government, and your department has been getting value for money. (or has been outsourcing inappropriately). Your assertion that AusTender already contains sufficient information, lacks any basis. I am specifically, and only, interested in the details of the contract. The available AusTender information is not at all relevant; excepting that it has helped me identify a number of extraordinarily expensive consulting contracts, that I would like to investigate further. Publicly available information is minimal.

I hope that this decision will be reconsidered through a further voluntary internal review. Otherwise, I regret that I will be forced to refer this decision to the OAIC.

Yours sincerely,
John Smith

Link to this

From: John Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI,

As I have not received a response, I am proceeding with external review.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

Link to this

From: FOI

Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

Thank you for your email.

 

We acknowledge your intention to seek an external review by the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner and await their contact in this
regard.

 

Kind regards

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Freedom of Information

Parliamentary, Committees and FOI

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
E: [1][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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