Numbers of active category 4 and category 5 approaches

The request was partially successful.

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

According to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s ‘Workplace practices manual for complaint management’, approaches to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman are categorised into five categories. They are:

a) category 1;
b) category 2;
c) category 3;
d) category 4; and
e) category 5.

Some factors that will usually cause a matter to be escalated to category 4 are:

a) reluctance by an agency to acknowledge identified issues;
b) matters involving potentially sensitive issues;
c) matters involving an agency head;
d) matters involving improper behaviour by officials, or other possible disciplinary matters;
e) investigations requiring the use of formal powers under the Ombudsman Act;
f) the approach could not be resolved in 60 days.

Some factors that will cause a matter to be escalated to category 5 are:

a) the approach will, on average, take 12 or more months to deal with;
b) any approach that cannot be resolved at category 4.

Under the FOI Act, I would like access to documents setting out the number of:

a) active category 4 approaches at the date of this request; and
b) active category 5 approaches at the date of this request.

If it makes things easier for the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, you are:

a) invited to, pursuant to s 17 of the FOI Act, compile a document setting out each of the numbers of category 4 and category 5 approaches; or
b) provide a document, pursuant to the administrative release options available, with each of the numbers of category 4 and category 5 approaches.

To be clear, I do not want a total number of active category 4 and 5 requests. I want the number of active category 4 requests and, separately, I want the number of active category 5 requests.

Please provide the documents to me by return email.

Yours faithfully,

Louise

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

Section 15(5)(a) of the FOI Act provides:

On receiving a request, the agency or Minister must as soon as practicable but in any case not later than 14 days after the day on which the request is received by or on behalf of the agency or Minister, take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified that the request has been received.

Fourteen days have passed after the day on which the request was received by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Please provide a notification of receipt of my request, as set out in the FOI Act.

Yours faithfully,

Louise

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

Section 15(5)(a) of the FOI Act provides:

On receiving a request, the agency or Minister must as soon as practicable but in any case not later than 14 days after the day on which the request is received by or on behalf of the agency or Minister, take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified that the request has been received.

It is 19 August 2022 today. More than fourteen days have passed after the day on which the request was received by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Please provide a notification of receipt of my request, as set out in the FOI Act.

Yours faithfully,

Louise

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

 

Our ref: FOI-2022-10089

 

Dear Louise

 

Freedom of Information request – Acknowledgment

I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated 3 August 2022, in which
you requested access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (FOI Act). I apologise for the delay in acknowledging your request,
it did not come to our team’s attention until yesterday. Your request for
documents was framed in the following way:

Under the FOI Act, I would like access to documents setting out the number
of:

a) active category 4 approaches at the date of this request; and

b) active category 5 approaches at the date of this request.

To be clear, I do not want a total number of active category 4 and 5
requests. I want the number of active category 4 requests and, separately,
I want the number of active category 5 requests.

Clarification

Our Office carries out a wide range of functions which involve complaint
handling e.g. Postal Industry Ombudsman, Private Health Insurance
Ombudsman etc. Can I confirm that you are seeking these total figures for
open category 4 and 5 approaches as a total figure across the whole Office
or is there a specific area which you are seeking these figures for?

The Commonwealth Ombudsman also carries out the role of the ACT Ombudsman
as part of our functions. Are you seeking the figures from this function
or are you solely seeking these approach figures at the Commonwealth
level?

Timeframes

You should expect a decision from us within 30 days from the date we
received your FOI request. This 30 day period may be extended if we need
to consult third parties, impose a charge (a fee for processing your
request) or for other reasons. We will let you know if this happens.

If you have any questions, you may contact me via email at
[1][email address].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Christopher Meli (he/him)

Legal Officer

Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Email: [2][email address]
Website: [3]ombudsman.gov.au

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Dear Mr Meli,

Thank you for confirming receipt of my FOI request.

I am seeking documents that contain those figures for the OCO's functions at the Commonwealth level. I am not interested in any ACT Ombudsman figures.

Yours sincerely,

Louise

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

 

Dear Louise

 

I am writing to seek your agreement to an extension of time in relation to
the request for information you made on 3 August 2022.

 

Under the FOI Act, a decision on your request is currently due on 2
September 2022.

 

All of our regular FOI processing staff have been unwell recently and this
has delayed the processing of your application.

 

I am therefore seeking your agreement to an extension of 14 days, so that
a decision on your request will be due by 16 September 2022.

 

Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Christopher Meli (he/him)

Legal Officer

Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Email: [1][email address]
Website: [2]ombudsman.gov.au

 

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Dear Mr Meli,

I'm not prepared to give the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman until 16 September 2022 to process a fairly simple request. I'll agree to an extension until the end of 5 September 2022. If you need time beyond that point, please contact the OAIC to request it.

Yours sincerely,

Louise

Dear Mr Meli,

Section 15AA of the FOI Act provides:

An agency or Minister may extend the period referred to in paragraph 15(5)(b) for dealing with a request, or that period as extended under subsection 15(6) or (8) (consultation), by a further period of no more than 30 days if:

a) the applicant agrees in writing to the extension; and
b) the agency or Minister gives written notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner as soon as practicable after the agreement is made.

I agreed to an extension of time until the end of 5 September 2022. I should like to think that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman complied with its obligations under the law and gave written notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner. I have not received a decision is response to my FOI request. Accordingly, unless an extension of time has been granted by the OAIC, a deemed refusal decision has been personally made by the Commonwealth Ombudsman under the FOI Act. If not evidence of an extension of time can be produced by close of business on 9 September 2022, I will file for IC review of the Commonwealth Ombudsman's deemed refusal decision.

To assist the OAIC I would like to note the reference number provided by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman when written notice of the agreement to an extension of time was provided to the OAIC in accordance with s 15AA(b) of the FOI Act.

Please provide any reference number issued by the OAIC in furtherance of its receipt of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman's written notice that an extension of time was agreed to until the end of 5 September 2022 by close of business on Friday 9 September 2022. Should you have any evidence of a grant of an extension of time from the OAIC, please provide that evidence by close of business on Friday 9 September 2022.

Yours sincerely,

Louise

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL

OFFICIAL
Louise

Attached please find a decision in relation to FOI-2022-10089.

I apologise for the delay in getting the decision to you.

Warm regards

Polly Porteous
Director
Legal team
COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN

Proud to be working on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation

Website: www.ombudsman.gov.au

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present.

show quoted sections