Outcome of recruitment process 493127/AGD - First Assistant Secretary - Senior Executive Service Band 2

JPK made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

The request was successful.

From: JPK

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department,

Pursuant to the FOI Act I seek access to any document relating to the recruitment process 493127/AGD - First Assistant Secretary - Senior Executive Service Band 2.

I do not seek access to any personal information of recruitment applicants contained in the documents. These can be redacted as irrelevant to the request.

Yours faithfully

JPK

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear JPK

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST FOI17/008

 

I refer to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act) to the Attorney‑General’s Department (the department) for:

[A]ny document relating to the recruitment process 493127/AGD - First
Assistant Secretary - Senior Executive Service Band 2. 

I do not seek access to any personal information of recruitment applicants
contained in the documents.  These can be redacted as irrelevant to the
request.

 

We received your request on 7 January 2017 and the 30 day statutory period
for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You
should therefore expect a decision from us by 6 February 2017. The period
of 30 days may be extended if we need to consult third parties or for
other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

 

As well as acknowledging receipt of your request, in this email we are
also intending to:

·         discuss issues with the large scope of your request as it
stands and invite you to consider reducing its scope, as well as
suggesting information that we may be able to provide to you without
exemptions

·         highlight implications of processing this particular request
via the Right To Know website, and

·         note the department’s standard practice of redacting the
names and contact details of junior officers.

 

Reducing the scope of your request

We note that your request is likely to cover a very large number of
documents, and would require extensive searches to be conducted to
identify all documents possibly falling within the scope of your request. 
To be able to continue to process your request, we will need to ask you to
more specifically identify the particular documents or types of documents
you are seeking.  As your request currently stands it is likely that the
department would be obliged to issue you with a notice of our intention to
refuse your request on practical refusal grounds, under section 24 of the
FOI Act.  However before we take this step, we are willing to invite you
to narrow the scope of your request and be more specific about the
particular information, or types of documents, you are seeking. 

 

Below we have set out the reasons why your request as it stands is likely
to result in a practical refusal notice, and we have set out some
suggestions for reducing its scope.  We have also identified some
categories of documents which the department may be able to release to you
in full or with only minor redactions.

 

Because the statutory timeframe for processing your request is continuing
to run, we would ask that you respond to us by
COB Thursday 19 January 2017, or earlier if possible, with any revisions
you wish to make to the scope of your request.  If we have not heard from
you by this time, we will proceed to issue a practical refusal notice.  We
note that you would still have the opportunity to reduce the scope of your
request once this notice is issued.

 

Processing of your request

Searching for documents would require a number of the department’s most
senior staff, as well as their advisers and assistants, to search their
emails and identify all emails and other documents they hold that relate
to the recruitment process you have referred to.  This would necessarily
be a very time‑consuming task for various senior departmental staff and
their assistants, who naturally face significant other commitments.  In
large parts, this task could not be delegated to more junior staff, given
that emails would need to be searched for and examined by the personal
owners of mailboxes.

 

While many documents relating to the recruitment process will be of a
personal nature to applicants and could be excluded as irrelevant to your
request, we expect there will be a large number of documents which will
include both personal and non‑personal information, and a large number
of documents for which it will not be immediately apparent whether
personal information is involved.  Therefore, processing your request
would necessarily require a very significant number of documents to be
examined individually. 

 

Once documents potentially within the scope of your request have been
identified and collated, these documents will then need to be examined
individually to identify which documents are in scope and which will
require exemptions or redactions.  The inherent nature of recruitment
processes means that it is likely that significant exemptions and
redactions will apply, particularly for documents created for the purposes
of decisions on the outcomes of the process being made. 

 

Suggestions for reducing the scope of your request

We have identified some possible ways that might reduce the scope your
request:

·         only include documents for a particular stage or stages of the
recruitment process

·         exclude documents for a particular stage or stages of the
recruitment process – in particular, stages where it is likely that
significant exemptions will apply, such as stages where the merits and
claims of applicants are being considered

·         only include documents within a particular date range, and

·         exclude documents regarding the organisation of the process –
for example, documents relating to the venue, catering, panel composition.

 

The above should not be read as an indication that agreeing to these
suggestions would remove the basis for a practical refusal notice – the
department would be obliged to consider the impact on the number of
documents within the scope of any revised request and potentially still
proceed with a practical refusal notice.  However, the above options may
assist.  We also ask that you consider other ways in which you can narrow
the scope of your request.

 

Documents that might be made available to you

We note that a number of documents that we anticipate will fall within the
scope of the request are either available publicly already, or were
previously available publicly.  The department would have no issue with
providing you with documents of this nature in full, or with only minor
redactions.  Documents of this kind include:

·         the advertisement of the position and associated documents such
as the vacancy information kit, etc

·         information about, for example, the numbers of applicants,
gender balance, diversity details etc, and

·         outcome notification documents published on the APS Gazette.

 

Please advise us if receiving these types of documents would satisfy you. 
If so, we would ask that you withdraw your FOI request.  This is because
whenever an FOI request remains with an agency, that agency is under a
statutory obligation to process and make a final decision on it.

 

FOI request made via Right To Know website

We note that you have made your FOI request via the Right To Know website,
which means that all correspondence between you and this department will
be automatically made available online, including any attachments to
emails.  The department has no in‑principle objections to processing
FOI requests made via this forum, however we note that the nature of the
particular request you have made – for documents created as part of a
recruitment process – is inherently likely to cover a large number of
documents that would not be appropriate for wide public availability.  The
inherent nature of recruitment processes is that candidates and assessors
prepare documents in the expectation that these will be treated in
confidence and certainly not be available to the general public.  We note
that your exclusion of personal information about applicants may
ameliorate this concern to some extent, but it is unlikely to avoid all
issues of this kind. 

 

On that basis, for this request we ask that you consider proceeding with
your request using a different, private email address.  If you wish to do
so, we simply ask that you email this mailbox from a different email
address, referencing the FOI reference number at the top of this email.

 

Redaction of names and contact details of junior officers

It is the usual practice of the department to not disclose the names and
contact details of junior officers of the department and other government
agencies, where that personal information is contained in documents within
the scope of a request.  The names and contact details of senior officers
will generally be disclosed.  We will take it that you agree to the
removal of junior officers’ personal information unless you advise that
you would like us to consider releasing that information as part of the
documents you have requested.

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log
[1]http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtection...,
subject to certain exceptions. (For example, personal information will not
be published where this would be unreasonable.)

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Strategy and Delivery
Division

Attorney-General's Department | 3-5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
(: (02) 6141 6666  *: [2][AGD request email]

 

 

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From: JPK

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

Thank you for your email of 17 January about my FOI request. At this stage and subject to the department's response to this email, I do not intend to withdraw the request. The department will need to continue to process the request.

Your email refers to practical refusal reasons, but does not appear to satisfy the requirements of a practical refusal consultation notice as required by section 24AB of the FOI Act. Please confirm whether this is such a notice and if it purports to be how it satisfies the requirements of section 24AB. In particular I note that a consultation notice is meant to provide at least 14 days for an applicant to respond. The department has sought a response within 2 days.

Your email also states that in order to respond to the request a number of the "department's most senior staff" would have to personally search their email records. I ask that you clarify the basis for such a claim. Does the department not have the ability to carry out a centralised search of emails on a particular topic? Does it not have in place appropriate record keeping policies for managing email records that may be relevant to a request? I note that para 3.101 of the OAIC FOI guidelines make clear that "poor record keeping or an ineffective the filing systems" would not of themselves provide grounds for a claim that processing the request is a substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources.

Your email also requests that I provide an alternative to the right to know website in order to communicate with the department. I would be grateful if you could advise me on what basis under the FOI Act you can ask an applicant to communicate with a department in a particular manner.

Subject to your responses to these issues I am considering the comments about the scope of the request. In the meantime, I would be grateful if the department can refer me to the publicly available information about the recruitment exercise. I reiterate, the original request is not withdrawn and the department continues to have a statutory obligation to respond to it.

Yours sincerely,

JPK

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From: JPK

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

I would be grateful for an update in relation to this request and an answer to the questions raised in my email of 17 January responding to AGD's email of 17 January.

Yours sincerely,

JPK

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James Baldwin left an annotation ()

I don't think AGD were trying to issue a notice under section 24AB. In their letter dated 17 January 2017 they state that if the applicant doesn't revise the scope, they will issue a practical refusal notice, but they also say that the applicant will have the opportunity to review the scope at that time.

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment 201702031237.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear JPK

Freedom of Information request FOI 17/008

Attached is a notice of intention to practically refuse, in respect of
your Freedom of Information request.

Before the decision maker makes a decision, you have the opportunity to
revise your request. You have 14 days to respond to this notice.

If you would like to revise your request or have any questions please
contact the Freedom of Information and Privacy Section on (02) 6141 6666
or by e-mail [1][AGD request email].

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Strategy and Delivery

Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
T: +61 (02) 6141 6666  E: [2][AGD request email]

 

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Privacy Collection Notice

When you make a request for documents or an inquiry about privacy matters,
the Attorney-General’s Department will only collect your personal
information where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to,
our functions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act
1988. We may collect your name, email address and telephone number so that
we can contact you about your request under the Freedom of Information Act
for access to documents or access to, or correction of, personal
information; or a complaint you have made or your request for access to,
or correction of, personal information under the Privacy Act. If your
request concerns your personal information, we will collect the minimum
amount of evidence necessary to verify your identity. The handling of your
personal information is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and our privacy
policy is available at http://www.ag.gov.au/Pages/Privacystatem....
If you have an enquiry or complaint about your privacy, please contact the
Privacy Contact Officer on 02 6141 2660 or via e-mail [email address].

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2. mailto:[AGD request email]

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From: JPK

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

I revise my request to seek access to documents about this recruitment process that discuss or refer to the likely number of vacancies that the process would be used to fill and the number of applications received, the number of applicant interviews and the number of applicants whose referees were approached for comment.

Any other information (eg personal information about applicants or assessment of merits etc) is not the subject of my request and should be excluded. Documents that are publicly available and refer to the likely number of vacancies are also excluded.

Yours sincerely,

JPK

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


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UNCLASSIFIED

15 February 2017

 

 

JPK

By email: [FOI #2919 email]

Dear JPK  

Freedom of Information Request no. FOI17/008

Confirmation of revised scope

 

Thank you for your email dated 14 February 2017 providing the revised
scope of your request, in response to the Practical Refusal notice issued
to you on 3 February 2017.  

 

Practical refusal reason and revised scope

I can confirm that the practical refusal reason has now been removed due
to your revision of scope, and your request can be processed. You have
revised the scope of your request to the following:  

‘Documents about this recruitment process that discuss or refer to the
likely number of vacancies that the process would be used to fill and the
number of applications received, the number of applicant interviews and
the number of applicants whose referees were approached for comment.’

 

As advised in the Practical Refusal notice, the 14 day consultation
process is not included in the 30 day statutory time limit for processing
your request. As the department received your revised request on the 14
February 2017 the consultation period ends on this date under sub-section
24AB(8) FOI Act. Accordingly, the processing period for your request will
now end on 17 February 2017.

Yours sincerely

 

Monique

FOI- Legal Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Strategy and Delivery
Division

Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
(: (02) 6141 6666  *: [1][AGD request email]

 

[2]2586 Indigenous signature block NEW

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Privacy Collection Notice

When you make a request for documents or an inquiry about privacy matters,
the Attorney-General s Department will only collect your personal
information where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to,
our functions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act
1988. We may collect your name, email address and telephone number so that
we can contact you about your request under the Freedom of Information Act
for access to documents or access to, or correction of, personal
information; or a complaint you have made or your request for access to,
or correction of, personal information under the Privacy Act. If your
request concerns your personal information, we will collect the minimum
amount of evidence necessary to verify your identity. The handling of your
personal information is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and our privacy
policy is available at http://www.ag.gov.au/Pages/Privacystatem....
If you have an enquiry or complaint about your privacy, please contact the
Privacy Contact Officer on 02 6141 2660 or via e-mail [email address].

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


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Attachment 201702170819.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear JPK  

 

Please find attached the signed decision letter released in respect of
your Freedom of Information request FOI 16/170.

 

Kind regards

 

Monique

FOI- Legal Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Strategy and Delivery
Division

Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
(: (02) 6141 6666  *: [1][AGD request email]

 

[2]2586 Indigenous signature block NEW

 

 

show quoted sections

Privacy Collection Notice

When you make a request for documents or an inquiry about privacy matters,
the Attorney-General’s Department will only collect your personal
information where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to,
our functions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act
1988. We may collect your name, email address and telephone number so that
we can contact you about your request under the Freedom of Information Act
for access to documents or access to, or correction of, personal
information; or a complaint you have made or your request for access to,
or correction of, personal information under the Privacy Act. If your
request concerns your personal information, we will collect the minimum
amount of evidence necessary to verify your identity. The handling of your
personal information is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and our privacy
policy is available at http://www.ag.gov.au/Pages/Privacystatem....
If you have an enquiry or complaint about your privacy, please contact the
Privacy Contact Officer on 02 6141 2660 or via e-mail [email address].

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From: JPK

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

JPK

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