Private use of social media advice provided to employees

James Smith made this Right to Information request to Tasmanian Department of State Growth

The request was successful.

From: James Smith


Dear Tasmanian Department of State Growth,

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

I request documents related to the ten most recent instances where an employee has sought information, advice, guidance, or opinion on their social media use in a private capacity.

I limit the scope of documents to:
- the original request from the employee
- the agency/department's response
- any follow-up questions and response
- only those sent to a relevant HR / conduct / social media (or similar) team (rather than managers across all areas of the organisation)
- where the original request was created in the last 2 years

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

James Smith

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From: Right to Information (StateGrowth)
Tasmanian Department of State Growth

Dear Mr Smith,


I refer to your request through the Right to Know website seeking
Information relating to information, advice, guidance or opinion sought by
employees regarding their social media use in a private capacity.  I
apologise for the delay in responding to you.


You asked for your request to be treated as a request under the "Freedom
of Information Act".  In Tasmania, the relevant legislation is the Right
to Information Act 2009 (Tas) (“the RTI Act”), and I have considered your
request in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act.


Section 16 of the RTI Act requires that all applications for assessed
disclosure (in other words, “formal” applications) must be accompanied by
an application fee of 25 fee units.  Before an application can be
accepted, the fee must be paid or a decision to waive the fee must be
made.  The fee may only be waived in specific circumstances, namely where
the applicant is:

·         impecunious; or

·         a Member of Parliament acting in connect with his or her
official duty; or

·         able to show that he or she intends to use the information for a
purpose that is of general public interest or benefit.


There is no information with your request that enables me to determine
whether you wish to seek a waiver of the fee or whether you are eligible
to do so, or that you have paid the fee.  Under the RTI Act, I am
therefore unable to accept your application as a formal application for
assessed disclosure.


However, I note that the information you have requested is of a type that
(apart from third party personal information) may not require assessment
prior to release, and so could potentially be provided actively if you
agreed to have third party personal information withheld.  I therefore
arranged for a search to be conducted for information which may be
relevant to your request.


This resulted in no recorded instances in the last two years where an
employee of the Department has sought information, advice, guidance or
opinion from either the Department’s Communications or HR areas regarding
the employee’s private social media use.


I note that the Department’s employees are bound by the State Service Act
2000, which incorporate the State Service Principles and Code of Conduct. 
The principles include that the State Service is apolitical, performing
its functions in an impartial, ethical and professional manner.  The Code
of Conduct required employees to behave honestly and with integrity, to
maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings of, and information
acquired by, the employee in the course of their employment, and to at all
times behave in a way that does not adversely affect the integrity and
good reputation of the State Service.


More information about how the Department deals with its obligations under
the RTI Act is available on the website: 


I trust this information is of assistance to you.  If you require further
information, I invite you to contact the Department directly to discuss
your requirements.


Yours sincerely,




Alison Lander | Executive Officer (Right to Information, Privacy, Internal

Business Services | Department of State Growth

22 Elizabeth Street TAS 7000 | GPO Box 536, Hobart TAS 7001

Phone: (03) 6166 3293



Office hours – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday




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