Records relating to consultations ABS had with OAIC regarding Census 2016

Verity Pane made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The request was partially successful.

From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

In the ABS' written responses to Questions on Notice for Senate Inquiry into the 2016 Census, the ABS stated "A wide range of government agencies were consulted during the development and implementation of the 2016 Census including but not limited to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner".

I request copy of those records held by the OAIC that relate to those consultations that the ABS said it had with the OAIC, particularly in relation to the linkages of Census collected information to other external data collections of PI. Given the privacy issues fallout relating to the considerably expanded scope of how the ABS intends to use Census data to leverage other PI held by other bodies, which is not related to the primary purposes of collection of that data, there is a considerable and significant public interest factor.

I request that the OAIC provide a schedule of all documents falling within the scope of this FOI request, as part of the FOI decision, as strongly recommended in the OAIC's FOI Guidelines to agencies.

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

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From: Amanda Nowland
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our reference: FOIREQ16/00046

Dear Ms Pane

Freedom of Information Request no. 16/00046

I refer to your request for access to documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982.  I have taken your request to be for:

Documents held by the OAIC that relate to consultations with the ABS
during the development and implementation of the 2016 Census, particularly
in relation to the linkages of Census collected information to other
external data collections of personal information.

We received your request on 25 October 2016 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 24 November 2016. 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.

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log, subject to certain exceptions.
(For example, personal information will not be published where this would
be unreasonable.)

We will contact you using the email address you provided. Please advise if
you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

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

Your Sincerely,

Amanda Nowland | Deputy Director | Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9646 | E-mail: [2][email address]

Please note, I work Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

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References

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1. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Amanda Nowland
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our Ref: FOIREQ16/00046

 

Dear Ms Pane

 

Further to my email to you on 1 November 2016, I am writing to confirm the
scope of your request and to also seek an agreement to extend the
processing period under s 15AA.

 

Scope of your request

You requested access to documents held by the OAIC that relate to
consultations with the ABS during the development and implementation of
the 2016 Census, particularly in relation to the linkages of Census
collected information to other external data collections of personal
information.

 

We would be grateful if you could confirm whether you are willing to
exclude from the scope of your request:

·         duplicates of documents

·         names and direct contact details of officers.

Consultation and request for extension to processing period

Your request was received by the OAIC on 25 October 2016 and the 30 day
statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after
that date.

Due to consultations with the Australian Bureau of Statistics that do not
fall within the consultation provisions of ss 26A, 26AA, 27 and 27A which
extend the processing time, we are seeking your permission to extend the
processing time by an extra 10 days to allow us to process your request.
This means the date you can expect to receive a decision from us is no
later than 05/12/2016.

Unless we hear otherwise from you by 24 November 2016, we propose to treat
this as an extension of time by agreement under the FOI Act (s15AA).  If,
however, you have any concerns with that timeframe, please let us know by
either emailing me or contacting me on the numbers set out below.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Amanda Nowland | Deputy Director | Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au
Phone:  +61 2 9284 9646/1300 363 992 | E-mail:
[2][email address
Please note, I work Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

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1. https://apac01.safelinks.protection.outl...
2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Amanda Nowland,

You may exclude copies of documents that are already part of the FOI response (duplicate copies unnecessary).

As you should be aware, the routine disclosure of information about the names, and positions of government employees in the conduct of public functions is an accepted element in the transparency and accountability framework within which government operates.

Where public servants’ name or position is included in a document because of their usual duties or responsibilities, it would not be unreasonable to disclose unless special circumstances existed. This is because the information would reveal only that the public servant was performing their public duties. Such information may often also be publicly available, such as on an agency website.

Where access is sought to information about an individual’s work related activities in the agency, such as the name of an employee, or the manner in which the individual carried out tasks, it is unlikely that disclosure would be unreasonable unless the information went beyond work related matters to the personality, private characteristics or disposition of the individual.

The fact that a person is a public servant, and that their name and position is recorded on an official document, as part of their performance of their usual duties as an official, does not involve the disclosure of information concerning their personal affairs. Essentially what is disclosed is that the person took part in the passage of official information, and disclosure is part of the transparency and accountability intended by the objects and purposes of the FOI Act.

I consent, however, to other details such as email addresses, telephone numbers, etc of public servants being redacted in any documents that fall within the scope of this FOI Request.

In regards to your request for consent to an extension, given that you did not seek this consent any earlier than the statutory due date for this FOI, nor have outlined any reasonable grounds as to why the OAIC has not processed this FOI within the statutory deadline beyond some inferred consultations (which the OAIC had responsibility to manage within the statutory timeframe, or at least notify at the earliest opportunity if it considered such activity would run over that statutory timeframe), it would seem inappropriate to extend such consent that you seek.

I would urge the OAIC, as the agency responsible for ensuring good practice in Commonwealth FOI management, to quickly resolve this now overdue FOI.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

Link to this

From: Rocelle Ago
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


Attachment FOIREQ16 00046 Decision.pdf
197K Download View as HTML


Freedom of Information Request no. 16/00046

 

Dear Ms Pane

 

Please find attached the decision in relation to your request.

 

Kind regards

 

Rocelle Ago | Director | Freedom of Information Dispute Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9621 | E-mail: [2][email address]

 

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1. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Rocelle Ago,

Thank you for your decision, but your response has not included the documents or the schedule (you have only provided the notification of your decision).

Can you please provide both the schedule and the documents as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

Link to this

From: Amanda Nowland
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


Attachment Schedule of documents.pdf
131K Download View as HTML

Attachment FOIREQ1600046 Documents.pdf
10.9M Download View as HTML


 

 

Our Ref: FOIREQ16/00046

 

Dear Ms Pane,

 

Please find attached the documents relevant to the FOI decision issued by
the OAIC on 24 November 2016.

 

Please contact me if you have any questions relating to this decision.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Amanda

 

Amanda Nowland | Deputy Director | Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9646 | E-mail: [2][email address]

Please note, I work Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

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1. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. mailto:[email address]

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