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Records relating to the Information Commissioner's views on FOI requirements the Department does not comply with

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Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

For the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, I request copy of records held by the Department regarding how it resolves its practices of failing to comply with the Information Commissioner's guidance in (page numbers refer to documents in file https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/6... ):

* making FOI EOT requests "early in the processing cycle" instead of after a deemed decision, or only a day or two before a processing period expires (pages 80 and 89);

* distinguishing between the disclosure of SES officer names and other officer names (despite the clear guidance given in Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and Department of Immigration and Border Protection [2015] AICmr 85);

* failing to identify the full name of delegates (Page 141, section 26(1)(b) FOI Act, Bartucciotto and Commissioner for Complaints [2006] AATA 36, Dreyfus and Attorney-General [2015] AATA 995, Lever and Australian Federal Police [2017] AATA 1407, 'AH' and Australian Federal Police [2013] AICmr 59, Rudd and Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2013] AICmr 87, 'BB' and Department of Human Services [2014] AICmr 11, Stephen Waller and Department of Environment [2014] AICmr 133, John Mullen and Australian Aged Care Quality Agency [2017] AICmr 11, 'MA' and Department of Veterans Affairs [2017] AICmr 72, Maria Jackel and Department of Immigration and Border Protection [2017] AICmr 101, Reece Walters and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority [2019] AICmr 9, 'FM' and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [2015] AICmr 31, and 'PO' and Australian Federal Police [2018] AICmr); and

* failing to provide direct access on FOI disclosure logs to released material (as detailed at page 102 and 105), which the Information Commissioner describes as "an unnecessary barrier to accessing government information".

Sincerely

Julie

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

Dear Julie

 

Acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information (FOI) Request – FOI 40240

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act).

 

Your request was received by the Department on 14 January 2021, and was
made in the following terms:

 

‘…For the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, I request copy of
records held by the Department regarding how it resolves its practices of
failing to comply with the Information Commissioner's guidance in (page
numbers refer to documents in file
[1]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/6...
):

 

* making FOI EOT requests "early in the processing cycle" instead of after
a deemed decision, or only a day or two before a processing period expires
(pages 80 and 89);

 

* distinguishing between the disclosure of SES officer names and other
officer names (despite the clear guidance given in Maurice Blackburn
Lawyers and Department of Immigration and Border Protection [2015] AICmr
85);

 

* failing to identify the full name of delegates (Page 141, section
26(1)(b) FOI Act, Bartucciotto and Commissioner for Complaints [2006] AATA
36, Dreyfus and Attorney-General [2015] AATA 995, Lever and Australian
Federal Police [2017] AATA 1407, 'AH' and Australian Federal Police [2013]
AICmr 59, Rudd and Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2013] AICmr 87, 'BB'
and Department of Human Services [2014] AICmr 11, Stephen Waller and
Department of Environment [2014] AICmr 133, John Mullen and Australian
Aged Care Quality Agency [2017] AICmr 11, 'MA' and Department of Veterans
Affairs [2017] AICmr 72, Maria Jackel and Department of Immigration and
Border Protection [2017] AICmr 101, Reece Walters and Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority [2019] AICmr 9, 'FM' and Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade [2015] AICmr 31, and 'PO' and Australian Federal Police
[2018] AICmr); and

 

* failing to provide direct access on FOI disclosure logs to released
material (as detailed at page 102 and 105), which the Information
Commissioner describes as "an unnecessary barrier to accessing government
information...’

 

The Department has 30 days to finalise your request. The 30 day statutory
timeframe commenced the day after your request was received by the
Department.

 

Ordinarily you should expect a decision from the Department by 15 February
2021.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

There are times when the timeframe for processing your request might be
extended by an additional 30 days. This can occur where an extension of
time has been agreed to by yourself under section 15AA of the FOI Act or
where the OAIC has granted an extension of time under sections 15AB or
15AC of the FOI Act.

 

In addition, if documents you seek contain information of third parties
and the Department is of the view that is practical to consult with the
third parties, then the Department will be afforded an additional 30 days
to undertake that consolation process (see sections 15(6), 26A, 27 and 27A
of the FOI Act).

 

The Department will advise you if a third party consultation process is
required and of the revised due date for your request to be finalised by.

 

Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act). As you are
seeking access to your own personal information, charges will not apply.
However, if a practical refusal consultation process is required, the
Department will notify you.

 

Communication with you

 

The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address which we can send
notices to. You have advised your electronic address is
[2][FOI #7017 email]. We will send all notices
and correspondence to this address. Please advise us if you wish
correspondence to be sent to another address or if your address changes.
If you do not advise us of changes to your address, correspondence and
notices will continue to be sent to the address specified above.

 

FOI Disclosure log – Publication of documents released under the FOI Act

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may be published
in a disclosure log on the Department’s website at
[3]https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview....
Section 11C of the FOI Act requires this publication, however it is
subject to certain exceptions, including where publication of personal,
business, professional or commercial information would be unreasonable.

 

When a decision is provided to you, the Department will advise if the
documents released to you will be published on the Department’s FOI
Disclosure log.

 

Contacting us about your FOI request

 

We will email again when the Department has more information. Should you
have any enquiries concerning this matter, please send an email to
[4][email address].

 

Further information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the
OAIC at [5]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Tayla (Position Number 62213294)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [6][email address]

A: GPO Box 9998, Canberra, ACT, 2601 | W: [7]www.dva.gov.au

 

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Julie please sign in and let everyone know.