Reliance Framework - MS Access database describing labels on Commonwealth forms

Patrick Conheady made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Finance

Department of Finance did not have the information requested.

From: Patrick Conheady

Delivered

Dear Department of Finance,

The document 'Analysis Approach - Department of Finance and Deregulation - Reliance Framework - 2 September 2011' (available at http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/... refers at page 2 to:

'A relational database, using MS Access, was built for data entry.'

This database was populated with lists of forms and the labels on those forms, with a view to identifying common labels which could be de-duplicated.

Please provide that MS Access database.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Conheady

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information section of the
Department of Finance (Finance).  We have received your email and will
endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible.

 

You may view Finance’s Freedom of Information procedures and processes on
[1]http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/foi.html

 

Further information relating to Freedom of Information can be found on the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s [2]website.

 

[3]Signature blocks-blue bar.jpg

Freedom of Information

Legal Services Branch

Department of Finance

 

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1. http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/foi.html
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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Attachment FOI 16 30 Decision Letter.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Conheady,

 

Please find attached, a decision letter in regards to your FOI request
(our reference number FOI 16/30).

 

Regards, Kira

[1]Department of Finance and Deregulation

FOI Officer

Legal Services Branch

Corporate Services Division

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [email address]

 

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: Patrick Conheady

Delivered

Dear Kira,

I don't understand the reference to machinery of government changes nor the reference to the Department not having 'responsibility' for the database.

At what point did the Department dispose of the database in question, or did it never have it in the first place?

Does somebody else have the database?

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Conheady

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


Attachment image001.jpg
0K Download


Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information section of the
Department of Finance (Finance).  We have received your email and will
endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible.

 

You may view Finance’s Freedom of Information procedures and processes on
[1]http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/foi.html

 

Further information relating to Freedom of Information can be found on the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s [2]website.

 

[3]Signature blocks-blue bar.jpg

Freedom of Information

Legal Services Branch

Department of Finance

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/foi.html
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

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From: Patrick Conheady

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

I refer to my email dated 5 April 2016 and your auto-response of the same date. I also refer to your Department's duties under the FOI Act to assist an FOI applicant to make an FOI application to the appropriate agency.

So far you have indicated that the Department 'does not hold responsibility for the database', a statement which, if read literally, means that the Department somehow does not have obligations under the Archives Act to preserve records related to the discharge of its policy-making and strategic advising functions. Is this an elaborate way of saying that the Department deleted it? Or does the database exist somewhere else?

I would be grateful for a response to my email dated 5 April 2016.

At what point did the Department dispose of the database in question, or did it never have it in the first place?

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Conheady

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Conheady

On 22 February 2016, you submitted an application under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, where you sought access to:

" The document 'Analysis Approach - Department of Finance and Deregulation - Reliance Framework - 2 September 2011' (available at http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/... refers at page 2 to:

'A relational database, using MS Access, was built for data entry.'

This database was populated with lists of forms and the labels on those forms, with a view to identifying common labels which could be de- duplicated.

Please provide that MS Access database."

In response to your FOI request the department provided you with a decision letter on 23 March 2016.

The object of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 as stated under s3 is to:

...
(b) provide for a right of access to documents.

The purpose of the FOI Act, therefore, is to provide an applicant with a decision regarding the release of a document, it is not for the purpose of answering a list of questions.

As you have noted, an agency has an obligation to "reasonably assist an applicant to make an FOI request" Should you require further assistance in understanding how to submit an FOI request under s15 of the FOI Act, I am more than happy to discuss this with you.

Kind Regards

Meagan Wilson | Assistant Director
Legal Services Branch
Business Enabling Services
Department of Finance
D: (02) 6215 3160 | E: [email address]
A: John Gorton Building, King Edward Terrace, PARKES ACT 2600

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From: Patrick Conheady

Delivered

Dear Meagan,

I thought I made this reasonably clear but I will try again.

Your agency's decision on my FOI request explains your agency's inability to find the database as:
'[T]he MS Access database function was subject to Machinery of Government changes in 2013. As such, Finance does not hold responsibility for the database'.

I have looked at the administrative arrangements orders from 2013 and can't see "MS Access database function" anywhere.

Overall your agency's explanation is ambiguous. In particular, it can be interpreted in at least two ways. The first possibility is that the agency destroyed the database in question in 2013. Another possibility is that the database moved to a different agency under Machinery of Government changes in 2013. I wish to confirm which is the case (or if there some other explanation).

At the very least, I would be grateful if you could confirm whether the database might be held by a different agency. This falls under section 15(4) of the FOI Act:
'Where a person has directed to an agency a request that should have been directed to another agency or to a Minister, it is the duty of the first-mentioned agency to take reasonable steps to assist the person to direct the request to the appropriate agency or Minister.'

So, I ask the question, does another agency have the database in question?

Could you please also advise whether the Department of Finance has an internal complaints-handling area and, if so, how to contact them? The information in the decision letter about lodging a complaint says to go directly to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, but the usual process is to formally complain directly to the agency first.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Conheady

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Conheady

I am able to confirm that the function as referred to in the Department's decision letter was subject to a Machinery of Government change in 2013 and moved to the Department of Human Services. You can direct your enquires to [email address].

You can lodge a complaint to the OAIC or the Commonwealth Ombudsman, I have included links below for your convenience .

https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Kind regards

Meagan Wilson | Assistant Director
Legal Services Branch
Business Enabling Services
Department of Finance
D: (02) 6215 3160 | E: [email address]
A: John Gorton Building, King Edward Terrace, PARKES ACT 2600

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