Telephone standards 111-05010040

Posty made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

The request was successful.

From: Posty

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

I request, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, copies of the following documents:

All documents contained within the file "Telephone standards 111-05010040" as listed on this page - referred to as your "Operational Blueprint" portal:

http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/...

This includes all four "tabs" on the page -

"Background", "Process", "References" and "Resources".

Should there be any charges - please break down the estimated processing time on each of the previously mentioned tabs on the page - including the total of ALL decision making time.

In the interests of speediness, I am willing to consider Administrative Access to said documents should the document be provided within 30 days of the sending of this email. After this time - the FOI act applies as normal in all instances.

Please note - Part I, Item 5 of the Schedule to the Charges Regulations, which provides that a charge may be imposed in respect of a request for access to a document for time spent by an agency ‘in deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to the document or to grant access to a copy of the document with deletions, including time spent ... in examining the document’. However, under this provision a charge may not be imposed for the first five hours of decision making time.

Yours faithfully,
Posty

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Attachment LEX35790 Registration Acknowledgement Letter.pdf
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Dear Posty

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Lucy

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Freedom of Information and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

Email [1][email address]

 

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This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Dear Posty

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Lucy

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Freedom of Information and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

Email [1][email address]

 

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This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear Lucy,

I've reviewed publicly available posts on righttoknow.org.au from the Department of Human Services, and I can see no other correspondence from a Lucy.

This leads me to believe that you may be new to the FOI section of DHS. Welcome!

To fill you in - recently I've been making extremely laser targeted requests of DHS - all of which have been granted at no cost (reference - LEX 34441, LEX35126) with zero search and retrieval fee. If you've decided to apply a fee all of a sudden, I'd recommend talking to your team leader and/or at least your departmental EL2 or SES officer and reconsidering this action as I will be charitable and chalk this up to a training error on your part.

Should this be an instruction from above you - I would take great caution on continuing down this path. I do not believe this is in the sprit of procedural fairness and that it is an attempt to cause detriment to myself for having made similar requests - an act in bad faith. I do not think this is proper use of commonwealth resources (in relation to human resource time) in accordance with the APS Code of Conduct - which is supported by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) which states in section 27:

"An official of a Commonwealth entity must not improperly use his or her position:

(a) to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or an advantage for himself or herself or any other person; or

(b) to cause, or seek to cause, detriment to the entity, the Commonwealth or any other person."

http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-...
https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-mana...

Put simply - I don't think "fair suck of the sauce bottle" applies when dealing with telephone standards and the publics right to operational information.

If you continue down this path of insisting a search and retrieval charge you are duty bound to report a suspected APS code of conduct violation.

Should any charge be allowed to stand - in any case - your estimation of 0.97 hours is laughably incorrect. This is an estimate of 58 minutes and 12 seconds to perform the likely following actions:

1) Open your web browser
2) load your operational portal intranet search page
3) search for the exact code of the file that I provided you - "Telephone standards 111-05010040" or even just "111-05010040"
4) copy that hyperlink result to your clipboard.

Note: this is precisely where all charges should stop - no malarkey about exporting to other formats like PDF, no opening an email to the person you need to discuss it with or considering it yourself for delivery to me - that is the entire scope of the FOI act in this regard as per section 4.25 of the FOI act:

"4.25 Search and retrieval time does not include time spent by agency officers, other than the decision maker, discussing and reviewing the results of search and retrieval activities.[4]"

I would like you to explain in full to the Office of the Information Commissioner exactly each single step that you take should you consider imposing any charge - I have no qualms about an external review should it be necessary (lets not go there shall we?).

I'd like to remind you yet again that section 4.5 of the FOI act states "[a] charge must not be used to unnecessarily delay access or discourage an applicant from exercising the right of access conferred by the FOI Act." I contend that this fee is being imposed precisely and exclusively for this purpose.

section 4.5 also states:
"Charges should fairly reflect the work involved in providing access to documents on request."

I estimate that a charitable estimate to perform the preceding four actions is five minutes. which at $15 an hour comes to a total charge of $1.25.

Given that "Charges are discretionary and should be justified on a case by case basis." - what is your justification for this charge? especially in comparison to almost identical requests I have already made?

"Agencies should encourage administrative access at no charge, where appropriate." given this minimal charge - this is precisely what should happen and please explain why this would be inappropriate.

I also dispute the charge on public interest grounds - it is currently of great public interest the phone services that Centrelink provide. to support this claim just look at the sheer amount of recent results for a google news search of "centrelink phone"

EG: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=centr... (psst I like this one http://junkee.com/centrelink-ultimate-fu... ).

One thousand two hundred and fifty new contractors are being employed in Centrelink's call centres - ensuring that they are all meeting the telephone standards expected is of paramount consequence. Knowing what those standards are is kind of required for that.

In addition I am not a man of significant financial means, I'm supporting my wife (unpaid leave) and a small child as well as a mortgage on a similar income as yourselves (Centrelink Band 3 (APS 5 & 6) I believe). times are tight. Holding public officials to account is the only hobby I can reasonably afford.

Given you ONLY accept payment by money order - the cost of an auspost money order is $8.95 which would bring a total maximum cost of $23.50. any impost of cost to us is not going to be of help to our family budget - there is mathematically a non zero chance it could cause financial hardship - therefore it is best to not impose any charge at all.

I reckon I could probably spare $1.25 if I rummage around my couch and you accepted EFT or paypal or roughly any form of modern banking technology developed in the past 100 years - but you shouldn't be imposing any charge anyway.

Lucy, you have some explaining to do or just post the file to the web already as you've done before please.

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Dear Posty

 

Thank you for your email.

 

We will notify you of a reconsideration of the charges within 30 days of
receiving your email.

 

Kind regards

 

Lucy

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Freedom of Information and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

Email [1][email address]

 

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This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Attachment LEX 35790 Reconsideration of charges Final.pdf
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Dear Posty

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Doug

FOI Practitioner

FOI Team

FOI and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

[1][email address]

[2]cid:image001.png@01D3F75C.42D45560

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear Doug,

What happened to Lucy, is she ok?

You're right, I did not notice that you had updated your boilerplate template sometime last year to include a online payment option - welcome to the early 2000's, it is a big step forward for DHS and by the length you went on about it I feel like you need a pat on the back, so this is me doing so in text form.

*pat pat*

I noticed you presented me with precisely two options.

perhaps you should read your own boilerplate again.

there are at least four options!

Now Doug, I know that you *really really want* there to be only the two options you presented, but thankfully we both don't live in the world where that's the case.

I'd like you to perform the internal review.

you know - the part directly under option b) where you said there were only two options:

"You can ask for a review of this decision
If you disagree with the decision to impose a charge, or the amount of the charge, you can
ask for a review. There are two ways you can do this. *You can ask for an internal review from
within the department*, or an external review by the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner. You do not have to pay for reviews of decisions. "

It will be very illuminating to see how far up the management chain you can cock this incredibly simple request up.

Sorry for the delay in reply, I had been contemplating a much longer reply but I realised that the effort would be completely wasted - much like your eight page reply including legal citations for a $14.55 charge.

While you're off looking up new cites on austlii or jade, perhaps you can google "De minimis".

or, I like the way that section 4.4 of the FOI guidelines puts it - emphasis mine:

"4.4 Agencies and ministers should interpret the ‘lowest reasonable cost’ objective broadly in imposing any charges under the FOI Act. That is, an agency or minister should have regard to the lowest reasonable cost to the applicant, to the agency or minister, and the Commonwealth as a whole. *Where the cost of calculating and collecting a charge might exceed the cost to the agency to process the request, it would generally be more appropriate not to impose a charge.[2] In assessing the costs of calculating and collecting a charge, agencies should also take into account the likely costs that may be incurred by the agency, as well as other review bodies, if the applicant decides to seek further review.*"

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Posty

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that the department has received your request for internal review of charges issued in relation to request LEX 35790 and will provide you with an internal review decision by no later than 24 July 2018.

Kind Regards

Ashleigh
Freedom of Information and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division
Department of Human Services
Email [email address]

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete this email.

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Dear Posty

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your request.

 

Regards

 

Bruce

FOI and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

[1]cid:image001.png@01CF8C5E.459B3DD0

 

 

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

Hey thought you should know.

I requested an external review from OAIC.

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


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Dear Posty

 

Please find attached the Department of Human Services' decision under
section 55G of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) in relation to
your request.

 

Regards

 

Isabella

FOI Legal Team

Employment Law and FOI Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
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Dear Posty,

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your freedom of
information request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Vincent

FOI Practitioner
FOI Team
Employment Law and FOI Branch – Legal Services Division
Department of Human Services

[1][email address]

 

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This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear Lucy, Doug, Ashleigh, Bruce, Isabella, Vincent and maybe Nicola,

Firstly - Thank you for finally doing the right thing and posting the Telephone standards 111-05010040 document to your Operational Blueprint internet portal.

I would like you all to consider:

Why did we have to go through ten months of delay and bother two government departments for that? You should all be ashamed of yourselves - you each played your own part in this. I had to drag you kicking and screaming to this conclusion.

However if I read your document LEX 35790 dated today Nov 19th you would scarcely note that the cause for this release was my FOI request.

The information as if by osmosis decided to appear on the website one day rendering my request complete.

No, the only reason this information exists is because I fought for it and I'm guessing (hoping) Nicola made the right decision here to put it online.

Even in your own prior dealings with myself for *the exact same reason* you have asked whether I withdraw my request - ATTN Ashleigh LEX35126.

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/f...

Where the information was provided in a "speedy" fashion I'd consider it permissible to not update your FOI log and just close it - but this request where you fought me tooth and nail every step of the way? No. The FOI Act is what made sure this information was disclosed to the public, and as such should be recognised.

I will consider this request withdrawn when you update your FOI Disclosure log as it should be and not a minute earlier.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organis...

I'll save you some time and template up what it should say:

"
Date: 19th November 2018

Operational blueprint documents (LEX 35790).

111-05010040 Telephone standards

One document released in full. Available on the Department of Human Services Operational Blueprint website.

Sections of the Act: N/A

Exemptions: N/A

"

I believe this should be able to be easily accomplished by Friday the 23rd of November.

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

*taps mic* is this thing on?

I just noticed you updated the FOI log on the 26th november yet there features no update as per my previous contact?

could you please confirm receipt of my email dated november 19th?

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Posty

As set out in the department's correspondence, dated 19 November 2018, the department published the document you were seeking on the Information Publication Scheme and has taken your FOI request to be withdrawn.

If you would like to discuss further, please provide a telephone number and a convenient time to call.

Kind regards

Nicola
Employment Law and FOI Branch | Legal Services Division
Department of Human Services

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