Veteran Centric Reforms

Julie made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Veterans' Affairs

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Veterans' Affairs of their handling of this request.

From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

Can the Department provide a summary list of all Veteran Centric Reform programs undertaken since it's announcement in the 2017-2018 budget?

Would also be interested in any summary or evaluation documents relating to the Department's two-year pilot of behaviour-informed design and trial of small-scale policy interventions, referred to in https://www.dva.gov.au/sites/default/fil...

Yours faithfully,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie,

 

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 3 July 2020, and was made
in the following terms:

 

… Can the Department provide a summary list of all Veteran Centric Reform
programs undertaken since it's announcement in the 2017-2018 budget?

 

Would also be interested in any summary or evaluation documents relating
to the Department's two-year pilot of behaviour-informed design and trial
of small-scale policy interventions, referred to in
[1]https://www.dva.gov.au/sites/default/fil......

 

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 3 August
2020.

 

Interrupted work practices impacted by COVID-19

The Department is continuing to work through its FOI case load as quickly
as possible. However, the Department is and will continue to experience an
interruption in the way it will be able to manage FOI requests.

 

As you are likely to be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a
pandemic by the World Health Organisation. As the Department focuses its
efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19 on its critical services and
employees, other non-critical services may not be delivered within
expected timeframes. It is possible that during this time, business areas
that would ordinarily have capacity to undertake searches and assist in
the processing of FOI requests may not be readily available to provide
that assistance. This may have an impact on the manner and timeframe in
which the Department can process FOI requests.

 

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and
cooperation during this period.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

The current due date may be extended by up to 30 days if agreed by you
(section 15AA of the FOI Act). Also, the due date may be extended by an
additional 30 days in each instance, if your request is considered
voluminous or complex (section 15AB of the FOI Act) or if the Department
is required to undertake a third party consultation (sections 26A, 27 or
27A of the FOI Act). If any of these extensions apply, the Department will
notify you.

 

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) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, 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 #6463 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....

 

Kind regards,

 

Famida (Position Number 62212449)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[6][email address] | [7]www.dva.gov.au

 

[8]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie,

 

I am writing to notify you that the Department has identified over 200
pages relevant to the scope the of your request and unfortunately we are
not in a position to finalise a decision on this request by today. As
such, given the volume of documents identified we will be seeking an
extension of time by 30 days from the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) under section 15AB of the [1]Freedom of Information
Act 1982. I apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause. We are
working on processing your FOI as efficiently as possible and will inform
you of any extensions of time granted by the OAIC. We will work towards
issuing you with a decision prior to the extended period if possible.

 

If you have any questions, please email [2][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Famida (Position Number 62212449)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

IMPORTANT: This document contains legal advice and may be subject to legal
professional privilege. Unless it is waived or lost, legal professional
privilege is a rule of law that, in part, provides that the client need
not disclose confidential communications between a legal practitioner and
client. To keep this privilege, the purpose and content of this advice
must only be disclosed to persons who have a need to know and on the basis
that those persons also keep it confidential.

You should consider this advice and take it into account when forming a
decision on how best to proceed. If you decide to adopt a position that
does not align with this advice, you should not state that DVA Legal
Services & Audit Branch has cleared or endorsed a particular position.

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From: Carl English


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Our reference: RQ20/02874

Agency reference: 36929

Julie

Sent by email: [FOI #6463 email]

Extension of time application by the Department of Veterans' Affairs

Dear Julie

I write to advise that on 31 July 2020 the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner (the OAIC) received an application from the
Department of Veterans' Affairs (the Department) for an extension of
time, to process your FOI request.

The Department has applied for an extension of time under s 15AB of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) because your request is considered
to be voluminous and complex.

The Department has advised the OAIC that:

·      Search minutes were sent to three different departmental business
areas on 13 July 2020. As of 31 July 2020, one business area is yet to
finalise its response in respect of the FOI request.

·      At this stage, the Department has identified over 200 pages of
documents relevant to the scope of the request.

·      The Department’s initial review indicates that there may be a
number of potential sensitivities within the documents including
operational and deliberative material.

·      The Department requests an extension on this FOI request to allow
for one business area to provide its response in relation to the FOI
request, conduct further consultation with the business areas involved, to
review the documents, consider and apply redactions and draft and finalise
a decision.

The Department has requested an extension to 2 September 2020. I will
take any comments you may have to make into account when deciding the
application.

Please respond to this email by close of business 5 August 2020. If I do
not hear from you by this date, I will proceed to make a decision on the
basis of the information provided to me by the Department.

You will be notified of the decision once the matter has been finalised.

Further information about [1]extension of time requests may be found on
our website.

Contact

If you have any questions, please contact me on 02 9284 9745 or via email
[email address]. In all correspondence please include the
reference number at the top of this email.

Yours sincerely

 

[2][IMG]   Carl English  | Review Adviser (Legal)

Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [3]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9745  | 
[4][email address]
[5][IMG] | [6][IMG] | [7][IMG] |    

 

 

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From: Carl English


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Attachment RQ20 02874 Extension of time under s 15AB.pdf
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Our reference: RQ20/02874

Agency reference: 36929

Julie

 

Sent by email: [FOI #6463 email]

Extension of time under s 15AB

Dear Julie

Please find correspondence in relation to your FOI request to the
Department of Veterans' Affairs attached.

Kind regards

[1][IMG]   Carl English  | Review Adviser (Legal)

Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9745  | 
[3][email address]
[4][IMG] | [5][IMG] | [6][IMG] |    

 

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie,

 

Further to my email below, I can confirm that the Department of Veterans’
Affairs (the Department) has been granted an extension of time by the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner under section 15AB of
the [1]Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

The Department has until 2 September 2020 to finalise a decision for your
FOI request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Famida (Position Number 62212449)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[2][email address] | [3]www.dva.gov.au

p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

[4]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

From: INFORMATION.LAW
Sent: Monday, 3 August 2020 2:46 PM
To: '[FOI #6463 email]'
Cc: INFORMATION.LAW
Subject: Application for Extension of Time under Section 15AB of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear Julie,

 

I am writing to notify you that the Department has identified over 200
pages relevant to the scope the of your request and unfortunately we are
not in a position to finalise a decision on this request by today. As
such, given the volume of documents identified we will be seeking an
extension of time by 30 days from the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) under section 15AB of the [5]Freedom of Information
Act 1982. I apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause. We are
working on processing your FOI as efficiently as possible and will inform
you of any extensions of time granted by the OAIC. We will work towards
issuing you with a decision prior to the extended period if possible.

 

If you have any questions, please email [6][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Famida (Position Number 62212449)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

[7]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

IMPORTANT: This document contains legal advice and may be subject to legal
professional privilege. Unless it is waived or lost, legal professional
privilege is a rule of law that, in part, provides that the client need
not disclose confidential communications between a legal practitioner and
client. To keep this privilege, the purpose and content of this advice
must only be disclosed to persons who have a need to know and on the basis
that those persons also keep it confidential.

You should consider this advice and take it into account when forming a
decision on how best to proceed. If you decide to adopt a position that
does not align with this advice, you should not state that DVA Legal
Services & Audit Branch has cleared or endorsed a particular position.

show quoted sections

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Famida (Position Number 62212449),

200 pages of documents that is likely to predominantly be documents on tangentially related to the scope, which was for a summary document or brief on Veteran Centric Reform, is too much.

I think the Department has taken a everything and the kitchen sink approach here, that disregarded what was requested, which was a request for summary information documents.

I think it is wasteful of taxpayer resources to review 200 pages of material that is mostly comprised of documents which are not the most recent summary of Veteran Centric Reform, when the scope was clear and simply one or two briefing type documents would have satisfied the scope.

Yours sincerely,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Thank you for your email. The Department will take all reasonable efforts
to respond to your email and process your request.

Please note that due the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Department
is experiencing a diversion of resources that are critical to managing
Australia’s response. This means we may not be able to process your
request within the expected timeframe and where needed, will be seeking
extensions of time to manage requests and may need to consult with you if
your request is not clear or is for a large and unmanageable number of
documents. The Department remains committed to ensuring it can process as
many information access requests as it can during the pandemic. We ask for
your assistance by only making requests where they are of a priority and
to ensure those requests are as specific as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding,
cooperation and patience during this difficult time for all Australians.

More detailed messaging can be found on the Department’s website at
[1]https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n....

Kind regards,

Information Law Section
Department of Veterans' Affairs

References

Visible links
1. https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n...

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Attachment Document Bundle FOI 36929.pdf
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Attachment FOI 36929 Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Dear Julie,

 

Please see attached the Department’s response to FOI 36929.

 

We would like to thank you for your patience and cooperation with this
process.

 

Kind regards,

 

Famida (Position Number 62212449)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[1][email address] | [2]www.dva.gov.au

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear INFORMATION.LAW,

On 3 August 2020 the Department claimed it had to review over 200 pages of documents within scope, and applied to the OAIC for a 30 day extension under s 15AB to that end, only for it to turn out that the Department only had to review 3 pages of documents (which is something that realistically doesn't meet the s 15AB threshold).

Can you explain this rather significant discrepancy, because if you did have to review 200 pages, those 200 pages of documents would have had to have been listed in the schedule that accompanied the decision - which only lists one three page document.

Also the decision states that the document provided met both criterion of the scope, whereas it barely meets the first criterion and doesn't meet the second criterion at all, which was "any summary or evaluation documents relating to the Department's two-year pilot of behaviour-informed design and trial of small-scale policy interventions".

Yours sincerely,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Thank you for your email. The Department will take all reasonable efforts
to respond to your email and process your request.

Please note that due the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Department
is experiencing a diversion of resources that are critical to managing
Australia’s response. This means we may not be able to process your
request within the expected timeframe and where needed, will be seeking
extensions of time to manage requests and may need to consult with you if
your request is not clear or is for a large and unmanageable number of
documents. The Department remains committed to ensuring it can process as
many information access requests as it can during the pandemic. We ask for
your assistance by only making requests where they are of a priority and
to ensure those requests are as specific as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding,
cooperation and patience during this difficult time for all Australians.

More detailed messaging can be found on the Department’s website at
[1]https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n....

Kind regards,

Information Law Section
Department of Veterans' Affairs

References

Visible links
1. https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n...

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Dear Julie

I refer to your email below and recent application to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for review of the Department's FOI decision (FOI 36929).

Unfortunately due to an administrative oversight, the Department did not acknowledge or process your internal review request.

We apologise for this regrettable oversight and any inconvenience caused. The Department will process your internal review as a matter of priority and provide you with an update when it is in a position to make a decision.

We have also updated the OAIC accordingly.

Kind regards,

Molly (Position Number 62213164)
Legal Officer
Information Law Section
Legal Services and Audit Branch
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
t 1800 555 254 | e [email address] | www.dva.gov.au
p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601
Please consider the environment before printing this email
The Department acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their elders past and present.

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