In accordance with section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act), the Department of Health (Health) has prepared its Information Publication Scheme (IPS) Agency Plan.
PurposeThe purpose of this plan is to:
- assist Health in planning and developing its contribution to the IPS;
- show what information the agency proposes to publish, how and to whom the information will be published and how Health will otherwise comply with the IPS.
ObjectivesThis Information Publication Scheme Plan outlines the mechanisms and procedures Health is required to undertake in managing and making available information. This includes:
- effectively and efficiently manage its information holdings that are relevant to the IPS;
- identify all information required to be published, including this plan, under the IPS and identify additional information that can appropriately be published as its ‘optional information’;
- ensure that online content conforms with the Government’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (V2);
- regularly review information published under the IPS to ensure it remains complete, accurate and up-to-date;
- ensure that the information published under the IPS is discoverable, searchable, understandable and reusable; and
- develop a mechanism and procedures to measure the success of Health’s IPS.
Implementing the Information Publication Scheme
SES responsibility for the IPSHealth’s Assistant Secretary, Legal Services Branch, with the assistance of the FOI Unit, has oversight of Health’s implementation of the IPS.
FOI webpageThe FOI page on the Health website will be the main portal through which members of the public can access the information made available by Health under its IPS.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), a Division of Health, has its own website. Information that is published in accordance with the FOI Act will be made available via links from the TGA website to the Health website and, where appropriate, directly available on the TGA website.
Disclosure LogThe disclosure log provides access* to documents disclosed by Health pursuant to an FOI request by listing summary information such as title, date of release, including number of pages and descriptions of the types of documents released. The publication of this information is in accordance with section 11C of the FOI Act.
*the term ‘access’ can mean that the document/s are either available on the website, or that they are available through a process or contact information provided on the website.
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Operational InformationA preliminary list of operational information used by Health in its decision-making process will be published. Downloadable documents will be made available on the Health website as soon as practicable. Operational information mainly comprises procedure manuals and guidelines.
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Agency’s StructureHealth’s structure is based around the key sectors of Australia’s health system and several cross portfolio functions. Our organisation chart will assist members of the public to better understand our structure.
Statutory appointmentsHealth related statutory appointments will provide greater transparency about the management and roles of Health.
Health’s approach to a review of its information holdingsHealth will endeavour to publish as much information as possible, consistent with the objects of the FOI Act. Our publication practices must, however, be balanced against its obligation to respect and maintain Confidential Commercial Information (CCI) and Personal Information.
Health often deals with highly sensitive personal and commercial information. This type of information will only be published in situations where the Public Interest Test applies or consent is provided by the owner of the information. The public and stakeholders should remain confident that any CCI and/or personal information in the possession of Health will be protected from release to the extent that the FOI Act applies.
Health will ensure that its documents published under the IPS are easily discoverable and searchable. Health’s website is user friendly in respect to navigation, and contains an easily accessible search function. Health will add a link for the IPS page on the main page of its website for ease of navigation. This will enable users to immediately locate the IPS page where all documents will be stored in above named categories. The categories may need to be updated from time to time.
Health will publish on its website a list of any IPS documents that are impracticable to publish online. The website will state that a person seeking access to any of these documents may contact the FOI Unit to arrange access.
Health may impose a charge in circumstances where a request for a document(s) is voluminous. These charges will be consistent with charges in the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 (which generally apply to access requests under Part III of the FOI Act). Health encourages persons to print copies of required documents, if available for download on the Health website, as opposed to requesting Health to do so.
How to access informationHealth will publish its IPS information holdings to members of the public either on its website, via links on its website or by advising other details of how the information may be obtained.
Wherever possible, we will provide online content in a format that can be searched, copied and transformed.
At this point, Health does not intend to publish information to other sources or websites. Should there be a substantial demand or necessity for this, Health will ascertain the suitability of this request.
Health will, so far as possible, make its IPS information holdings available for reuse on open licensing terms.
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Information required to be publishedHealth will publish all documents required under sections 8, 8(A), 8(C) and 8(D) of the FOI Act. This includes information about Health’s functions, decision making powers and operational information including rules, guidelines, practices and precedents that assist the department to make decisions or recommendations affecting the public.
Health will publish:
- Agency plan (s 8(2)(a))
- Organisational chart (s 8(2)(b))
- Statutory appointments (s 8(2)(d))
- What we do (s 8(2)(c))
- Who are we (s 8(2)c))
- Decision making powers (s 8(2)(c))
- Annual reports (s 8(2)(e))
- Information released pursuant to FOI requests (Disclosure Log) (s 8(2)(g))
- Consultation documentation (s8(2)(f))
- Operational information (s 8(2)(j))
- Contact information (s 8(2)(i))
The agency’s functions and decision making powers
Information provided to Parliament
Optional InformationHealth will publish on the IPS section of its website other information that it holds (in addition to the information published under s 8(2)), taking into account the objects of the FOI Act (s 8(4)).
Health will publish as much information as possible to comply with the FOI Act and in the interests of full disclosure.
Administering the agency IPSHealth will publish information to its full capacity. Health will be as proactive as possible in publishing both optional and operational information. In order to comply with the reforms, Health will initially publish all mandated information. Health’s objective is to publish all possible information in the interests of full disclosure of the documents used by the department in its functions and decision-making.
In line with the guidelines published by the OAIC, Health will regularly update and maintain the information framework and be prepared for the OAIC’s audit in the 5-year review period.
ReviewHealth will ensure that all information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication. All line areas will be responsible for auditing their operational documentation. Health will endeavour to maintain an accurate register of information.
Health’s objective is to ensure transparency and openness with the public in its decision-making processes. Health will ensure that comments made by the public, in relation to this Agency Plan will be taken into account and the plan amended as appropriate.
Feedback on Health’s Agency Plan can be forwarded to:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Legal Services Branch
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601; or
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