The 2010-11 reforms to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) established an Information Publication Scheme (IPS) for relevant Australian Government agencies.
The IPS commenced on 1 May 2011 and requires agencies to publish a broad range of information on their websites, and to make it available for downloading where possible. The IPS will enhance the amount of government information that is available to the public and underpin a pro-disclosure culture across government. As part of this, agencies are also required to publish an Agency Plan to explain how they intend to implement the IPS.
The Department has prepared its Agency Plan, which describes:
- what information Health will publish
- how Health will publish this information
- how Health will comply with the requirements of the IPS.
Department of Health's Information Publication Scheme Agency PlanPDF Version: Department of Health's Information Publication Scheme Agency Plan (PDF 41 KB)
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, developing and implementing 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 information available. 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.
FOI webpageThe FOI page on the Health website is the main portal through which members of the public can access the information made available by Health under its IPS.
The Health Products Regulation Group (HPRG), a Division of Health, has its own website, which has direct links to the Health website on FOI requests.
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.
Operational InformationInformation and links relating to the Department’s operations is located under the relevant categories.
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’s list of statutory appointments provides greater transparency about the management and roles of committees, boards, panels or agencies set-up under legislation that provide special services to Health.
Health’s approach to a review of its information holdingsHealth endeavours 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 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 can be 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 ensures 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 has provided a link for the IPS page on the main page of its website for ease of navigation. This enables users to immediately locate the IPS documents published in the above categories may need to be updated from time to time.
The website states that A person seeking access to any documents published by Health 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 to avoid such costs.
Information ArchitectureHealth 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.
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))
- Who are we and what do we do (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 ensures that all information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication. All line areas are responsible for auditing their operational documentation. Health endeavours 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
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601; or