The law says we need to publish some information so anyone can access it. This plan explains how we meet the Information publication scheme (IPS) requirements.
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The Fair Work Commission is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to comply with the Information publication scheme (IPS) requirements. This Information publication plan (this plan) describes how the Fair Work Commission proposes to do this, as required by section 8(1) of the FOI Act.
The purpose of this plan is to:
- assist the Fair Work Commission in planning and developing its contribution to the IPS
- facilitate public consultation about that contribution
- show what information the organisation proposes to publish (referred to as the IPS information holdings), how and to whom the information will be published and how the Fair Work Commission will otherwise comply with the IPS requirements (section 8(1)).
The principle underlying the IPS is that government information is a national resource to be managed for public purposes. The Federal Government's intention is that open and free access to government information will provide the public with a better understanding of how government makes decisions and administers programs. This access is designed to increase scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of government activities and enable informed community participation in government processes, which contributes to better policy and decisions. Transparency can also lessen the risk that people will be disadvantaged in their dealings with government through lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding of government processes.
Agencies are required to facilitate and promote public access to information promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost. Agencies are also required to keep the information accurate, up to date and complete.
This plan outlines the mechanisms and procedures the Fair Work Commission is required to undertake in managing and making available information. This includes:
- managing the IPS information holdings
- identifying all information required to be published
- regularly reviewing information published under the IPS to ensure that it is accurate, up to date and complete, and publishing compliance statistics
- ensuring that information published under the IPS is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, re-useable and transformable
- developing a mechanism and procedures to measure the success of the Fair Work Commission's Information Publication Plan.
Our aim is to ensure that information that is routinely sought is readily available, accessible and at a minimum cost to the public.
Establishing & administering the Commission's IPS entry
The Fair Work Commission's information management framework, including its records management policy and records authorities, will apply to all information published under the IPS.
The General Manager will lead the Fair Work Commission's ongoing compliance with the IPS with the assistance of the Freedom of Information Officer and the Freedom of Information Publications Officer. Each branch of the Fair Work Commission will be responsible, as required, for day-to-day tasks associated with complying with the IPS.
As part of managing the ongoing administration of the IPS information holdings, the Fair Work Commission will develop a guide for staff which will:
- describe processes to be followed internally to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of published information
- help staff to identify on an ongoing basis any required or optional information to be published under the IPS
- describe the process for revising and publishing information, including required timeframes.
Details of these processes will be published in the next version of this plan.
As the purpose of the IPS is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public, the Fair Work Commission will not charge for information provided by email. If information is requested in paper format, or another electronic format such as CD or DVD, it may be necessary to impose a fee, to be paid in advance, to recover the cost of producing the information. Any charges imposed will be consistent with the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982. These charges are detailed in the Fees & charges section on the Fair Work Commission’s Freedom of Information page.
IPS information architecture
The initial point of entry for public access to Fair Work Commission information is the Fair Work Commission home page (www.fwc.gov.au). Links are provided in the 'Legal' section of the footer to pages on:
- Freedom of information
- Freedom of information disclosure log, and
- Information publication scheme
This IPS web page provides access to specific documents required to be published, links to documents already published, a link to our comprehensive site index providing access to further information, and links to information on other agency websites as appropriate.
In accordance with existing procedures and policy the National Library of Australia, through its Pandora program, routinely captures and archives significant government internet websites, including that of the Fair Work Commission.
Information required to be published under the IPS
Under section 8 of the FOI Act, from 1 May 2011 all Commonwealth agencies are required to provide access to certain defined information. As part of assessing what information should be made available, the Fair Work Commission will have regard to the objects of the FOI Act, and guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner.
The Fair Work Commission will publish:
- a plan for implementing the IPS
- details of the structure of the organisation
- details of our functions, including decision-making powers and other powers affecting members of the public
- details of statutory appointments
- our annual reports and our quarterly statistical reports
- details of arrangements for members of the public to comment, where appropriate, including how (and to whom) those comments may be made
- information which the Fair Work Commission routinely or regularly releases in response to FOI requests
- information which the Fair Work Commission routinely provides to the Australian Parliament in response to requests and orders
- details of officers who can be contacted about access to information or documents under the FOI Act, and
- our operational information as it extends to our exercising functions and powers in making decisions or recommendations which affect members of the public — for example, any rules, guidelines, practices or precedents relating to those decisions or recommendations.
To ensure that the IPS information holdings (and individual IPS documents) are easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable, the Fair Work Commission will:
- design and publish an FOI entry point on its website home page
- wherever possible, provide online content in a format that can be searched, copied and transformed
- publish a site map for its website, to help individuals identify the location of information published under ss.8(2) and 8(4)
- provide a search function for its website
- provide an alert service to notify subscribers of new publications under the IPS or other developments in relation to the Fair Work Commission's contribution to the IPS
- establish links to this plan and to the site map at www.directory.gov.au
- seek and respond to community feedback about whether the IPS information holdings (and individual IPS documents) are easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable.
Under section 11C of the FOI Act, the Fair Work Commission is required to publish a 'disclosure log' of information contained in documents which it has released under the Act, subject to limitations to protect personal and business information or other information that the Australian Information Commissioner may determine is unreasonable to publish. The Fair Work Commission will publish on its website, within 10 working days of the release of information, details of the nature of the information provided and of how copies of the documents released may be obtained.
The Fair Work Commission will publish contact information online for both FOI and IPS processes, which will include telephone contacts, email and postal addresses.
The Fair Work Commission is not required to publish exempt matter and information prohibited by another enactment.
The information (or details of how to access the information) will be published on this website.
If there is a charge for accessing that information the Fair Work Commission will provide details of the charge.
Other information to be published under the IPS
The Fair Work Commission will publish other information which members of the public find useful. The Fair Work Commission may publish additional material related to the following criteria:
- information stakeholders seek or to which they would like to have access
- information key stakeholders and the community expect to know
- information that may be important and relevant to the community
- the level of demand an agency experiences for a category of information
- whether the community needs the information to work effectively in partnership with government
- information which may be useful to the public (including those regulated by the agency) in dealing with the agency, and
- publications which would promote greater agency accountability.
IPS compliance review
The Fair Work Commission will review the operation of this plan annually and update it each year. We will ensure that online information, in all formats, is regularly reviewed for currency and accuracy. Outdated information will be replaced or archived.
The success of the IPS will be gauged by public feedback and fewer requests for general information.
The Fair Work Commission will, in conjunction with the Information Commissioner, review the operation of the IPS in the organisation every five years (if not earlier).