COVID-19 advice: please note that due to the current unprecedented events in managing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University's ability to meet the timeframes prescribed under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 for making FOI determinations may in some instances be difficult. We will contact you to discuss the impacts on your application. Should you not receive a response to your application within 14 days, please contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom of information is a process whereby a person:
In undertaking this process, Flinders University is subject to legislation, namely:
FOI requests may be submitted by current or former staff or students of the University, a member of the public or a member of parliament. These requests may be general, or they may relate to personal information that the University holds about the person.
Most FOI requests are for access to documents and records, but they also include requests for amending personal information.
Flinders University is committed to the FOI Act’s principles of openness, accuracy, accountability and responsibility. In order to abide by these principles, the University:
The FOI Act applies to any document or record in the possession, or under the control, of the University, whether it was created by the University or not.
Documents and records include:
The University will attempt to meet reasonable requests by an individual for access or amendment to their personal information through its normal administrative processes and procedures. These processes and procedures are found in the University’s:
Under this approach, formal applications under the FOI Act’s provisions are sometimes unnecessary. This also has the benefit of reducing administrative cost and delay for both the applicant and the University.
Note that fees and charges may apply if an FOI request is required in order to provide you with access to documents held by the University, see fees and charges below for more information.
Usually, the broader the FOI request, the longer it will take to search for, sort and compile those documents, thereby increasing the costs. Before we proceed, we may discuss the scope of your FOI request with you to help you to identify the documents you are seeking access to, and to ensure that it is possible to fulfil your request.
Note that the FOI Act allows access to existing documents only, as defined in the Act. In other words, if a document would need to be created in order to fulfill your FOI request, for instance you require statistical data that does not exist, then we are unable to provide it to you under this legislation.
According to the FOI Act, a request for access to the University’s documents must:
An easy way to fulfil these requirements and to submit your FOI request is to fill a Request for Access Application form or an Amendment Application form provided by State Records.
Your FOI request will become valid once all the above requirements have been met, and you have paid the application fee or provided evidence of eligibility for a fee waiver if your application is for access to documents.
Applications for amendment of documents held about you do not incur fees or charges.
Please email your FOI requests to email@example.com
If you satisfy us that you are a concession card holder* or that the payment of the FOI fee or charge would cause you financial hardship, we will waive or remit the fee or charge. Before we waive or remit the fee or charge, we will ask you to supply evidence that you are a concession card holder or that paying the fee or charge would cause you hardship.
*A concession card holder is someone who holds a current Commonwealth concession card or a current student card showing full-time enrolment status. If you believe that you are a concession card holder but this description doesn’t apply to you, please contact us.
As per the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2018, the current application fee for access to documents is $39.00.. Your FOI request may incur other costs, depending on the scope of your request, how much searching is required, how long it would take for us to sort and compile the documents, if we need to consult outside of the University, etc.
Some of the most common chargeable fees under the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2018 are:
**An application for amendment of your personal records is free.
***The first 2 hours are free if you are requesting access to documents containing information about your personal affairs.
In certain circumstances, the FOI Act allows us to request an FOI applicant to pay a reasonable amount by way of an advance deposit if we are of the opinion that the cost of dealing with the application is likely to exceed the application fee. In those circumstances, the processing of your application will be suspended until payment of the advance deposit has been received.
Applications for amendment of your personal records are free.
The University accepts payment:
Freedom of Information Officer
GPO Box 2100
ADELAIDE SA 5000
Governance, Legal and Risk Office
Room 125, 1st floor, Registry Building
Bedford Park campus.
Once the requirements have been fulfilled, including payment of the application fee or a fee waiver or remission, an FOI Officer will be nominated to assist you to exercise your rights under the FOI Act and will proceed with your FOI request. The FOI Officer will send you an acknowledgement letter.
The FOI Officer will seek the documents within scope of your request and make a decision on whether the documents are able to be fully released to you, partially released (that is, redacted), or are exempt from release. The FOI Officer can only exempt parts of documents, or whole documents, if these documents fulfil one of the exemptions outlined in the FOI Act.
If your FOI request incurs fees and charges, the FOI Act allows the University to ask you for an advance deposit to cover those costs. This advance deposit often consists of costs already incurred and a reasonable estimate of further costs given the circumstances and the scope of your FOI request. The FOI Officer will send you a letter outlining these costs with a deadline by which you are required to make payment.
Only costs actually incurred are able to be charged, so if at the end, the estimated costs were higher or lower, they will be revised accordingly.
Note that your FOI request will be put on hold until the advance deposit is paid. If payment is not received by the date shown on the letter sent to you, the University may determine not to proceed with your FOI request.
Once the FOI process is complete, the FOI Officer will send you a determination letter listing the documents within scope of your request, and giving reasons for whether these documents will be released to you, redacted or fully exempt. The documents will be released to you accordingly.
An FOI request is to be finalised within 30 calendar days of receiving a valid FOI application. There may be times when your FOI request cannot be finalised within that timeframe. If that is the case, the FOI Officer assigned to your request may seek an informal extension in consultation with you, or may apply for a formal extension under the FOI Act to the Principal FOI Officer of the University, the Vice-Chancellor.
If the FOI Officer is applying for an extension to the Principal FOI Officer, this must be done within 20 calendar days of receiving a valid FOI application.
Note that your FOI application will be put on hold if an advance request is asked of you. This means that the timelines mentioned above will also be put on hold until payment is made.
If you are not satisfied with how the University is handling your FOI request, sometimes the easiest way to seek a resolution is to get in touch with the FOI officer assigned to your request.
If you are still not satisfied, you may apply for an internal review by filling in the Application for Internal Review form. You must apply for an internal review within 30 calendar days of receiving notification of a decision by the FOI Officer assigned to your request. Internal review applications are to be made in writing to the University’s Principal FOI Officer, the Vice Chancellor. An application fee may apply.
If you are not satisfied with the result of an internal review, you may apply to the Ombudsman SA.
External review – Ombudsman SA
If you are not satisfied with a determination made by the Principal Officer or the results of an internal review, you may apply to the Ombudsman SA for an external review. This application must be made within 30 calendar days of receiving notification of the decision. The Ombudsman SA has the discretion to extend this deadline. There are no fees or charges for this application.
You can contact the Ombudsman SA on (08) 8226 8699, 1800 182 150 (toll free within SA) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
External review - South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT)
If you are not satisfied with the result of an internal review or an external review by the Ombudsman SA, you may apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT). You may apply within 30 calendar days of receiving the notification. SACAT will determine any costs.
You can contact SACAT on 1800 723 767 or email@example.com.
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