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Monday, August 08, 2011

FOI commissioner distinguishes personal and work information concerning public servants

The decision by Freedom of Information Commissioner Popple in Carver and Fair Work Ombudsman [2011] AICmr 5 concerning information about the handling of a complaint against two inspectors involved three conditional exemption sections of the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act, as amended from 1 November 2010-all subject to a public interest test: deliberative process (s 47C), certain operations of an agency, where disclosure would (c) have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel by the Commonwealth, by Norfolk Island or by an agency(47E), and personal information (47F). The decision varied the agency determination, rejecting aspects of the claimed exemptions concerning information about the inspectors. The commissioner's analysis of issues provides an insight into interpretation and application of the amended act, particularly the distinction between personal information and work related information concerning public servants [31-37], the public interest test [39-44] and why different considerations may be involved in granting access to some information about a public servant to an applicant and publishing the same material in a disclosure log [47-49].

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