The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). The AAT is required to comply with the FOI Act's Information Publication Scheme (IPS). The IPS will help promote an open and transparent culture across Government which recognises that Government information is a national resource to be managed for public purposes.
The purpose of this Agency Plan is to comply with section 8(1) of the FOI Act by showing:
- what information the AAT will publish for the purposes of the IPS
- how, and to whom, that information will be published
- how the AAT will otherwise comply with the requirements of the IPS.
This Agency Plan will assist the AAT in planning and developing its contribution to the IPS, including putting procedures in place to proactively disclose information in accordance with the objects of the FOI Act.
The objectives of this Agency Plan are to outline appropriate mechanisms and procedures for the AAT to:
- manage information relevant to the IPS
- proactively identify and publish all information that must be published
- proactively identify and publish additional information in accordance with principles of open government
- review published information on a regular basis to ensure it is accurate, up-to-date and complete
- ensure the AAT's online content conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) (WCAG 2.0)
- measure the success of the AAT's implementation of the IPS.
Establishing, administering and reviewing the IPS within the AAT
The Registrar is responsible for leading the AAT's compliance with the IPS.
Establishment and administration
The AAT has taken the following steps in establishing an IPS:
- Formed an IPS working group
- Consulted with other agencies and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about their approach to the IPS
- Developed this plan
- Identified documents that must be published under the IPS and other documents to be published under the IPS
- Created a register of IPS documents
- Reviewed information on its website to ensure that it conforms to WCAG 2.0
- Updated its website structure to be more accessible
- Created dedicated web pages for IPS information.
The AAT proposes to take the following further steps in establishing and administering the IPS:
- Publish IPS documents that are accurate, up-to-date and complete on its website from 1 May 2011
- Continue to update IPS documents and publish accurate, up-to-date and complete documents on its website
- Consider what access charges, if any, should be imposed for providing IPS documents in hard copy, and publish details about any such charges on its website
- Ensure this plan and the register of IPS documents are updated on a regular basis, including considering whether any newly created or amended documents should be added to the register and published
- Ensure that all documents published on its website continue to conform to WCAG 2.0
- Monitor the usage of IPS-related pages of its website and evaluate the effectiveness of those pages
- Respond to feedback from members of the public and government agencies about the information published under the IPS.
The AAT will review and, where necessary, revise this Agency Plan at least annually. Part of this review will be to ensure all published documents remain accurate, up-to-date and complete.
With the assistance of the Information Commissioner, the AAT will undertake a review of the operation of the IPS in the AAT within 5 years of the commencement of the IPS, as required by section 9 of the FOI Act.
IPS information architecture and accessibility
The AAT will publish information to members of the public on its website. The information published under the IPS will be accessible through an 'Access to information' logo on the AAT website homepage.
Where possible, the information will be published in HTML, Rich Text Format (RTF), and Portable Document Format (PDF).
The AAT will publish the following information:
Information that must be published
- Agency plan - this plan
- Structure - an organisational chart, showing the structure of the AAT
- Functions and powers - details of the functions and powers of the AAT
- Statutory appointments - details of appointments in the AAT made under statutes, including the name of the person appointed, the term of appointment, the position to which the person is appointed, and the enactment and provision under which the person is appointed
- Annual reports - full text of the current and recent previous annual reports tabled in Parliament
- Consultation arrangements - information about how and to whom members of the public may comment on specific policy proposals for which the AAT is responsible
- Information routinely accessed under FOI and FOI disclosure log - details of information disclosed under FOI requests
- Information routinely provided to parliament - information that the AAT routinely provides to Parliament in response to requests and orders from Parliament. This includes:
- indexed list of files provided to Parliament published in compliance with the Continuing Order of the Senate
- list of contracts published in compliance with the Senate Order on agency and departmental contracts
- FOI contact officer details - contact details for officers who can be contacted about access to the AAT's information or documents
- Operational information - information the AAT uses to assist it in performing or exercising its functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations affecting members of the public. This includes documents such as:
- practice directions, guides and guidelines
- lists with information about the AAT's jurisdiction, time limits for applying for review and secrecy provisions
- relevant parts of manuals produced by the AAT, including templates for standard letters and orders.
The AAT will also publish information that may be of interest to members of the public and users of the AAT, including:
- service charter and other commitments
- information about AAT decisions
- corporate information about the AAT
- information that must be published under other laws and requirements
- speeches and papers.