IPS Agency Plan
CSIRO is bound by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 Cth (the 'FOI Act') and is required to comply with the provisions of the FOI Act relating to the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). The IPS is in keeping with the reforms to the FOI Act to promote open and transparent communication of government information.
The IPS commenced on 1 May 2011 and requires agencies to publish a broad range of information online. For more details on the IPS see the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
CSIRO has prepared this Agency Plan in accordance with section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 Cth (the 'FOI Act') to describe how CSIRO implements and administers the IPS in respect of information held by CSIRO.
The purpose of this Agency Plan is to:
- Assist CSIRO in managing its Information Publication Scheme (IPS) entry;
- Describe the information that CSIRO proposes to publish, how and to whom that information will be published; and
- How CSIRO will otherwise comply with the requirements of the IPS.
- This Agency Plan sets out the measures CSIRO has implemented to:
- Manage its information under the Information Publication Scheme (IPS);
- Identify and publish all information required to be published under section 8(2) of the FOI Act;
- Identify and publish any optional information to be published under section 8(4) of the FOI Act;
- Review and ensure on a regular basis that information published under the IPS is accurate, up to date and complete (s8B);
- Ensure that information published under the IPS is easily accessible and user-friendly;
- Ensure satisfactory conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) WCAG 2.0; and
- Review the success of CSIRO’s IPS entry by reference to community feedback and compliance review processes.
3. Establishing an information publication scheme
CSIRO’s Legal function is responsible for managing CSIRO’s compliance with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS), with support from the following CSIRO functions:
- The FOI and Privacy Officer;
- The CSIRO Governance Office;
- CSIRO Communications;
- CSIRO Records Management; and
- CSIRO Information Management and Technology.
To a large extent, CSIRO leverages off its existing framework for online publication of information relating to CSIRO to meet its obligations under the IPS.
CSIRO has developed a spreadsheet of information required to be published under the IPS which will be added to as more documents and information are created within CSIRO.
CSIRO undertakes ongoing consultation with its various internal functions to identify information within CSIRO that will be part of the IPS, either as part of the requirements of the scheme or as optional information.
CSIRO has also developed an FOI Disclosure Log to record information released in response to an FOI request that can also be published as part of the IPS.
CSIRO has established an IPS webpage within CSIRO’s internet site (csiro.au) that will manage the information falling within the IPS and to ensure that it is easy to find, access and use.
Managing the information in this way will also ensure its accuracy, currency and completeness for the purposes of the IPS.
CSIRO may impose charges for access to an IPS document if it is impractical to provide an electronic copy of that document.
Charges will be the lowest reasonable cost to reimburse CSIRO for its costs in providing the document (e.g. in the case of providing documents on a CD or DVD or if significant amounts of photocopying are involved).
5. Structure of the IPS
CSIRO has this Information Publication Scheme (IPS) webpage.
CSIRO's IPS information on its IPS webpage is published under the following headings:
- Agency plan
- Who we are
- What we do
- FOI Disclosure Log
- Commonly requested information
- Annual Report and other responses to Parliament
- Consultation Arrangements
- Other information
- FOI Contact Information
To make its IPS information easy to navigate, CSIRO will also:
- Publish links on each page within csiro.au which will link to the CSIRO IPS webpage
- Include the CSIRO IPS webpage in an easily assessible portable for access to information within CSIRO
- Through the IPS webpage, publish information or provide links to information available elsewhere on csiro.au
- To the extent possible, provide online content that can be searched
- Provide a search function for its FOI Disclosure Log
Invite public feedback on its IPS website.
6. Accessibility under CSIRO’s IPS
CSIRO will ensure that documents published online will meet the WCAG 2.0 requirements where possible. As far as practicable, CSIRO will publish online information in HTML, MSWord and PDF format. When this is not possible, CSIRO will provide the information in another format on request.
Where CSIRO has published any IPS documents as part of another scheme, such as under www.data.gov.au, CSIRO will publish on its IPS webpage information about those documents and the relevant scheme.
7. Information required to be published
Under section 8 of the FOI Act, from 1 May 2011, all Commonwealth agencies have been required to provide access to certain categories of information.
In assessing which information to make available, CSIRO has regard to the objects of the FOI Act and guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner.
CSIRO will publish the following categories of information as required under the IPS:
- CSIRO’s Agency Plan
- CSIRO’s Organisational Chart
- Details of CSIRO’s functions, including decision making powers and other powers affecting members of the public
- Details of statutory appointments within CSIRO
- CSIRO’s Annual Report
- Details of consultation arrangements under which members of the public can comment on specific policy proposals for which CSIRO is responsible
- Information CSIRO routinely or regularly releases in response to requests for access under the FOI Act
- CSIRO’s FOI Disclosure Log (see below)
- Information provided to Parliament by CSIRO
- Contact details of CSIRO officers who can be contacted about access to information or documents under the FOI Act
- Operational information – insofar as it extends to our exercising functions and powers in making decisions or recommendations which affect members of the public (e.g. rules, guidelines, practices or precedents relating to those decisions or recommendations).
8. FOI Disclosure Log
The FOI Disclosure Log contains a summary of FOI requests received by CSIRO as well as relevant documents or details of how the documents may be accessed. However, personal, family, business, commercial, financial or professional information will not be published in the Disclosure Log where CSIRO decides it is unreasonable to publish that information.
9. Optional information
CSIRO already publishes a wide range of information online about its activities. Not all of this information is required by the Information Publication Scheme (IPS).
In addition to the information outlined above as being required by the IPS, CSIRO will include the following types of information as part of the IPS:
- CSIRO Strategic Plan
- CSIRO’s Budget and Performance
- CSIRO’s Service Charter
- Information about CSIRO Procurement
- CSIRO’s ethical research practices.
10. Information CSIRO will not publish as part of the IPS
CSIRO will not publish information that is exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act or which CSIRO is prohibited from publishing by another law.
This may include:
- personal information
- confidential research results
- information about CSIRO’s commercial activities.
11. Administering CSIRO's IPS Scheme
In deciding which information as part of the IPS, CSIRO has a process for:
- Identifying documents required to be included in the IPS;
- Making decisions about documents to be included in the IPS as optional; and
- Making decisions in relation to whether information released in CSIRO’s FOI Disclosure Log can be published.
As part of this process, issues such as confidentiality, intellectual property protection and privacy will be considered. The requirements of the IPS will also be integrated into CSIRO’s existing policies, such as those relating to records management and intellectual property.
CSIRO's ongoing compliance with the IPS is managed by the Legal function, including the FOI Officer and with support from other CSIRO functions such as Governance, Records Management, Information Management and Technology and Communications.
12. IPS Review
CSIRO will review and revise this Agency Plan at least annually.
CSIRO will review the operation of its IPS from time to time and at least every five years, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner regarding IPS compliance review.
13. Comments on CSIRO's Agency Plan
CSIRO welcomes any comments on its Agency Plan, addressed to FOI@csiro.au