Information Publication Scheme Agency Plan
The Merit Protection Commissioner (MPC) is a prescribed authority subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) requirements. A prescribed authority is an agency for the purposes of the FOI Act (see s 4). This agency plan describes how the MPC proposes to do this, as required by s 8(1) of the FOI Act.
The MPC is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor-General under s 49 of the Public Service Act 1999. The MPC’s functions are detailed in sections 33, 50 and 50A of the Public Service Act 1999 and Parts 2, 4, 5 and 7 of the Public Service Regulations 1999 (Regulations) and are aimed at ensuring accountability and integrity in APS employment decision-making.
The Office of the MPC is located within but is independent of the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and is staffed by Australian Public Service (APS) employees who assist with the MPC’s functions (MPC Staff).
MPC staff are provided by the Australian Public Service Commissioner. The MPC comprises 13 ongoing staff including the MPC plus a number of casuals who undertake other functions such as Promotion Review Committees as well as fee for service work such as Code of Conduct investigations and Independent Selection Advisory Committees.
The MPC Delegates a number of functions to MPC staff. MPC staff are located in Canberra and Sydney. The MPC’s corporate functions including document and information management systems are also provided by the Australian Public Service Commissioner.
The MPC is also appointed as the Parliamentary Service Merit Protection Commissioner under s 47 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999. The Office of the Parliamentary Service Merit Protection Commissioner is not a prescribed authority subject to the FOI Act, being excluded under s 68A(b) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.
This plan therefore only relates to the MPC’s obligations under the FOI Act as regards functions and powers under the Public Service Act 1999 and Regulations.
This agency plan describes how the MPC implements and administers its IPS entry in respect of its own information holdings, by addressing:
- Establishment and administration of the MPC’s IPS entry
- IPS information architecture
- information required to be published under the IPS
- other information to be published
- IPS compliance review
The MPC will continue to build and foster a culture within the agency, in which appropriate proactive disclosure of its information holdings is embraced. This recognises that public sector information is a national resource managed for public purposes. For this purpose the MPC will publish an Information Access Policy.
The purpose of this agency plan is to:
- assist the MPC in planning and administering its IPS entry
- show what information the MPC proposes to publish, how and to whom the information will be published and how the MPC will otherwise comply with its IPS requirements (s 8(1))
The MPC will not publish information that would be an unreasonable disclosure of personal information or that would contravene section 72B of the Public Service Act 1999.
The MPC’s objectives are to outline appropriate mechanisms and procedures to:
- manage its IPS entry
- proactively identify and publish all information required to be published (s 8(2))
- proactively identify and publish any other information to be published (s 8(4))
- review and ensure on a regular basis that information published as part of its IPS entry is accurate, up to date and complete (s 8B)
- ensure that information published as part of its IPS entry is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, re-useable and transformable
- ensure satisfactory conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) (WCAG 2.1)
- measure the success of the MPC’s IPS entry by reference to community feedback and compliance review processes
- adopt best practice initiatives in implementing and administering the MPC’s IPS entry.
Establishing and Administering the MPC’s IPS entry
As an independent statutory officer, the MPC is designated as the senior officer responsible for leading the MPC’s compliance with the IPS.
The MPC is supported by the staff of the APSC to establish and administer the MPC’s IPS entry.
Establishing the MPC’s IPS entry by 26 August 2022
Previously the MPC’s IPS entry was published within the APSC’s IPS entry. By 26 August 2022 the MPC will have established a separate MPC IPS entry.
The MPC will identify information required or permitted to be published under s 8(2) and s 8(4). This work will assist in determining the content of the MPC IPS entry. The MPC IPS entry will make reference to section 72B of the Public Service Act 1999 which provides for the protection of information that was obtained in connection with the performance of the MPC’s functions, duties or powers.
MPC staff will utilise the existing website for the MPC to include a unique MPC IPS page and an MPC FOI Disclosure log. The new MPC website is anticipated to be available to the general public by 26 August 2022. The MPC IPS entry will refer readers to the APSC IPS entry for IPS information prior to 26 August 2022.
Administering the MPC’s IPS entry from 26 August 2022
The MPC will oversee tasks to ensure the MPC’s ongoing compliance with the IPS.
All MPC staff are responsible, for the day-to-day tasks associated with complying with the IPS. For example, the Executive Officer will manage all information relating to the FOI Act. The Executive Officer will also manage ongoing administration of the MPC’s IPS entry and will be responsible for implementing, reviewing and revising this plan. The Executive Officer will be responsible for ensuring that the MPC IPS information holdings are accurate, up to date and complete..
The MPC may charge a person for accessing any IPS document which it is impracticable to publish online:
- at the lowest reasonable cost
- to reimburse specific reproduction costs or other specific incidental costs (s 8D(4))
The MPC will generally not impose a charge where the reimbursement or incidental cost would be lower than $100.
The MPC will publish on the IPS page of its website a list of any IPS documents that are impracticable to publish online and give details of how a person seeking access to any of these documents will be able to arrange access. MPC IPS documents which are not available online as at 26 August 2022 may be listed on the APSC IPS entry or may be available from the APSC's IPS Page.
The list of documents will include indicative charges that may be imposed for making that information available and an explanation for the charge. These charges will be consistent with charges in the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019 (which generally apply to access requests under Part III of the FOI Act).
IPS information architecture
The IPS entry is published on the MPC website at www.mpc.gov.au under the following headings:
- Agency plan (s 8(2)(a)
- Who we are (ss 8(2)(b) and 8(2)(d))
- What we do (ss 8(2)(c) and 8(2)(j))
- Our reports and responses to Parliament (ss 8(2)(e) and 8(2)(h))
- Routinely requested information and disclosure log (ss 8(2)(g) and 11C)
- Contact us (s 8(2)(i))
- Our priorities (s 8(4))
- Our policies (s 8(4))
The MPC does not have Policy Proposal responsibilities and therefore the requirement to publish information about Consultation arrangements (s 8(2)(f)) does not apply to the MPC. In this regard, please refer to the APSC's IPS page.
To ensure that the MPC IPS entry (and individual IPS documents) is easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable, the MPC:
- publishes an IPS entry point on its website
- applies appropriate metadata to online content (AGLS Metadata Standard AS 5044-2010)
- wherever possible, provides online content in a format that can be searched, copied and transformed
- has updated the sitemap on its website, to help individuals identify the location of information published under ss 8(2) and 8(4)
- provides a search function for our website.
The MPC will, so far as possible, make its IPS information holdings available for reuse on open licensing terms.
The MPC will ensure, to the extent possible, that all documents available on its website conform to WCAG 2.1 AA. Where a person requires an alternative accessible format of a document, it will be made available on request.
The majority of documents listed on the IPS section of the MPC website are published in HTML format to meet accessibility requirements. A small number of exceptions may apply to:
- PDFs of documents
- MS Word doc.x documents
- Documents that are out of date, but that are provided for historical reference (these will be supplied in the formats in which they are currently available).
Information required to be published under the IPS
The MPC will publish documents required to be published under the IPS (s 8(2)) in the IPS section of the website
The MPC will publish these documents under the following headings:
Who we are
- This will include an organisation chart and information about the statutory appointments of the Merit Protection Commissioner.
- For statutory appointments, the MPC will publish the name of the person appointed, the length or term of appointment, the position to which the person is appointed (and particulars of the position) and the provision of the Act under which the person is appointed.
What we do
- This will outline the functions and recommendation or decision making powers of the MPC.
- The MPC will also publish procedural information, exercise of discretion policy, information sheets for applicants, tip sheets, instructions, guidelines and case summaries relating to these functions and powers.
- This Agency Plan and the MPC IPS entry will note that Operational information of the MPC does not extend to information by way of manuals and rules held by the MPC relating to the review of decisions about APS employees because the information relates employees in their employment capacity and not as members of the public (see the FOI Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of the FOI Act at [13.100]). Having said this, the MPC provides relevant operational information to specific individuals during the course of reviews of employment decisions as part of affording procedural fairness.
Our reports and responses to Parliament
This will include the MPC’s annual reports (from 2014–15) as tabled in Parliament. Please contact us if you are seeking Annual Reports for the years prior to 2014-15.
The MPC is not routinely requested to provide responses to Parliament arising from requests and orders from the Parliament (s 8(2)(h)). In this regard, please refer to the APSC's IPS page and Parliamentary Reporting page.
Routinely requested information and disclosure log
This will include information in documents to which the MPC routinely gives access in response to FOI requests and information published under s 11C of the FOI Act. This was established in August 2021 and can be found at https://www.mpc.gov.au/information-publication-scheme/disclosure-log.
The MPC disclosure log will however note having regard to the statutory function of the MPC the majority of FOI requests involve the personal information of the FOI applicant and are therefore not published.
The MPC disclosure log will note that the APSC’s disclosure log contains details of information in documents the MPC gave access to in response to FOI requests prior to August 2021.
The MPC’s functions do not include responsibilities for specific policy proposals. Please refer to the APSC's IPS page for consultation arrangements.
This will include the name, telephone number and an email address for a contact officer, who can be contacted about access to the MPC’s information or documents under the FOI Act. The MPC has established a generic telephone number and email address for this purpose that will not change with staff movements.
Other information to be published under the IPS
The MPC will publish in its IPS entry other information held (in addition to the information published under s 8(2)), taking into account the objects of the FOI Act (s 8(4)).
Other information will be published under the following headings:
This will include strategic plans.
This will include submissions made by the MPC to Parliamentary committees or other inquiries.
This will include relevant MPC corporate policies.
In addition, in the IPS section the MPC will publish a link to other publications not covered by these headings, including reference materials used by MPC as published by the APSC, as well as articles and booklets.
Finances and lists
Given the MPC’s funding and corporate functions including financial and document and information management systems are provided by the Australian Public Service Commissioner please refer to the APSC's IPS page and Parliamentary Reporting page.
IPS compliance review
The MPC will review and revise this agency plan annually to coincide with the MPC’s strategic planning process.
The MPC will review the operation of the MPC IPS from time to time and at least every five years, in accordance with the Guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner about IPS compliance review.