Information Publication Scheme (IPS)
Reforms to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) promote a pro-disclosure culture across The Administration and the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and build a stronger foundation for greater openness and transparency in government. A significant change is the introduction of a new Information Publication Scheme (IPS) for Norfolk Island Government. The scheme aims to transform the freedom of information framework from one that responds to publishing information. The scheme commences on 1st May 2013 for Norfolk Island.
Elements of the scheme
The information publication scheme:
- Requires Norfolk Island Government agencies to publish information publication plans
- Specifies categories of information that must be published
- Provides a means for agencies to proactively publish government information
The scheme does not apply to a small number of security agencies that are exempt from the FOI Act.
What information is to be published?
The FOI Act specifies nine categories of information that must be published, in addition to the information publication agency plan:
- detail of the Administration’s structure (organization chart)
- details of the Administration and Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly functions, including its decision making powers and other powers affecting the public
- details of statutory appointments of the Administration and Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly
- The Administrations annual reports
- details of consultation arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals
- information in documents to which the Administration routinely gives access in response to requests under the FOI Act
- information that Administration routinely provides to the Legislative Assembly
- details of an officer who can be contacted about access to Administration’s information or documents under the FOI Act
- the Administration’s operational information (which is information that assists the agency to exercise its functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations that affect members of the public. This includes the agency’s rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to those decisions and recommendations.)
What other information can agencies publish under the scheme?
The FOI Act expressly recognizes that information held by the Norfolk Island Government is a national resource and is to be managed for public purposes.
The Administration may publish other information they hold that falls outside the nine categories listed above. For example, the Administration may hold for their own purposes statistical information which researchers and other member of the public would find useful.
The scheme does not require the Administration that is restricted, for example, if a document is exempt under the FOI Act or its publication is prohibited under other legislation.
How will I know if the information is up to date?
The Administration must ensure that information published under the information publication scheme is accurate, up to date and complete.
Are there any charges for accessing the information?
The intention of the scheme is that agencies will publish freely accessible information on their websites.
There may be circumstances, however, where it is not practical for an agency to publish information or data to its website. In making information available in another form, the Administration may incur costs (including reproduction costs). The Administration can decide to impose a charge to recoup these publishing costs. Where charges apply, the details will be published on the Administrations website.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner also publishes a range of Information Publication Scheme facts and other guidance that may be of interest at www.oaic.gov.au.
Information Publication Scheme - Agency Plan
The Administration of Norfolk Island (Administration) is an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) requirements. This agency plan describes how the Administration proposes to do this, as required by s 8(1) of the FOI Act.
Norfolk Island is a self-governing external territory under the authority of the Commonwealth government. It has a legislature of 9 elected members and operates under the Norfolk Island Act, 1979 (Cth). The government, through its public sector agency – The Administration – provides a diverse and full range of government and public utility services spanning all three tiers of government responsibility. The Administration is governed by the Public Sector Management Act 2000.
The agency plan describes how the Administration proposes to implement and administer its IPS entry in respect of its own information holdings, by addressing:
- establishing and administering IPS entry
- information architecture
- information required to be published
- other information to be published
- IPS compliance review.
The Administration will continue to build and foster a culture in which appropriate proactive disclosure of its information holdings is embraced, leading to successful implementation and administration of its IPS entry. This is in recognition that public sector information is a national resource managed for public purposes.
The IPS requirements are intended to facilitate and promote public access to information promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.
The purpose of this agency plan is to:
- assist the Administration in planning and developing its IPS entry
- facilitate public consultation about that contribution
- show what information the agency proposes to publish, how and to whom the information will be published and how the Administration will otherwise comply with the IPS requirements (s 8(1)).
The Administration’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 2.0)
- measure the success of IPS entry by reference to community feedback and compliance review processes
- adopt best practice initiatives in implementing and administering IPS entry.
Establishing and administering IPS entry
The Office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is designated as the office responsible for leading the Administration’s compliance with the IPS. The CEO appoints an IPS Compliance Officer to manage the Information Publication Scheme.
(a) Establishing IPS entry by 1 May 2013
The IPS Compliance Officer is supported by the IPS Steering Group to establish IPS entry by 1 May 2013.
The IPS Steering Group comprises of staff from various departments within Administration and staff from the offices of the Legislative Assembly.
The IPS Steering Group has prepared an IPS project plan for tasks to be completed by 1 May 2012, including:
- the Administration’s goals in relation to the IPS
- a timetable for achieving those goals
- how the Administration will achieve those goals (tasks to be completed and responsibility for each goal)
- Resources required and available (both Human and Economic)
The IPS Steering Group has developed an IPS information register. The IPS information register records details of documents and information required or permitted to be published under s 8(2) and 8(4).
To prepare the IPS information register, the IPS project team spent approximately three months:
- auditing documents published on the Administration’s websites (www.info.gov.nf and www.ni.net.nf ) and identifying the documents that will form part of the Administration’s IPS entry
- creating a list of potential IPS documents (including those not already published on the Administration’s website)
- compiling a list of links to IPS documents on the internal document management system that are not currently published on the Administration website
- compiling a set of hard copy IPS documents that are not published on the Administration’s website and are not available on the document management system
- identifying and reviewing any IPS documents that are not accurate, up to date or complete.
The IPS information register facilitates conformance with WCAG 2.0 (see Objectives on page 2), as it:
- describes the format of all IPS documents currently published on the website
- contains a link to an alternative format of an IPS document (preferably an RTF (rich text format) version), where the document is only available in Portable Document Format (PDF) on the website
- contains a link to an RTF version and, if available, a searchable PDF for IPS documents that are not on the website
- identifies any other issues that may affect publication of an IPS document on the website.
(b) Administering IPS entry from 1 May 2013
The Administration is developing a comprehensive information asset management framework which will apply to the Administration’s IPS entry. This framework will initially comprise records management plans and policies which are currently under development. The Administration also intends to develop plans and procedures to address other information asset issues, including intellectual property and copyright.
The Administration will finalise its Records management policy prior to 1 May 2013. The Administration has sought advice from the National Archives of Australia on this process and is employing information management tools, such as the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA).
From 1 May 2013, the Administration’s ongoing compliance with the IPS will be co-ordinated by the IPS Compliance Officer.
Each Agency Manager will be responsibe for day to day tasks associated with complying with the IPS. The IPS Compliance Officer will manage ongoing administration of IPS entry and will be responsible for implementing, reviewing and revising this plan.
As part of managing the ongoing administration of IPS entry, the Administration is developing a Guide to publishing information under the IPS for staff. The guide will:
- describe processes to be followed internally to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of published information
- help staff to identify on an ongoing basis any required or other information to be published as part of the Administration’s IPS entry
- describe the process for publishing information.
The Administration will lead better practice initiatives to engage with the community about the Administration’s IPS entry. These include:
- issuing a media release announcing the launch of the Administration’s IPS entry
- making IPS documents as easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable as possible
- inviting members of the public to provide comments on the Administration’s IPS entry, particularly where documents are found not to be discoverable, understandable or machine-readable
- providing members of the public with contact details in relation to obtaining documents in another format or where they are not available for downloading from the website.
Documents which are not available on the website will be made available upon request.
The Administration may charge a person for accessing any IPS document which is impractical to publish online:
- at the lowest reasonable cost
- to reimburse specific reproduction costs or other specific incidental costs (s 8D(4)).
The Administration will generally not impose a charge where the reimbursement or incidental cost would be lower than $50.00.
The Administration will publish in the IPS section of its website a list of any IPS documents that are impractical to publish online, and give details of how a person seeking access to any of these documents will be able to arrange access.
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 1982 (which generally apply to access requests under Part III of the FOI Act). Annexure A lists the IPS documents which will not be available online as at 1 May 2013.
IPS information architecture
The Administration will publish its IPS entry on its website in accordance with the timetable at Annexure B (except where this is impractical).
The IPS entry will be published on the Administration’s website (www.info.gov.nf) under the following headings:
- Agency plan (ss 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)
- Consultation arrangements (s 8(2)(f))
- Contact us (s 8(2)(i))
- Our priorities (s 8(4))
- Our finances (s 8(4))
- Our lists (s 8(4))
- Our submissions (s 8(4))
- Our policies (s 8(4))
To ensure that the Administration’s IPS entry (and individual IPS documents) is easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable, the Administration has:
- published an IPS icon on the homepage of its website, which links to the IPS section of the website
- designed and published an IPS entry point on its website
- wherever possible, provided online content in a format that can be searched, copied and transformed
- established a feedback channel for seeking and responding to community feedback about whether the Administration’s IPS entry (and individual IPS documents) is easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable.
To conform to WCAG 2.0, the Administration has:
- Approach to accessibility by commencement of the IPS
- ensured that all online information that is published under the IPS conforms with WCAG 2.0 in accordance with the timeframes in Annexure B
- stated on the dedicated IPS section of its website that where a person requires an alternative accessible format of a document that it will be made available on request. This alternative may be subject to a small number of exceptions identified in Annexure B.
- Approach to accessibility after commencement of the IPS
- publish any new IPS documents as soon as they are available for publication from commencement of the IPS
- ensure that all information newly published under the IPS on the website conforms with WCAG 2.0 subject to a small number of exceptions identified in Annexure B.
Information required to be published under the IPS
The Administration will publish documents required to be published under the IPS (s 8(2)) in the IPS section of the website at www.info.gov.nf.
The Administration will publish these documents in accordance with the timeframe set out in Annexure B.
The Administration will publish these documents under the following headings:
Who we are
- This will include an organisation chart, the Agency Employment Agreement and information about statutory appointments.
- For statutory appointees, the Administration 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 decision making powers of the.
- The Administration will also publish rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to these functions and powers.
Our reports and responses to Parliament
- This will include recent annual reports (2009–2010 and 2010 - 2011) tabled.
Routinely requested information and disclosure log
- This will include information in documents to which the Administration routinely gives access in response to FOI requests and information published under s 11C of the FOI Act.
- This will include information about how and to whom a comment may be submitted by members of the public, where the Administration undertakes public consultation on a specific policy proposal.
- This will include the name, telephone number and an email address for a contact officer, who can be contacted about access to the Administration’s information or documents under the FOI Act. The Administration has established generic email addresses for this purpose that will not change with staff movements.
Other information to be published under the IPS
The Administration will publish on the IPS section of its website other information that it holds (in addition to the information published under s 8(2)), taking into account the objects of the FOI Act (s 8(4)).
The Administration will publish these documents in accordance with the timeframe set out in Annexure B.
Other information will be published under the following headings:
- This will include corporate and strategic plans, assessments and reviews.
- This will include financial information relating to pay and grading structures, procurement procedures, tendering and contracts.
- This will include the agency grants and appointments, and links to data sets.
- This will include submissions made by the Administration to Parliamentary committees and other agencies.
- This will include relevant Administration corporate policies.
IPS compliance review
The Administration will review and revise this agency plan at least annually, which will coincide with the Administration’s strategic planning process.
The Administration 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 Information Commissioner about IPS compliance review (better practice guidance material to assist agencies to comply with the IPS – to be published in the Information Commissioner’s regulatory capacity).
The Administration will adopt the following criteria for measuring its performance:
- agency plan – has the Administration published a comprehensive plan for its IPS compliance?
- Governance and administration – does the Administration have appropriate governance mechanisms in place to meet its IPS obligations, including a sound information management framework?
- IPS document holdings – has the Administration reviewed its document holdings to decide what information must be published under s 8(2) and information that can be published under s 8(4)? Is the Administration’s IPS entry accurate, up-to-date and complete?
- IPS information architecture – does the Administration have a publication framework in place and has it taken the necessary steps to ensure that information in its IPS entry is easily discoverable and accessible?
- Agency compliance review – does the Administration have appropriate processes, systems and resources in place to monitor and review its IPS compliance and to make necessary improvements to its IPS implementation?
Access charges for documents not available on the website
||10 cents per page
||Copy (other than photocopy)
||$4.40 per page
|Copy of the document in the form of a computer tape or copmuter disk
||An ammount not exceeding the actual cost incurred in producing the copy
|Copy of the document to be sent to the applicant by post or delivered to the applicant
||An ammount not exceeding the actual cost incurred in producing the copy and of
Indicative timetable – WCAG 2.0 conformance
The Administration will ensure, as is reasonably practicable, that all documents available on its website conform to WCAG 2.0 in accordance with the following timetable (subject to exceptions described below):
Indicative WCAG 2.0 conformance date
|All documents required to be published under s 8(2)
||RTF, PDF and/or HTML
||1 May 2013
|Optional information published under s 8(4)
||RTF, PDF and/or HTML
||1 September 2013
The majority of documents listed on the IPS section of the Administration website will be converted into HTML to meet accessibility requirements. A small number of exceptions may apply to:
- PDFs made of images of scanned 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)
- Charts, tables and forms (these can be supplied in accessible formats on request).
Where possible, documents covered by these exceptions will be published in two alternative formats.
3rd Floor New Military Barracks
NORFOLK ISLAND 2899
|Phone: +6723 22001
||Fax: +6723 23177