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FOI Request

Hi All,

I requested our screen notes 4.5 months ago from the CSA. They initially dod not pass on the request to the FOI officer, however the end of June, I received confirmation that the request was initiated. Almost 3 months on, we still have not received the screen notes. Several phone calls to the FOI department have revealed that they apperantly are "snowed under". however, I am starting to believe that they are delaying because we indicated to lodge another COA once the screen notes are received.

I have checked the complaints procedure, but I can only go to the Ombudsman if they refuse the request. They have not refused the request, but are just not sending the notes. Any idea how to proceed? Thanks….
Babushka,
              you should be able to get the screen notes from any operative as they are not protected. I'd suggest phoning the CSA and requesting them again. If the operative says they can't print them off there and then then have them phone the FOI officer whilst you are on hold who should confirm that they are not protected by FOI. You should get a reference no. if they don't arrive shortly, then contact them again but this time making a complaint and so on. Perhaps also mention that you will also make a claim for compensation. i.e. make it quite clear that you will not desist in obtaining your information and that the CSA withholding your information will only result in a greater burden upon the CSA.
I think three months is enough time to assume your request has been refused so perhaps you should get back to the Ombudsman office as well as sending a general complaint that your request appears to have been ignored.

Your issue highlights the problems with corresponding with C$A via the telephone. It's best to use the phone for more general enquiries but you should use good old snail mail (as they do not respond to emails) for more personal enquiries and make sure you give them a time frame for a response.

You could say that if they do not respond within 28 days you will send written complaints to C$A management, the Dept of Human services and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

This way of communicating is very effective and quick once you have your letter templates on your PC. You can also send your correspondence via C$A's free post account if you want to save on postage costs.

Thanks for your prompt replies, guys. This is interesting that the operator can print them off, because they keep telling me that the information needs to be checked a few times, so no information concerning the other party will be passed on to us.
Babushka,
              even if information regarding the other parent is on your screen notes, it is information that has been given to you and thus that, not the provision of the screen notes, would be the breach of privacy legislation. You could, in future, record all calls, for legal purposes, or only deal with the CSA in writing.
Suggest you follow up on the FOI request.  This is because you can then formally request any erroneous entries be either corrected or annotated.  Believe me, their record keeping is terrible.

FOI requests and the CSA

A  number of years ago I lodge an FOI request with CSA. It sat in limbo for many months. Eventually I approached my local Federal MP. A staff member wrote to the CSA on my behalf and surprise surprise - the file turned up a couple of weeks later.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Good idea, oneadac. I reckon it is about time to get our Federal MP member involved. And trust me, the Ombudsman is also hearing about this one. I already have it noted on my to do list, if the file does not turn up by tomorrow. We still have a few years to go regarding paying CS. If they think we will give up, they are very wrong.

FOI request application fees are set to ZERO

Changes to the FOI fees and charges regime were implemented by the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 1) which commenced on 1 November 2010 and amends the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations.

In summary, for applications received on or after 1 November 2010, the changes are:

- no application fee is payable for an FOI request or application for internal review; :thumbs:
- an applicant who seeks access to their own personal information does not pay any charges;
- for all other applications, the first five hours of decision-making time is free of charge; and
- any charges are not payable where an agency or Minister fails to notify a decision within a period prescribed in the Act (including a permitted extension period).

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
http://www.dpmc.gov.au/consultation/foi_reform/index.cfm
 
That page has moved to here:

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
http://www.dpmc.gov.au/foi/foi_reform.cfm
Alec,
       please feel free to send me details of what you're doing. I'm not sure if you're aware I'm actually a recipient so I have few hassles. In fact it has only been recently that I've applied for assessment after having elected to end assessment when I became the lives with parent of my son (not through court but through circumstances). In fact earlier today I initiated a complaint and request for compensation for the inconvenience caused, of me having to inform the CSA of their defective administration, due to the CSA setting my role as payer rather than payee. My little birdie inside the CSA though my response was very funny.


MikeT, to the CSA, said
Today I received email notification of the existence of a CSA Online letter for myself. The decision in the letter is that my application for assessment has been accepted. However, the letter, and also CSA Online, indicate that I have been flagged as the liable parent/payer. I reported, initially to the FAO and then subsequently to the CSA when applying for this assessment, that I have 70% of the care of the eligible child. I believe that my ATI is approximately $??,000 and that the other parent's ATI is approximately the same. The other parent has 3 relevant dependant children. I believe that these factors result in the other parent being the liable parent/payer and that the liability upon the other parent is approximately $??? per month. Furthermore section 40C of the Child Support Assessment Act clearly states even if the liability lies with the parent with the greater level of care, if the level of care is 65% or greater that no liability would exist.

My belief is that the APS code of conduct requires all Australian Public Servants to act with care and diligence in their course of APS employment. This is quite obviously not the case and the result is that I have been inconvenienced for what is an unacceptable error being that collecting and recording the information for assessment is the primary role of the CSA. As such the error is a case of defective administration. I therefore seek compensation to cover the unnecessary inconvenience that the defective administration has caused. As such I expect that the compensation officer to award myself the amount of $100. Noting that I am aware that the Commonwealth should not take advantage of its relative position of strength and that the decision making process and the decision have to be transparent.

 :lol:
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