IPS Agency Plan

Last updated: 03 May 2012

This page is: current

Information Publication Scheme Agency plan

Introduction

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) 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 APSC proposes to do this, as required by s. 8(1) of the FOI Act.

The APSC is an independent statutory agency established under the Public Service Act 1999. It is headed by the Australian Public Service Commissioner and supported by the Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner. The independent statutory office of the Merit Protection Commissioner is also located within the APSC.

This agency plan describes how the APSC proposes to implement and administer the IPS in relation to its own information holdings, by:

  • establishing and administering the APSC’s IPS contribution
  • addressing its information architecture
  • addressing information required to be published
  • addressing other information to be published (optional information)
  • addressing accessibility to information published
  • reviewing its compliance.

The APSC will continue to build and foster a culture within the agency, in which appropriate proactive disclosure of its information holdings is embraced, leading to successful implementation and administration of the IPS. This is in recognition that public sector information is a national resource managed for public purposes.

Purpose

The purpose of this agency plan is to:

  • assist the APSC in planning and developing its contribution to the IPS
  • outline what information the agency proposes to publish (referred to as the IPS information holdings), how and to whom the information will be published and how the APSC will otherwise comply with the IPS requirements (s. 8(1)).

Note: in this plan, information to be published by the APSC under the IPS is referred to as the IPS information holdings, or as the IPS documents when referring to individual documents.

Objectives

The APSC’s objectives are to outline appropriate mechanisms and procedures to:

  • manage the IPS information holdings
  • proactively identify and publish all information required to be published (s. 8(2))
  • proactively identify and publish any optional information to be published (s. 8(4))
  • review and ensure on a regular basis that information published under the IPS is accurate, up to date and complete (s. 8B)
  • ensure that information published under the IPS is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, re-useable and transformable
  • ensure satisfactory conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) (WCAG 2.0)
  • adopt best practice initiatives in implementing and administering the APSC’s contribution to the IPS.

Establishing and administering the APSC’s IPS contribution

The Group Manager, Client Engagement (GM-CE) is designated by the APSC as the senior officer responsible for leading the APSC’s compliance with the IPS.

Establishing the APSC’s IPS contribution by 1 May 2011

The GM-CE will be supported by the Communications Committee to establish the APSC’s contribution to the IPS.

The Communications Committee will comprise:

  • the Communications Manager
  • representatives from each Group/Branch
  • other specialist communications staff from Client Engagement Group.

The Communications Committee will set up other ad hoc working groups as required.

The Website Manager has prepared an IPS project plan for tasks to be completed by 1 May 2011, including:

  • the APSC’s goals in relation to the IPS
  • how the APSC will achieve those goals (i.e. tasks to be completed and responsibility for each goal).

A register of information required or permitted to be published under s. 8(2) and s. 8(4) has been prepared.

To prepare the register, the Commission has:

  • audited documents currently published on the APSC website (www.APSC.gov.au) and identified the documents that will form part of the IPS from 1 May 2011
  • created a list of IPS documents (including those not already published on the APSC website)
  • identified any IPS documents that are not accurate, up to date or complete
  • nominated a staff member responsible for ensuring a particular IPS document which was not accurate, up to date or complete, was revised by 1 May 2011.

Administering information published under the IPS from 1 May 2011

The Client Engagement Group of the APSC will oversee tasks associated with complying with the IPS. All groups within the Commission will be responsible for ensuring that their IPS information holdings are current. For example:

  • The FOI Contact Officer will manage all information relating to the FOI Act
  • Group Manager, Corporate, will notify changes relating to statutory officers within the Commission and to the structure, roles and functions of the Commission
  • Group Manager, Corporate, will ensure that the annual report and lists supplied to Parliament are available and current
  • Group Manager, APS Workforce, will ensure that the State of the Service series is available and current.

As part of managing the ongoing administration of the IPS information holdings, the Client Engagement Group will develop a guide to publishing information under the IPSfor APSC 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 optional information to be published under the IPS
  • describe the process for publishing information.

The Client Engagement Group will lead better practice initiatives to engage with the community about the APSC’s contribution to the IPS. These include:

  • making IPS documents as easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable as possible
  • inviting members of the public to contact the FOI contact officer via the APSC website with comments on the IPS information holdings, particularly where documents are found not to be discoverable, understandable or machine-readable.

The Client Engagement Group will also arrange APSC IPS documents, which are not available on the APSC website, to be made available upon request.

The APSC may charge a person for accessing any IPS document which it is impracticable to publish online:

  • at the lowest reasonable cost
  • to cover specific reproduction costs or other specific incidental costs (s. 8D(4)).

The APSC will publish on its website a list of any IPS documents that are impracticable to publish online. The website will state that a person seeking access to any of these documents may contact an IPS Contact Officer (details available from the website) 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 2011.

IPS information architecture

The APSC will publish its IPS information holdings on its website in accordance with the timetable at Annexure B (except where this is impracticable).

The IPS information holdings that are available on the APSC website, will be published under the following headings:

  • agency plan (s. 8(2)(a)
  • who we are (s. 8(2)(b) and s. 8(2)(d))
  • what we do (s. 8(2)(c) and s. 8(2)(j))
  • our reports and responses to Parliament (s. 8(2)(e) and s. 8(2)(h))
  • routinely requested information and disclosure log (s. 8(2)(g) and s. 11C)
  • consultation arrangements (s. 8(2)(f))
  • our priorities (s.. 8(4))
  • our finances (s. 8(4))
  • our lists (s. 8(4))
  • contact us (s. 8(2)(i)).

To ensure that the IPS information holdings (and individual IPS documents) are easily discoverable, understandable and machine-readable, the APSC will:

  • publish an IPS link on the homepage of its website, which will link to the IPS section of the website
  • design and publish an IPS entry point on its website
  • wherever possible, provide online content in a format that can be searched, copied and transformed
  • publish references on the sitemap for its website, to help individuals identify the location of information published under s. 8(2) and s. 8(4).

The APSC will make its IPS documents available on the IPS section of the website by providing links from the IPS section to relevant documents.

The APSC will, so far as possible, make its IPS information holdings available for reuse on open licensing terms.

Where the APSC has deposited or published IPS documents under a scheme such as the Commonwealth Library Deposit, the National Sound and Film Archive or www.data.gov.au, the APSC will publish on its website information about the deposits (including links where available).

Information required to be published under the IPS

The APSC will publish documents required to be published under the IPS (s 8(2)) in the IPS section of the website at www.apsc.gov.au/freedomofinformation/IPSAgencyPlan.

The APSC will publish these documents in accordance with the timeframe set out in Annexure B.

The APSC will publish these documents under the following headings:

Agency plan

Who we are

This will include an organisation chart, the Agency Employment Agreement and information about statutory appointments.

For statutory appointees, the APSC 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 Australian Public Service Commissioner, the Australian Merit Protection Commissioner and senior management committees.
  • The APSC will also publish rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to these functions and powers.

Our reports and responses to Parliament

  • This will include the full text of the APSC’s recent annual reports (2008–2009 and 2009–2010) tabled in Parliament.
  • This will include the full text of the APSC’s recent State of the Service reports (2008–2009 and 2009–2010) tabled in Parliament.

Routinely requested information

  • This will include information in documents to which the APSC routinely gives access in response to FOI requests.
  • The APSC will clearly identify these documents in its disclosure log, published under s 11C of the FOI Act – which requires agencies to publish information contained in documents to which the agency has provided access under the FOI Act.

Consultation

  • This will include information about how and to whom a comment may be submitted by members of the public, where the APSC undertakes public consultation on a specific policy proposal.

Contact us

  • This will include the name, telephone number and an email address for a contact officer, who can be contacted about access to the APSC’s information or documents under the FOI Act. The APSC will establish generic telephone numbers and email addresses for this purpose that will not change with staff movements.

Optional information to be published under the IPS

The APSC 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 APSC will publish these documents in accordance with the timeframe set out in Attachment B.

Optional information will be published under the following headings:

Our priorities

  • This will include corporate and strategic plans.

Our finances

  • This will include financial information relating to pay and grading structures, procurement procedures, tendering and contracts.

Our lists

  • This will include agency contracts, grants and appointments, and links to data sets.
  • In addition, in the IPS section the APSC will publish a link to other publications not covered by these headings, including fact sheets, speeches and guidelines.

Accessibility under the IPS

Approach to accessibility by commencement of the IPS

The APSC’s dedicated IPS section of its website will state that where a document is not yet available in an accessible format, it will be made available in an accessible format on request, by contacting the Webmaster. This may be subject to a small number of exceptions identified in Annexure B.

Approach to accessibility after commencement of the IPS

From commencement of the IPS, the APSC will publish any new IPS documents as soon as they are available for publication.

The APSC will ensure that all information newly published on the APSC website conforms with the WCAG 2.0 as soon as possible.

IPS compliance review

The APSC will review and revise this agency plan at least annually, which will coincide with the APSC’s strategic planning process.

The APSC 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.


Annexure A

Access charges for documents not available on the website
No. Document title Date Format Charges
1. Public Service Commissioner annual reports
State of the Service reports
2002-03 to 2008-9 Photocopy 10 cents per page
Copy of the document in the form of a computer tape or a computer disk An amount not exceeding the actual costs incurred by the APSC in producing the copy
Copy of the document to be sent to the applicant by post or delivered to the applicant An amount not exceeding the cost of postage or delivery

Annexure B

Indicative timetable – WCAG 2.0 conformance

The APSC will ensure, to the extent possible, that all documents available on its website conform with WCAG 2.0 in accordance with the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy.

The majority of documents listed on the IPS section of the APSC website will be available in 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 alternative formats.

The APSC will use automatic converters to convert a document into HTML. These documents will be proof read for accuracy.

The APSC will ensure that all new documents to be published in the IPS section after 1 May 2011 conform with WCAG 2.0 as soon as possible.