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Freedom of Information - Information Statement

Last updated: 16/03/2016 4:12 PM
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Section 96(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) requires the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) to prepare and publish annually an Information Statement.

Introduction

Section 96(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) requires the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) to prepare and publish annually an Information Statement which should include the following:

  • A statement of the structure and functions of DLGC.
  • A description of the ways in which the functions (including, in particular, the decision making functions) of DLGC affect members of the public.
  • A description of any arrangements that exist to enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of DLGC’s policy and the performance of the agency’s functions.
  • A description of the kinds of documents that are usually held by the DLGC.
  • A description of the DLGC’s arrangements for giving members of the public access to documents mentioned in 4 above.
  • A description of the DLGC’s procedures for giving members of the public access to the documents of the agency under Part 2 Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA).
  • A description of the agency’s procedures for amending personal information in the documents of DLGC under Part 3 of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA).

This document has been prepared for the Department of Local Government and Communities and is correct as at 1 July 2015.

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Structure and function of DLGC

The Department of Local Government and Communities is the State Government agency responsible for strengthening and supporting the local government and community sectors in Western Australia.

The Department’s Vision is:

‘Making a difference for local communities’

Established on 1 July 2013, with a clear mandate to deliver tangible outcomes in local communities, DLGC aims to harness the positive work that is already occurring across the State while responding to the changing needs of our communities.

DLGC continues to play a key role in supporting local governments to plan for strong and sustainable communities, as well as promoting good governance and regulation.

As of 1 July 2015, DLGC consists of the following divisions:

DLGC aims to achieve the best possible outcomes for Western Australian communities by:

  • strengthening and supporting the local government and community service sectors
  • encouraging and supporting older people to live full and active lives
  • encouraging and supporting young people to engage in community life
  • strengthening parenting and enriching the lives of children and families
  • supporting volunteering in the community
  • recognising and supporting the valued contribution of carers
  • identifying and addressing the unique issues faced by women
  • strengthening and supporting cultural diversity in communities.

DLGC’s aims are:

  • innovative and integrated local solutions
  • improved service delivery
  • tangible outcomes for communities.

This will be achieved through:

  • leadership and influence
  • collaboration
  • partnerships
  • facilitation
  • coordination
  • regulation
  • education
  • empowerment.

DLGC works with partners building strong relationships to ensure local outcomes for communities of interest and communities in place. Our partners include:

  • Commonwealth, State and local government
  • community services sector
  • business and industry
  • State Government’s Partnership Forum.

Operational Structure

DLGC was established on 1 July 2013 under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA). The new department amalgamated the functions and staff of the former Department of Local Government and the Department for Communities.

Organisational Structure as at 1 July 2015

Graphic of the Organisational Structure as at 1 July 2015

Reporting relationships to Ministers

At 1 July 2015 the department was responsible to the following Ministers:

  • Hon Tony Simpson MLA Minister for Local Government; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Youth
  • Hon Dr Mike Nahan Minister for Energy; Finance; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and Treasurer
  • Hon Liza Harvey MLA Minister for Police; Tourism; Road Safety; Women’s Interests
  • Hon Joe Francis MLA Minister for Emergency Services; Corrective Services; Small Business; Veterans.

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DLGC services and support

DLGC provides the following services and support to a range of stakeholders which can include local governments, community sector organisations and members of the public:

Early childhood education and care

The Department of Local Government and Communities regulates all services covered by the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012. Education and care services include centre based services, such as long day care and outside school-hours care, and family day care services. In addition, information and support is provided to parents choosing child care, enabling them to make informed decisions about the quality of education and care available. Regulation includes quality assurance, assessment and rating of services, monitoring and compliance under the National Quality Framework.

Regional community child care development

DLGC funds initiatives including strategic and operational grants to support the development and sustainability of community-managed education and care (formerly known as child care) across regional Western Australia.

Parenting support

DLGC provides free, state-wide, multi-faceted and accessible services to parents and others seeking information about raising children up to 18 years of age.

Aboriginal early childhood programs

DLGC operates the Aboriginal Early Years – Best Start program to improve the life opportunities of Aboriginal children aged 0–5 years, strengthen parenting and prepare Aboriginal children for school. The Department does this through the provision of free, multi-faceted and culturally appropriate activities and information services to parents.

Carers

DLGC works to support carers through administration of the Carers Recognition Act 2004 (the Act); the provision of support to the Carers Advisory Council – including monitoring compliance with the Act and Carers Charter; funding to support carers; and evidence-based initiatives.

Community funding and grants

DLGC’s role in ‘Making a difference for local communities’ incorporates strengthening and supporting local government and community service sectors through recurrent funding, grants and partnering in the delivery of community services.

Seniors

DLGC connects directly with older people through the provision of the WA Seniors Card and associated rebates and concessions. The Department supports seniors indirectly through the agencies and organisations that have a close working relationship with older people.

Volunteers

DLGC fosters the development of volunteering in Western Australia through policy development and the provision of specialised programs.

Women’s interests

Through informed policy, programs and initiatives, DLGC identifies and addresses the particular and sometimes unique issues faced by women.

Youth

DLGC encourages the participation of all young people in community life so that they may contribute, develop life skills and engage in programs and services that meet their needs.

Country local government reform

DLGC supports country local government reform including support to local governments engaged in Regional Collaborative Groups. The objective is to deliver better services and cost savings through implementation of collaborative initiatives, with support provided through the Royalties for Regions Country Local Government Fund.

Local government capacity building

Through the Royalties for Regions Country Local Government fund, DLGC supports country local governments to increase their capacity to govern effectively and sustainably. The Local Government Capacity Building and Regional Reform program accessed funding from the Country Local Government Fund to assist country local governments to achieve these goals.

Legislative development and review

DLGC continued the development and enactment of various legislative amendments to improve the operation.

Local government advice and support

DLGC’s monitoring and compliance functions include conducting investigations, assessing complaints and allegations, and managing and processing statutory approvals. DLGC’s advice and support functions include developing support programs to strengthen good governance, developing materials to assist local governments build capability and comply with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1995, and monitoring local government through analysis of their operations. DLGC also provides a range of support and advice to local governments preparing for elections.

Public participation

Members of the public have a number of opportunities to put forward their view on particular issues relating to DLGC that include, but are not limited to:

  • petitions
  • written requests
  • correspondence through their elected Member
  • community consultation including advisory councils
  • DLGC website.

Documents held by DLGC

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) defines a document as any:

  • record
  • part of a record
  • copy, reproduction or duplicate of a record, or
  • part of a copy, reproduction or duplicate of record.

Documents held by DLGC may be recorded in any of the following media:

  • Paper based records, for example memos, correspondence, maps, plans, or photos.
  • Any sound based record, for example cassettes or Dictaphone tapes.
  • Any image based record, for example films, video tapes, or optical discs.
  • Any digital based records, for example digital files, computer tapes, or floppy discs.

DLGC generates documents in various areas, such as administration, departments and individual offices. Information is also found on the DLGC website.

DLGC holds and produces many different types of documents. Several of these documents are available to the public at no cost, outside of the freedom of information processes. Such documents may include:

  • brochures
  • research reports
  • guides
  • marketing and publicity guidelines for recipients of grants and funding
  • application forms
  • service directories
  • award nomination guidelines and forms
  • annual reports
  • operational plans
  • WA Government Gazettes
  • WA Parliamentary Debates
  • Strategic Plans.

Many of the above documents can be found in publications.

DLGC also holds many kinds of documents that are not available to the public. Such documents include, but are not limited to:

  • operational information
  • administrative information
  • application information
  • staff information, or
  • contractual information.

Requesting access to documents

The public are encouraged to contact DLGC with regard to any document that the department holds. DLGC will endeavour to release the document outside of the Freedom of Information process where possible. Where the document is unavailable outside of the Freedom of Information process, DLGC will assist the public with the process for obtaining the document under Freedom of Information.

Public access under Part 2 Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA)

DLGC is committed to administering the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) and the associated Freedom of Information Regulations 1993 (WA). DLGC welcomes members of the public to exercise their right of access to information held by the department in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA).
DLGC will administer the Freedom of Information Act in a way that:

  • allows access to documents to be obtained promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost
  • assists the public to ensure that personal information contained in documents is accurate, complete, up to date and is not misleading.

While the Freedom of Information Act provides for general right of access to documents it also recognises that some documents require protection from release. These exemptions are listed in Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act.

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Application

There is no set format for applying for documents under Freedom of Information, however, to be considered valid, an application must:

  • be in writing
  • give enough information to enable the requested documents to be identified
  • give an address in Australia to which notices can be sent
  • give any other information or details required under the Regulations
  • be lodged at DLGC with any application fee payable under the Regulations.

Costs

There is an initial application fee of $30 for non-personal information and no cost for personal information. The application fee (if applicable) is payable on lodgement of the application. Charges may also apply for processing of the application and are set out in the Freedom of Information Regulations. Additional charges may apply in respect to the provision and delivery of information. The cost for obtaining documents under Freedom of Information varies from application to application.

Time frame

There are strict timeframes associated with the processing of a Freedom of Information application. Once an application is considered valid, DLGC has 45 days in which to process it and give the applicant a Notice of Decision. Time extensions may be considered and are done by mutual consent of the parties.

DLGC’s process for access to documents under Freedom of Information is available on the department’s Freedom of Information web page.

Freedom of Information Coordinator

More information is available from the Freedom of Information Coordinator. Send your request/queries to:

Freedom of Information Coordinator
Department of Local Government and Communities
GPO Box R1250
Perth WA 6844
Email: info@dlgc.wa.gov.au

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Procedures for amending personal information in the documents of the Agency under Part 3

The public has a right to expect State and local government agencies to hold accurate, complete, up to date personal information. The public has the right to amend personal information which the Department holds which they suspect or know is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading.

An application for amendment has to:

  • be in writing
  • give enough details to enable the document  that contains the information to be identified
  • give details of the matters in relation to which the person believes the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading
  • give the person’s reasons for holding that belief
  • give details of the amendment that the person wishes to have made
  • give an address in Australia to which notices can be sent
  • give any other information of details required under the regulations
  • be lodged at DLGC.

Costs

There is no application fee or processing costs associated with the amendment of personal information.

Time frames

There are time frames associated with an application to amend personal information.

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