Part II Compliance by Monash University
The Freedom of Information Act is directed to the making of information readily available to the public. Part II prescribes certain matters and these are set out so the public will have a consistent point of reference should they wish to inquire about an organisation. It is expected it will overcome and avoid the making of a formal application for routine inquiries.
Each July during preparation of the Freedom of Information Annual Report to the Information Commissioner, compliance with Part II of the Act will be reviewed.
The Education sector, especially at a tertiary level, produces as part of its product, a multitude of reports and papers prepared by experts across many fields. This is a necessary product of any post secondary educational body.
In preparing its Part II statement, Monash University recognised the immensity of attempting to produce a listing of all matters for an organisation that has over 6,000 staff, 48,000 students and over $1.4B in assets. While the Act expects reports prepared by "experts" to be listed, such a prescription might result in the listing of all material produced by all university academics (both students and staff). This is seen as impractical for present purposes but set out below is a process that makes much more information readily available than has been considered achievable in the past.
In regard to publications, Monash University has listed on its FOI web site those major publications affecting the whole of the university. Again for a body the size of a university, it is seen as impractical to list each and every document "published" as part of the education process. Publications excluded are those produced locally as part of the teaching processes or those local publications that reprint or re-present material already published in the major university publications. This Part II publications list is primarily derived from the "publications" web page that sets out the major "whole of organisation" publications. it is likely variations or local reprinted material will also be listed where the Monash Search engine responds to a search for publications. This additional listing is seen as an extra benefit of using the web as the vehicle to provide the Part II statement.
In regard to reports, Monash University has on its FOI web site links to and lists of those reports that are organisationally significant. This type of report can also be described as those that are submitted for consideration to the major decision making bodies of the university. These bodies are the Council and the Academic Board. The list will be derived from a scan of the agendas and minutes of these major decision making bodies of the university.
Those not seen as relevant for particular inclusion in the Part II list will be those reports prepared or produced as part of the normal research activities or educational activities of the university. While these matters are of importance to the university and are part of the creativity of tertiary institutions, they are not seen to be those matters caught by Part II of the Act. Like the publications matter mentioned above, the task has the potential to be enormous. Every endeavour will be given to aid the identification of those "other report" categories of reports via results set out by the Monash Search Engine responding to the word report. This additional listing is seen as an extra benefit of using the web as the vehicle to provide the Part II statement.
The Part II listing is divided up as follows:
Statement 1 - Statement of Organisation and Functions of the University
Statement 2 - Statement of Categories of Documents held
Statement 3 - Details of FOI Arrangements
Statement 4 - List of Publications and reports produced
Statement 5 - List of Board and Committee Minutes available to the public
Access to the Freedom of Information Act Part II documents is offered freely on the web, where they can be perused and downloaded. A number of such documents are only held in electronic form. Should a person wish to physically inspect or purchase a hard copy of a document as listed in the Section 8 Statement (ie, in Statement 5 - Statement of Procedures and Guidelines used), they should contact the Freedom of Information Officer. Her details are:-
Ms Fiona Hunt
Freedom of Information Officer
Chancellery Building A, 27 Chancellors Walk, Monash University 3800
Telephone + 61 3 9905 5137
Charges will apply for any copy requested and supplied. Where the estimated charge is thought to exceed $50.00, a 50% deposit will be sought.
It should be noted that the charge of 1.5 fee units per hour or part hour (fee unit as defined under the Monetary Units Act 2004) will apply to recover the cost of the time required to find the identify the documents and a cost of 20 cents per page will be charged for printed copies. As each document various in size from time to time, costs will need to be calculated at the time of the request.