ACLEI is required by Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to implement an Information Publication Scheme. This requirement has applied since 1 May 2011.
All references are to sections of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, unless otherwise stated.
ACLEI’s Agency Information Publication Scheme Plan (s 8(2)(a))
ACLEI’s Information Publication Scheme Plan, called the Section 8 Plan, is available on ACLEI’s website.
Structure of the Agency (s 8(2)(b))
The office of Integrity Commissioner is established by section 14 of the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 (the LEIC Act). The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity is established under section 195 of the LEIC Act to assist the Integrity Commissioner in the performance of his or her functions and is a “non-corporate entity” for the purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The LEIC Act also contemplates the appointment of Assistant Integrity Commissioners.
Information about the Integrity Commissioner and ACLEI can be found on ACLEI’s website, under About, as well as in records listed under Reports, Submissions and Speeches. Current and historical versions of the LEIC Act can be accessed through www.comlaw.gov.au.
The Integrity Commissioner and ACLEI are based in Canberra. ACLEI also has a presence in Sydney and its staff work throughout Australia as circumstances demand.
Powers and functions of the Integrity Commissioner and ACLEI (s 8(2)(c))
Under section 15 of the LEIC Act, the Integrity Commissioner has functions including preventing, detecting and investigating corrupt conduct in designated Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, as well as conducting public inquiries. Under section 196 of the LEIC Act, ACLEI has the function of assisting the Integrity Commissioner in performing those functions.
Statutory powers affecting members of the public under the LEIC Act can be exercised by the Integrity Commissioner, a delegated Assistant Integrity Commissioner (if appointed) or a delegated Senior Executive Service (SES) employee (though some powers in relation to Notices to Produce, the conduct of hearings and entry into premises cannot be exercised by an SES employee). The powers of the Integrity Commissioner that could affect a member of the public include powers to:
require the production of information or things
require attendance of a witness at a hearing where the witness would be required to answer questions
to disseminate information to other relevant agencies, and
to issue a report containing critical findings or opinions about a person who is or may be able to be identified.
Aside from powers under the LEIC Act, the Integrity Commissioner or an authorised ACLEI officer may also exercise special investigative powers under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, the Surveillance Device Act 2004 and the Crimes Act 1914. These powers are explained on ACLEI’s website under Responsibilities and Powers and Accountability for Use of Powers.
Lastly, the Integrity Commissioner or an authorised ACLEI officer may exercise powers under the Public Order (Protection of Person and Property) Act 1971 (the PO Act) to ensure the safe conduct of hearings. Under the PO Act, the Integrity Commissioner or an authorised officer may require a person attending a hearing to provide personal particulars or submit to a frisk search and deposit any hazardous substance or weapon.
Appointments (s 8(2)(d))
The current Integrity Commissioner, Ms Jaala Hinchcliffe, was appointed by the Governor-General for a five year term commencing on 10 February 2020. Every other ACLEI staff member is employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
Annual Reports (s 8(2)(e))
ACLEI’s Annual Reports are available on the ACLEI website.
Opportunity to comment on policy proposals (s 8(2)(f))
ACLEI does not produce or develop policy proposals requiring external consultation. If circumstances arose where public consultation was appropriate it would generally be conducted by the Attorney-General’s Department.
Information routinely provided in response to FOI requests (s 8(2)(g))
ACLEI deals with each FOI request it receives according to the FOI Act and on its merits. There is no distinct or definable class of material to which ACLEI could be said to provide access on a routine basis.
Where ACLEI has disclosed information following an FOI request, it may (depending on whether the content of the information falls within the class referred to in section 11C of the FOI Act) include the information in its Disclosure Log that is available on ACLEI’s website.
Information routinely provided to Parliament (s 8(2)(h))
ACLEI is required to provide Parliament with:
reports related to the use of intrusive powers (to intercept telecommunications, access stored communications and data, use assumed identities, use surveillance devices and conduct controlled operations)
As well, ACLEI makes submissions to Parliamentary Committees from time to time and may be invited to give oral evidence. ACLEI also appears before Senate Estimates Committees as required. Details of those appearances, most transcripts, questions on notice and answers can be found on the Parliament website.
Making contact about FOI (s 8(2)(i))
ACLEI has an FOI Coordinator, who is a member of ACLEI’s legal section. The FOI Coordinator can be contacted to discuss FOI matters. The FOI Coordinator can be approached through ACLEI’s switchboard ((02) 6141 2300), by writing to GPO Box 605, Canberra ACT 2601 or by e-mail to foi [at] aclei.gov.au.
ACLEI invites community feedback on its IPS entry and compliance. ACLEI will evaluate feedback and respond to comments received.
The FOI Charges Regulations specify different rates for the various activities involved in processing a request. The main charges are:
search and retrieval – $15 per hour
decision making – $20 per hour
photocopy – 10c per page
transcript – $4.40 per page
supervised inspection – $6.25 per half hour
delivery – cost of postage or delivery.
There is no charge for making an FOI request to an agency or Minister for access to a document, or for amendment or annotation of a personal record. The first five hours of decision making time is free for all applicants.
The FOI Act permits charges to be reduced or waived in some cases.
There is an application fee for review of decisions by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
FOI Reviews and Complaints
The FOI Act enables a person to seek review of a decision under the Act, through internal review, review by the Information Commissioner and review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
A person with a complaint about the way in which an FOI request has been handled may complain to the Information Commissioner or to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Further and more detailed information about rights and responsibilities under the FOI Act can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.
Operational Information (s 8(2)(j))
ACLEI has published its guidelines in relation to hearings, coercive notices and information handling on its website. These documents set out the processes which ACLEI follows, as well as the powers and obligations of members of the public who deal with ACLEI in relation to hearings or coercive notices.
ACLEI has also published its standard operating procedures in relation to the use of particular powers, namely surveillance devices, telecommunications and stored communications, and controlled operations and integrity testing.
ACLEI will continue to publish operational information to the extent it is not exempt under section 37 of the FOI Act.
The Integrity Commissioner and ACLEI have made available on the ACLEI website a range of material, including:
ACLEI’s list of agency contracts and its budget papers, which can be found on the Finance page of ACLEI’s website (ACLEI adheres to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which can be found on the Department of Finance’s website. All ACLEI tenders are published on AusTender)
transcripts of speeches given by the Integrity Commissioner and senior staff members of ACLEI
legislation relevant to ACLEI
information on how to report a corruption issue to ACLEI, including (for ease of access) an online form
links to websites of the agencies within ACLEI’s jurisdiction, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ACLEI, and other Australian anti-corruption agencies
research reports and corruption prevention materials prepared by ACLEI
submissions to Inquiries and Parliamentary Committees, authored by ACLEI, and usually available after tabling by the relevant Committee
general information and guidelines for people dealing with ACLEI (‘Information Guidelines’, ‘Notice to Produce Guidelines’ and ‘Hearings Guidelines’)