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External scrutiny

National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia Advisory Council Annual Report 2015-16

The Archives is subject to scrutiny by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Federal Court of Australia, Auditor-General, Commonwealth Ombudsman, Privacy Commissioner and parliamentary committees.

The Archives makes decisions on access to Commonwealth records under the Archives Act. Applicants who are dissatisfied with a decision of the Archives can in certain circumstances seek a review from the Administrative AAT. The process involves an applicant lodging an application for review to the AAT, in connection with applications made under the Archives Act for access to Commonwealth records. In 2015–16 the AAT received one appeal from a member of the public who was dissatisfied with decisions of the Archives. The Archives responded to 24 appeals that carried over from the 2014-15 financial year. At 30 June 2016 a total of 24 appeals remained before the AAT.

There were no cases on matters relating to the Archives before the Federal Court of Australia in 2015–16.

In 2015–16 the Archives was not the subject of any Australian National Audit Office performance audits.

During 2015–16 the Commonwealth Ombudsman did not investigate any complaints about the Archives. There are no outstanding complaints.

The Privacy Commissioner made no reports under section 30 of the Privacy Act 1988 concerning actions taken, or practices by, the Archives during 2015–16.

In June 2015 the Archives made a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications Inquiry into the role of Smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure in support of digital transformation, and to provide advisory capacity to initiatives related to national standards for data storage and access. The Assistant Director-General Government Information Assurance and Policy attended the committee hearing on behalf of the Archives on 16 September 2015.

In 2015–16 the Archives received four freedom of information requests, the decisions on which are scheduled for 2016–17.

The Archives was not the subject of any investigations by the Australian Information Commissioner during 2015–16.

Information Publication Scheme

Entities subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act.

The Archives is subject to the FOI Act and complies with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme established by the Act. The Archives recognises that government information is a national resource to be managed for public purposes. It therefore ensures appropriate disclosure, via its website, of its information holdings. To ensure successful implementation of the Information Publication Scheme, the Archives:

  • proactively identifies and publishes all information that is required to be published under the scheme
  • proactively identifies and publishes optional information
  • reviews and ensures on a regular basis that information published under the scheme is accurate, up to date and complete
  • ensures that information published under the scheme is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, re-useable and transformable
  • ensures satisfactory conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
  • measures the success of its Information Publication Scheme by reviewing processes.

The agency plan can be found on the Archives' website (naa.gov.au).