vicinspectorate.vic.gov.au

Freedom of Information - Victorian Inspectorate

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) gives you the right to request access to some records we hold.

Before you make a freedom of information (FOI) request

It is important for you to know that access to a large number of our documents and other information is limited by the application of exclusions provided for under section 102 of the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (VI Act).

The FOI Act does not apply to documents in the possession of the VI or a VI officer, to the extent that document discloses information that relates to:

  • a complaint made under the VI Act
  • an inspection made under the VI Act
  • an investigation conducted under the VI Act
  • a recommendation made by the VI under the VI Act
  • a report, including a progress report, on an investigation conducted under the VI Act

The exemptions also apply to the above information where it is in the possession of other relevant persons or bodies. 

We already publish a range of information on our website. You may be able to find the information you need without having to make an FOI request.

The Freedom of Information Part II Information Statements (below) describe how the Victorian Inspectorate (VI) makes information readily available to the public. Providing easily accessible information reduces the need for the public to submit requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic).

  • The Victorian Inspectorate (VI) was established in 2013 by the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (Vic) to oversee other integrity, accountability and investigatory bodies and their officers. As an independent statutory office, we report directly to Parliament.

    The VI’s functions are set out under the VI Act. Information relating to the organisation and function of the VI can be found on the following sections of the website:

    The VI is overseen by two (2) parliamentary committees - the Integrity and Oversight Committee and the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee. Information about our accountability can be found on the About us section of this website.

    The VI is constituted by the Inspector who is appointed by the Governor-in-Council for a five (5) year term and is an Independent Officer of the Parliament.

    There are a number of Acts and Regulations which are relevant and are available on the Victorian Legislation website and the Federal Register of Legislation website.

    The Acts and Regulations relevant to the VI’s operations are as follows:

    • Crimes (Controlled Operations) Act 2004 (Vic)
    • Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic)
    • Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic)
    • Judicial Commission of Victoria Act 2016 (Vic)
    • Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004 (Vic)
    • Public Interest Monitor Act 2011 (Vic)
    • Ombudsman Act 1973 (Vic)
    • Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)
    • Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 (Vic)
    • Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Commonwealth)
    • Telecommunications (Interception) (State Provisions) Act 1988 (Vic)
    • Wildlife Act 1975 (Vic)
    • Witness Protection Act 1991 (Vic)
    • Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic)
    • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
    • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic)
    • Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
    • Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic)
    • Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Vic)
    • Financial Management Act 1994 (Vic)
    • Public Records Act 1973 (Vic)
    • Audit Act 1994 (Vic)
  • The VI creates a large number of electronic and hard copy documents in the course of its work. To assist in the management of its records, the VI also uses an electronic document and records management system to classify, store and access a broad range of documents.

    Under section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) an agency must publish a statement of the categories of documents it maintains. This statement broadly describes the documents held by the VI.

    The types of documents that we create and maintain include:

    • audio and audio-visual materials and transcripts
    • briefings and reports
    • case files
    • correspondence
    • financial records
    • human resource records
    • governance records
    • meeting records
    • policies, procedures and standards
    • registers
    • reviews

    The documents fall into the following categories:

    • administration
    • human resources
    • financial management
    • incident reports
    • legal services
    • policies and procedures
    • business planning
    • government relations
    • operational
    • training and education

    The above examples are not an exhaustive list and only provide a snapshot of information available.

    The VI’s information assets are documented in an Information Assets Register.

    Documents created by the Special Investigations Monitor that are held by the VI

    The VI also holds documents created by the former Special Investigations Monitor (SIM). In broad terms, the types of documents that SIM created are the same as those types created by VI (listed above).

    On 1 July 2012, the SIM and the Office of the SIM, were abolished and succeeded by the VI.* 

    All information, documents, reports, records and equipment in the possession or control of the SIM under the Major Crime (Special Investigations Monitor) Act  (MC (SIM) Act), any other Act or otherwise, were transferred to the custody of the VI and are taken to be information, documents, reports, records and equipment in the possession or control of VI.**

    The Office of the SIM’s annual reports  can be accessed on this website through our Publications and resources.

    *pursuant to clauses 3 and 4 of the Schedule to the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (Vic) (VI Act)

    **by operation of clause 6 of the Schedule to the VI Act

  • Under the FOI Act members of the public have the right to request information and access documents about their personal affairs and the VI activities.  The VI’s website provides general information to assist people making requests for documents or information.

    A freedom of information request must be made in writing. Requests for documents held by the VI should be sent to:

    Victorian Inspectorate 
    Freedom of Information
    PO Box 617
    Collins Street West, Melbourne Victoria 8007

    Alternatively, you may send your request by email: privacy@vicinspectorate.vic.gov.au

    The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner's website contains further information on how to access documents or information under the FOI Act.

    Information on how to make a freedom of information request and how the VI is complying with freedom of information obligations is also published in the VI’s annual report.

    Exclusions

    Please check these exclusions prior to making a freedom of information application.

    Certain VI documents are excluded from the scope of the FOI Act.

    Excluded documents under the FOI Act

    VI documents

    Public interest disclosures

    Section 102 of the VI Act states that the FOI Act does not apply to a document that is in the possession of a relevant person or body to the extent to which the document discloses information that relates to:

    • a complaint made under the VI Act
    • an inspection made under the VI Act
    • an investigation conducted under the VI Act
    • a recommendation made by the VI under the VI Act
    • a report, including a progress report, on an investigating conducted under the VI Act

     

    A relevant person or body for the purpose of section 102 means:

    • the VI or a VI officer;
    • the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission;
    • the office of the Ombudsman;
    • an Ombudsman officer;
    • a VAGO officer;
    • the Chief Commissioner of Police;
    • a Public Interest Monitor;
    • the Victorian Workcover Authority;
    • the Director of Public Prosecutions;
    • the Australian Federal Police;
    • the Chief Examiner and any Examiner;
    • the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner or any officer of that Office;
    • the Judicial Commission; and
    • any other prescribed person

    Section 78 of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 states that the FOI Act does not apply to a document to the extent to which the document discloses information that:

    • relates to a public interest disclosure
    • relates to an assessable disclosure
    • is likely to lead to the identification of a person who made a public interest disclosure

    These are broad categories and include all documents and information relating to a complaint or investigation. 

    These exemptions apply even if you are the complainant or person who has been under investigation by a relevant person or body.

    If any of the above exclusions apply to a document, the document will not be considered or provided under FOI and an application will not be successful under the FOI Act. 

    If a document or information is not subject to the above exclusions, it will be assessed by the VI under the FOI Act. A decision will be made on whether or not to release the document or whether an exemption under the FOI Act applies.  You can make a request in writing by sending it to the VI. Your request should clearly set out the documents or information you seek from the VI, with enough detail to enable the VI to identify the relevant material.

    The VI may also refuse an FOI request where processing the request would substantially and unreasonably direct VI’s resources from its other operations. You should therefore try to make your requests for access as specific as reasonably possible in the circumstances.

    If you are unhappy with the decision made by the VI,  you have the option to make a complaint or seek a review of the decision by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).

  • The VI produces a range of publications, many of which can be found in the Publications and resources section of this website. Key publication topics include:

    • Annual reports
    • Annual plans
    • Special reports
    • Integrity reports
    • Controlled operations reports
    • Surveillance Devices reports
    • Reports on counter-terrorism powers
  • Our internal rules, policies and procedures include:

  • The VI publishes a range of reports and information about its complaint and monitoring functions in oversighting Victorian integrity bodies.

    Key publications can be found in the Publications and resources section of our website.

    General enquiries, including enquiries about publications, can be directed via:

How to make an FOI request to us

Under section 17 of the FOI Act, documents may be obtained by making a formal request in writing which clearly sets out the information you are seeking, providing enough detail so we can identify any relevant documents.

In summary, the requirements for making an FOI request are: 

  • it must be in writing, in the form of a letter
  • it should identify as clearly as possible which document/s is being requested
  • it must be accompanied by the appropriate application fee (the fee may be waived in certain circumstances).

Submitting your request

Mail your written request, identification (i.e. driver licence, passport or birth certificate) and the appropriate application fee, in the form of a cheque or money order made out to Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victorian Inspectorate).

If an application is being made by your lawyer or representative, please provide a signed authority from you.

Your request can be sent to:

Victorian Inspectorate 
PO Box 617
Collins Street West, Melbourne Victoria 8007

Alternatively, you may send your request by email, to: privacy@vicinspectorate.vic.gov.au and post the application fee. Your application will be processed on receipt of the application fee (unless you have requested a fee waiver and the fee has been waived).

For more information on how to make a freedom of information request, refer to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).

Fees and access charges

Fees and charges are determined by the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014.

A statutory fee of $29.60 (as of 1 July 2019) applies for all FOI requests. This fee is subject to an increase on 1 July every year.

If you are seeking a waiver of the application fee, please provide evidence that payment would cause you financial hardship, such as a health care card.

The FOI Act allows us to charge, where reasonable, for access to documents. We will tell you if this applies and what the charges will be.

Please note if you are asking for copies of your own personal documents, the application fee and access charges will not apply.

For more information, refer to the OVIC’s Freedom of Information access charges calculator.

What happens to your request?

Once we receive your freedom of information request and the application fee, we must respond to you in writing no later than 30 days outlining the decision on your request. This may be extended to 45 days if the VI needs to consult with other people or organisations.

Reviews

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of a decision or have a complaint about the handling of your request, you may request a review of our decision by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.

The OVIC website provides further information and forms for requesting reviews of freedom of information decisions.

Request an amendment

If a document is released to you and it contains your personal information, you are entitled to request a correction or amendment to that document if you believe the information in the document is:

  • inaccurate
  • incomplete
  • out of date
  • would give a misleading impression.

If we agree to amend a record, the correction or amendment may only take the form of altering the record or placing a notation in the original document.

Any application to correct or amend the record must be in writing. The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner’s website includes an amendment request form.

Only next of kin can make a request on behalf of another person. Personal identification is required to make the amendment.

To access the amendment request form and for further information about requesting an amendment refer to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website.

Need more information about FOI requests?

Visit the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner's website.

If you have specific questions you want to ask us about freedom of information, or would like to find out more about what information we can legally provide, please contact us:

Reviewed 07 October 2020

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