Education and Care Services Freedom of Information Commissioner

The key role of the Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner is to ensure that the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and each of the Regulatory Authorities (for which a list of contacts appears here) complies with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Commonwealth) (“FOI Act”) (as modified by the Education and Care Services National Regulations) in handling requests for access to documents under that Act. Click here for more information about the role of ACECQA and what it does.

Within that role, the Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner has the power to conduct review of decisions made by ACECQA and each of the Regulatory Authorities under the FOI Act, such as:

  • a decision to refuse access to documents
  • a decision granting partial access to documents
  • a decision that documents sought do not exist
  • a decision deferring the provision of access to documents
  • a decision not to amend or annotate a document containing personal information
  • a decision to impose a charge in relation to the provision of access

The Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner may do one or more of a number of things including:

  • affirm, vary or amend a decision
  • make a finding that there has been unreasonable delay (and therefore a deemed decision) by ACECQA or one of the Regulatory Authorities
  • request ACECQA or the Regulatory Authority concerned to provide an adequate statement of reasons for a decision
  • facilitate an agreed resolution between the parties
  • conduct a formal hearing between the parties
  • seek written submissions from the parties
  • obtain information from any person and make any appropriate inquiries
  • give written directions on review procedures to the parties

The Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner can also investigate complaints about the administration of the FOI Act by ACECQA and the Regulatory Authorities. In that capacity, the Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner can investigate complaints about how ACECQA or one of the Regulatory Authorities has dealt with or treated an individual in handling their request for access or amendment under the FOI Act. This can include action taken or failed to be taken by ACEQCA or one or each of the Regulatory Authorities in the performance of their functions and obligations under the FOI Act.

Where a complaint is made, the Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner may do one or more of a number of things including:

  • conduct preliminary inquiries
  • facilitate discussion and possible resolution of complaints between you and ACECQA or the Regulatory Authority concerned
  • investigate a complaint
  • decide not to investigate a complaint
  • refer a matter (or part of it) to a more appropriate body
  • make a report to the relevant Minister making recommendations on future action or conduct by ACECQA or the Regulatory Authority concerned.

The Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner does not handle complaints about privacy related matters. Privacy related matters are dealt with by the Education and Care Services Privacy Commissioner. For more information about what the Education and Care Services Privacy Commissioner deals with, click here.

If you wish to make a complaint about action taken by ACECQA which is not about privacy or freedom of information, you should contact the Education and Care Services Ombudsman.  For more information about what the Education and Care Services Ombudsman deals with, click here.  If you wish to make a similar type of complaint about a Regulatory Authority in your State or Territory, you should direct your complaint to the relevant State and Territory Ombudsman. Click here for contact details for your State or Territory Ombudsman.

The Education and Care Services FOI Commissioner can also monitor compliance by ACECQA and each of the Regulatory Authorities with their obligations under the FOI Act by:

  • conducting independent/own motion investigations; and
  • conducting independent reviews of the operations and practices of ACECQA and each of the Regulatory Authorities.