The Information Publication Scheme (IPS) applies to Australian Government agencies that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1988 (FOI Act). The IPS specifies categories of information that agencies must publish online. Agencies can also choose to publish other information under the IPS.
The IPS encourages agencies to proactively release information in a consistent way, reflecting the pro-disclosure goals of the FOI Act. Information published under the IPS must be accurate, up to date and complete.
The categories of information agencies must publish under the IPS are:
- details of the agency's structure (for example, in the form of an organisation chart)
- details of the agency's functions, including its decision making powers and other powers affecting members of the public
- details of statutory appointments of the agency
- the agency's annual reports
- details of consultation arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals
- information in documents to which the agency routinely gives access in response to requests under the FOI Act
- information that the agency routinely provides to Parliament
- details of an officer (or officers) who can be contacted about access to the agency's information or documents under the FOI Act
- the agency's operational information, which is information that assists the agency to exercise its functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations that affect members of the public. This includes the agency's rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to those decisions and recommendations.
Agencies must also publish a plan describing how they will comply with the IPS requirements. Agencies may also choose to highlight the IPS on their home page using icons developed by the OAIC (available through the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidance for Agency Websites: ‘Access to information’ web page.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will work with agencies as part of an IPS Compliance Program to review the operation of each agency’s IPS entry every five years.
The Australian Information Commissioner can also issue guidelines about the IPS (see Part 13 of the FOI Guidelines) and may also make a determination that certain kinds of information should not be published under the IPS.
Anyone can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about how an agency manages its IPS.
More information is available in FOI Fact Sheet 4 — the Information Publication Scheme for Australian Government agencies.