Practice Note 7: Routine requests for information and documents
This practice note outlines when a request is considered to be a routine request, including for the purposes of calculating access charges. All legislative references are to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (the Act) unless otherwise stated.
A ROUTINE REQUEST
A routine request is a request that an agency receives on a regular or routine basis or relates to information that could be either proactively or informally released outside the Act.
Documents that fall within the description of a routine request are those that can be disclosed as part of an agency’s normal administrative practices. For example, this might include a request for:
- an individual’s payment summaries;
- information provided to the agency by the applicant; or
- published reports or other publicly available information.
WHY IT MATTERS IF A REQUEST IS A ROUTINE REQUEST
Section 22(1)(g) notes that a charge for providing access (access charges) must be waived if the request is a routine request for access to a document.
This means an agency cannot impose any access charges under any circumstances where the request is a routine request.
See Practice Note 11 for further information on estimating and calculating access charges.
PROCESSING A ROUTINE REQUEST
Where possible, routine requests for documents or information should be processed outside the Act. See Practice Note 2 Proactive release and Practice Note 6 Informal release for more information on this. However, in some circumstances it may not be appropriate to process a routine request outside the Act.
For example, this might include:
- where certain information is exempt and it is necessary to give an applicant review rights; or
- to ensure an agency officer has protections against actions for defamation or breach of confidence as a result of disclosing the document (see section 62).
As noted above, where a routine request is processed under the Act, access charges must be waived (section 22(1)(g)).