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Practice Note 7 – Routine requests for information and documents

Overview

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)).

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