Rinds vs UWA cont'd (an unbinhexed copy of that UWA memo)

Hugh W. Jarvis (hjarvis@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Sun, 30 Jul 1995 16:30:21 -0400

To everyone who can't easily handle that Mac-happy binhexed memo
from the University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor's office,
here it is in normal ascii.

Hugh Jarvis...hjarvis@acsu.buffalo.edu

(fancy VC office's seal)

University of Western Australia
Office of Development
Nedlands, Perth
Western Australia 6009
Facsimile (09) 380 1020
Telephone (09) 380 2040


Wednesday : 12 July 1995


The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Professor Fay Gale today welcomed the decision by Information Commissioner, Ms Bronwyn Keighley-Gerardy on the matter related to the release of university-held documents to a former UWA academic.

Over the past two years, UWA had released to Dr David Rindos more than 500 documents on at least 34 occasions. Many of these had been released prior to Dr Rindos taking the matter to the Commissioner.

In her ruling, the Commissioner said that UWA had taken all reasonable steps to find the documents that Dr Rindos had claimed should exist. There was no suggestion that UWA had not followed proper procedures.

However, there were some 14 documents to which Dr Rindos had been denied access by the university on the grounds that it believed the documents were exempt (from having to be released) under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Wednesday : 12 July 1995


The Commissioner upheld the university's claim for eight of the documents, but ruled that as a general policy, reports by University managers concerning internal staff should be accessible by those staff and that four documents, and parts of two others, b
e made available to Dr Rindos. This ruling on the accessibility of confidential reports does not apply to opinions sought from outside the university.

The documents that the Commissioner felt should be released were mainly staff reports provided by university managers in confidence. In its earlier refusal to release the documents the university had wished to protect the confidentiality under which the
y were written.

Professor Gale said that the problems surrounding this sort of staff report had been overcome following a recent major review of university staffing policies. Now, when reports were written by senior staff about people seeking promotion or tenure at UW
A, the report was sighted and signed by the person about whom the report was written.

" This means that the same questions of confidentiality should not be an issue in any similar, future Freedom of Information matter - at least for staff reports made since we changed the practice, " Professor Gale said.

" The Freedom of Information Act is relatively new and this university is one of the first organizations to be involved in procedures under the Act," she said.

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Wednesday : 12 July 1995


" It has been a long, labour-intensive process, but we have learned as we have gone along.

" We have done everything we thought we should have done and worked closely with the Commissioner's staff along the way. "


For further information: Lesleigh Green
Director of Development
University of Western Australia

Telephone No.: 380-2040

Facsimile No.: 380-1020