Policies & compliance

Corporate policies and compliance documents

Your privacy

Personal information handling practices

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a Commonwealth statutory authority established under the Family Law Act 1975 to undertake research into factors affecting family wellbeing. As a research body, AIFS collects and handles a variety of personal information in performing its statutory research function and activities. This condensed Privacy Policy applies to personal information collected by AIFS.

AIFS has adopted the layered privacy policy format. This document provides you with a succinct overview of how we handle your personal information.

Collection

We usually collect personal information about individuals directly from those individuals or their authorised representative.

We sometimes collect personal information from a third party or from a publicly available source, but only if:

  • the individual has consented to such collection or would reasonably expect us to collect their personal information in this way
  • if it is necessary for a specific purpose, such as the investigation of a privacy complaint.

In certain circumstances, we may collect personal information from other government agencies to assist us to contact members of the public to seek their participation in a research study.

We only collect personal information for purposes that are necessary for or directly related to our functions or activities in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Family Law Act 1975.

Use and disclosure

We only use personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, either for a particular purpose (primary purpose) or for a related purpose (secondary purpose).

In some instances, we may use personal information, such as contact details that AIFS has obtained from another government agency, to contact members of the public to participate in research surveys, focus groups or interviews. If any individual does not wish to participate or continue to participate in a research study, we do not use their contact details for any other purpose and, in the majority of cases, destroy their personal information, in line with the AIFS Records Authority (PDF 502 KB).

We do not give personal information about an individual to other government agencies, private sector organisations or anyone else, unless one of the following applies:

  • the individual has consented
  • the individual would reasonably expect, or has been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those individuals, bodies or agencies
  • it is otherwise required or authorised by law
  • it will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody’s life or health
  • it is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of public revenue.
Data security

We take reasonable steps to protect the personal information we hold against interference, loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and against other misuse in line with the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework. When the personal information we collect is no longer required, we destroy or delete it in a secure manner, in accordance with the AIFS Records Authority (PDF 502 KB) and the Archives Act 1983.

Privacy Impact Assessment Register

A privacy impact assessment (PIA) is a systematic assessment of a project that identifies the impact that the project might have on the privacy of individuals, and sets out recommendations for managing, minimising or eliminating that impact.

The Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code 2017 (Cth) requires that all agencies, including AIFS, must conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment for all high privacy risk projects. We maintain a register of Privacy Impact Assessments where AIFS has been involved in designing, developing, and disseminating project contents and data products. The following table has details of assessments completed since the Code came into effect on 1 July 2018.

Project NameProject SectionPIA OwnerConducted internally or externallyDate of
completion
 
Status
Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA)Longitudinal and Lifecourse StudiesDepartment of Social ServicesExternal (Maddocks)2018Complete
Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)Longitudinal and Lifecourse StudiesDepartment of Social Services SSExternal (Maddocks)2018Complete
National Elder Abuse Prevalence StudyFamily Law, Family Violence and Elder AbuseAttorney-General's DepartmentExternal (MinterEllison)2019Complete
Australian Longitudinal Study of Male Health (Ten to Men) Phase 1Longitudinal and Lifecourse StudiesAustralian Institute of Family Studies Internal (AIFS Privacy)2021Complete

Your choices

You can seek access to the personal information that we hold about you, and you can ask us to correct the personal information we hold about you. For more information, see the Access and correction section in our complete Privacy Policy.

If you are listed on one or more of our email newsletters, you can opt out at any time by unsubscribing by using the ‘unsubscribe’ options in our emails.

Our obligations

AIFS is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988.

For more information, see our complete Privacy Policy.

What if I have concerns or complaints about the conduct of research/evaluation?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is committed to researcher integrity and the ethical conduct of research projects and evaluations. However, if you do have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the research, or any aspect of AIFS' conduct, you may contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat.

AIFS encourages you to contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat in the first instance, online or on (03) 9214 7888.

The Ethics Committee secretariat can ensure your concern is handled by someone not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an impartial manner.

How will AIFS deal with my concern or complaint about the ethical conduct of research?

If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the research, or any aspect of AIFS' conduct, we encourage you to contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat in the first instance, online or on (03) 9214 7888.

We will always respond to your concern or complaint. We will try and respond to you as quickly as possible, but sometimes we might need some time to investigate and resolve your concerns. If your issue is complex, it might take us several days to resolve, but usually we will respond to you within a few days.

We will try to resolve your concern or complaint by providing an explanation, information or taking some other action. We will use what we learn from concerns and complaints about the conduct of research to improve how we carry out research in the future.

To help us respond quickly and effectively to your concern or complaint, we ask you to:

  • Give us as much information as you can to help us identify what research project your concern or complaint relates to
  • Clearly outline the nature of your concern or complaint
  • Consider how you want us to resolve your concern or complaint.

Confidentiality and privacy

AIFS research is conducted in accordance with strict privacy and ethical requirements. We make sure your privacy is respected in line with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988.

If you have concerns about how AIFS has handled your personal information, please contact us.

If a complaint cannot be resolved

Where we are unable to resolve a complaint to your satisfaction, we will explain why and let you know what other options you have. Our objective is to resolve your complaint or address your concern up front. If this is not possible, there are other external and independent avenues you can take:

Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman considers and investigates complaints about Australian Government departments and agencies. If you think you have been unfairly treated by an Australian Government agency you can complain to the Ombudsman. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Postal Industry, Taxation, ACT, and Overseas Students Ombudsman.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Under the Privacy Act 1988 you can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about the way Commonwealth Government agencies, including AIFS, handle your personal information.

If you believe your privacy rights have been infringed by AIFS' research, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Before you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, you will generally need to raise your concern directly with us.
For more information visit the Office of the Information Commissioner website or call 1300 363 992.

Other support when talking to us

You may find the following resources helpful when making a complaint or giving feedback:

Legal Aid

National Legal Aid (NLA) represents the Directors of each of the eight State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions in Australia.

Visit the National Legal Aid website.

Family Relationship Advice Line

Visit Family Relationships Online or phone 1800 050 321.

National Association of Community Legal Centres

The Community Legal Centres provide legal and related services to the public.

Visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres website.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AIFS' privacy policy

Purpose of this policy

The purpose of this privacy policy is to:

  • clearly communicate the personal information handling practices of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
  • enhance the transparency of AIFS operations
  • give individuals a better and more complete understanding of the sort of personal information that AIFS holds, and the way we handle that information.

I don't have time to read the whole policy. What should I read first?

This privacy policy has been developed to follow the 'layered policy' format, which means that it offers layers of greater or lesser detail so people can read as much as they wish and find what they need fast.

Outline of this policy

'Part A. Our personal information handling practices' explains our general information handling practices across AIFS, including information about how we collect, use, disclose and store your personal information.

'Part B. Files' offers further detail by explaining our personal information handling practices in relation to specific AIFS functions or activities such as research, research communication and policy advice. Here you can find out what sort of records we keep and why. You may find this section helpful if, for example, you have responded to an AIFS research-related survey and wish to know how we manage our survey files.

'Part C. Information collected online by AIFS' explains our personal information handling practices when you visit our websites.

Part A. Our personal information handling practices

Our obligations under the Privacy Act

This privacy policy sets out how we comply with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). As an Australian Government agency, we are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act, which regulate how agencies may collect, use, disclose and store personal information, and how individuals may access and correct personal information held about them.

In this privacy policy, "personal information" has the same meaning as defined by section 6 of the Privacy Act:

information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:

  1. whether the information or opinion is true or not; and
  2. whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.

Collection

It is our usual practice to collect personal information directly from the individual or their authorised representative.

Sometimes we collect personal information from a third party or a publicly available source, but only if the individual has consented to such collection or would reasonably expect us to collect their personal information in this way, or if it is necessary for a specific purpose such as the investigation of a privacy complaint.

In certain circumstances, we may collect personal information from other government agencies to assist us to contact members of the public to seek their participation in a research study.

In limited circumstances, we may receive personal information about third parties from individuals who contact us and supply us with the personal information of others in the documents they provide to us.

We only collect personal information for purposes that are reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, our functions or activities in accordance with the Family Law Act 1975, and the Privacy Act 1988, and only when it is necessary for or directly related to such purposes. We also collect personal information related to employment services, human resource management, and other corporate service functions.

These purposes are listed below.

Conduct research and communicate findings

Personal information is collected when an individual takes part in an AIFS research project and provides personal information as part of responding to a research survey or interview. (Note that generally if personal information is collected during a survey or interview, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from an individual's response prior to analysis, so that data being analysed is in a de-identified form.)

The types of AIFS research projects in which personal information may be collected include:

  • cross sectional studies
  • longitudinal studies (where the participants for each study are surveyed several times over the course of the study)
  • qualitative studies.

AIFS may, from time to time, create or maintain registers of research, programs or practices for access by policy makers, service providers, other researchers and the broader community. The registers are compiled by inviting individuals to complete an online survey detailing their research, program or practice.

Enquiries

Personal information is collected when an individual contacts us asking for information or advice about AIFS's functions and its legislation, research publications or general information.

Policy advice

Personal information is collected when:

  • we have contact with officers in Australian, state and territory government agencies, or private sector organisations for the purpose of analysis and advice
  • we plan consultation with stakeholders whom we believe will want to be consulted
  • we research policy issues.
Public awareness and education

Personal information is collected when:

  • people ask to be on an email or mailing list so that the AIFS can send them information about its activities and publications
  • we record whom we have had contact with in relation to media or other public relations events
  • we conduct events or deliver training.
Administrative activities

Personal information is collected when we manage the personnel and corporate service functions of AIFS.

For more detailed information about these purposes and the information handling practices that apply to them, see "Part B. Files".

We also collect personal information (including contact details) as part of our normal communication processes directly related to those purposes, including when:

  • an individual emails staff members
  • an individual telephones us
  • an individual hands us their business card.

Use and disclosure

We only use personal information for the purposes for which it was collected, either for a particular purpose (primary purpose) or for a related purpose (secondary purpose).

In some instances, we may use personal information, such as contact details AIFS has obtained from another government agency, to contact members of the public to participate in research surveys, focus groups or interviews. If any individual does not wish to participate or continue to participate in a research study, we do not use their contact details for any other purpose and in the majority of cases, destroy their personal information in line with the AIFS Records Disposal Authority.

We do not give personal information to other government agencies, organisations or anyone else unless one of the following applies:

  • the individual has consented
  • the individual would reasonably expect, or has been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those individuals, bodies or agencies
  • it is otherwise required or authorised by law
  • it will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody's life or health
  • it is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of public revenue.

Data quality

We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect is accurate, up-to-date and complete. These steps include maintaining and updating personal information when we are advised by individuals that their personal information has changed, and at other times as necessary.

Data security

We take reasonable steps to protect the personal information we hold against interference, loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and other misuse, in line with the Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF). These steps include password protection for accessing our electronic IT systems, securing paper files in locked cabinets, and implementing physical access restrictions. In addition, we also manage personal information in accordance with our records management policies and procedures.

When no longer required, personal information is destroyed in a secure manner, or deleted according to the AIFS Records Authority [PDF, 720 KB]  and the Archives Act 1983.

Access and correction

If an individual requests access to the personal information we hold about them, or requests that we change that personal information, we will allow access or make the changes unless we consider that there is a sound reason under the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act 1982 or other relevant law to withhold the information or not make the changes.

If we do not agree to provide access to personal information or to amend or annotate the information we hold, an individual may lodge a formal complaint with AIFS.

If we do not agree to make requested changes to personal information the individual may make a statement about the requested changes and we will attach this to the record.

Research participants should note that any personal information AIFS collects about a participant during a research study may be de-identified or destroyed in line with the AIFS Records Authority prior to the completion of that study. Therefore, in many instances, research participants will not be able to seek access to or correction of the personal information they disclosed to AIFS during a survey, interview or focus group.

Individuals can obtain further information about how to request access or changes to the information we hold about them by contacting us.

Complaints

An individual may wish to complain about an act or practice undertaken by AIFS that the individual considers to be an interference with their privacy.

If an individual wishes to make a complaint, they should contact us.

Alternatively, if an individual is a participant in an AIFS research project, they may wish to lodge a complaint with the AIFS Ethics Committee.

Irrespective of which complaints process an individual chooses to use (standard or Ethics Committee), their right to complain to the OAIC is not affected.

How to contact us

Individuals can obtain further information in relation to this Privacy Policy, or provide any comments, by contacting us online, by telephone or in writing:

Telephone

(03) 9214 7888 (or from outside Australia +61 3 9214 7888)

Assisted contact

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for (03) 9214 7888
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for (03) 9214 7888

If you do not speak English, or English is your second language, and you need assistance to communicate with us, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 then ask for 9214 7888.

Post

Australian Institute of Family Studies  
Level 4, 40 City Road 
Southbank VIC 3006,  
Australia

Email

aifs-privacy@aifs.gov.au

Part B. Files: How we handle specific types of files that contain personal information

AIFS conducts research and communicates findings that affect family wellbeing to: policy makers, service providers, other researchers, and the broader community.

AIFS holds eight classes of personal information.

1. Research records: Cross-sectional studies

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible so that records being analysed are in a de-identified format.

AIFS conducts research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. In most projects, the data collected from research participants are either anonymous (e.g., submitted online or by Reply Paid postal responses) or are de-identified to protect the privacy of participants.

Personal information collected from participants may include: the participant's name, address, gender, date of birth, occupation, education and income, as well as similar information for others in the household or family of the participant.

Sensitive information collected from participants may include: relationship information or status, health or medical information, details of contact with legal system or courts, sexuality, history of violence and religion.

Survey responses that include personal information are securely kept as records. The records are kept in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

2. Research records: Longitudinal studies

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible, so that records being analysed are virtually anonymous.

AIFS conducts research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. The participants for each longitudinal study are surveyed multiple times over the course of the study.

For most longitudinal studies, surveys are conducted by contracted service providers. The data collected by an external service provider, including personal information, are kept and securely stored by that service provider. AIFS ensures via its contracting arrangements and specific security provisions within those contracts, that all identifying data are held separately from the survey responses and appropriately secured, in line with the PSPF. External providers provide AIFS with survey responses in a de-identified format.

Where AIFS researchers conduct the survey themselves, the data are de-identified to protect the privacy of participants and the contact details held separately from the survey responses and appropriately secured, in line with the PSPF.

Personal information collected from participants may include: the participant's name; address, gender, date of birth, occupation, education, income, personality/temperament, personal strengths, interpersonal relationships (with parents, peers, partners), and life events. Similar information may be collected for others in the household, family or teachers of the participant.

Sensitive information collected from participants may include: relationship information or status; attitudes to/experiences of marriage, cohabitation, and children; health or medical information; details of contact with legal system or courts; sexuality; history of violence; emotional adjustment (e.g., depression, anxiety); licit and illicit substance use; antisocial behaviour (including contact with the criminal justice system); risky driving practices (e.g., driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs); child maltreatment; and religion.

Participant contact details and responses to surveys or interviews that include personal information are kept as records. The records are securely kept in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

The personal information that forms part of the research data for certain studies may also be disclosed to pre-approved data users under strict confidentiality requirements.

3. Research records: Qualitative studies

AIFS conducts qualitative research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. The participants for each study may be interviewed several times over the course of the study.

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible, so that records being analysed are in a de-identified format.

If transcription is required, encrypted interview files are supplied to appropriately authorised transcribers who commence removal of identifying information such as landmarks and street names. Transcripts are further de-identified by AIFS researchers with the removal of details such as employment or age. In many instances, once the content of the transcript is verified, the interviews are destroyed and all links between participant contact details and the interview transcripts are destroyed. For certain research projects, AIFS may retain a research participant's contact details to enable AIFS to contact that individual during the research project.

Personal information collected may include: the participant's name, address, email address and telephone.

Contact details and consent forms for participants in a study are securely kept as records in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

4. Registers of research, programs or practices

AIFS may, from time to time, create or maintain registers of research, programs or practices for access by policy makers, service providers, other researchers and the broader community. The registers are compiled by inviting individuals to complete an online survey detailing their research.

Personal information collected may include: the name and email address of people who register research projects.

Contact details of individuals who submit personal information are securely kept as records. The records are kept in an electronic and hard-copy format.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected. Some information is also publically available on our website.

5. Mailing lists

The purpose of these records is to support the distribution of AIFS information and publications, including the journal Family Matters, materials produced by our research dissemination and knowledge exchange units ("clearinghouses"), Growing Up In Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and other AIFS publications. They are also used for the distribution of email alerts related to AIFS or the clearinghouses.

Personal information collected may include: name, address, position title, section organisation, postal address, business telephone number, fax number and email address of subscribers.

Personal information relating to persons that have subscribed to AIFS mailing lists are securely kept as records. The records are kept until the individual asks to be removed from the mailing list or fails to respond to a request confirming their continued interest.

The records are kept while necessary and are updated regularly and are stored on computer and paper files.

The personal information contained in these records may be accessed by authorised staff working who are responsible for administering AIFS mailing lists.

Personal information may be disclosed to third parties who facilitate the distribution of AIFS information, publications or alerts; for example, online service providers or an external mailing house that provide mail distribution services.

6. General enquiries and correspondence

AIFS collects personal information from telephone, written and online enquiries received about AIFS research, AIFS publications, Freedom of Information requests, privacy, and family-related policy matters, to enable us to respond to those enquiries. For example, the AIFS Library, CFCA and ACSSA receive general queries and correspondence from members of the general public.

We collect personal information directly from applicants/complainants and research participants, or their authorised representatives.

We only use the personal information we collect to prepare a response to the enquiry and to contact the applicant/complainant, or research participant with a response to their request or complaint.

Personal information collected may include: name, address, postal address, telephone number, email address, and details of the request or complaint. The AIFS response to the request or complaint, which may include identifying information.

Personal information relating to individuals that have lodged an enquiry or complaint is securely kept as records.

The records are kept while necessary and are updated when advised by the individual that their personal information has changed. Records are stored in an electronic and hard copy format.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on responding to the enquiry, request or complaint.

7. Financial information and accounting records

The purpose of these records is to maintain a record of moneys handled by AIFS.

Personal information collected and included in finance records may include: name, address, bank details, form of payment and employee payroll information.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff in the Finance Team.

The records are kept for seven years in an electronic and hardcopy format and then destroyed in accordance with the AIFS General Disposal Authority.

This information is not disclosed to other persons or organisations.

8. Personnel records

The purpose of these records is to maintain employment history, payroll and administrative information relating to all ongoing, non-ongoing, casual and contract employees of AIFS.

Personnel and payroll

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records relating to attendance and overtime
  • leave applications and approvals
  • medical and dental records
  • payroll and pay-related records, including banking details
  • tax file number declaration forms
  • declarations of pecuniary interests
  • personal history files
  • performance appraisals
  • records relating to personal development and training
  • trade, skill and aptitude test records
  • completed questionnaires and personnel survey forms
  • travel documentation
  • records relating to personal welfare matters
  • contracts and conditions of employment
  • equal employment opportunity (EEO) data
  • next-of-kin details.
Recruitment

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • recruitment records and dossiers
  • records relating to the relocation of staff and removal of personal effects
  • records relating to character checks and security clearances.
Other

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records of accidents and injuries
  • compensation case files
  • rehabilitation case files
  • records relating to counselling and discipline matters, including disciplinary, investigation and action files, legal action files, records of criminal convictions, and any other staff and establishment records as appropriate
  • complaints and grievances
  • recommendations for honours and awards.

Personal information collected in personnel records may include: name, address, date of birth, occupation, AGS number, gender, qualifications, equal employment opportunity group designation, next of kin, details of pay and allowances, leave details, work reports, security clearance details and employment history.

Personnel records may include information that employees may consider sensitive such as: physical and mental health, disabilities, racial or ethnic origin, disciplinary investigation and action, criminal convictions, adverse performance and security assessments, tax file numbers, relationship details and personal financial information.

Personal information on personnel records relates to current and former employees.

The agency staff having access to personnel records are: executive and personnel management staff, supervisors and members of selection committees (if appropriate), the individual to whom the record relates and, as appropriate, personnel staff, security officers, case managers, and outsourced payroll provider.

Personnel records are kept according to the applicable provisions of the General Disposal Authority for staff and establishment records issued by the National Archives of Australia.

Information held in personnel records may be disclosed, as appropriate, to: Comcare, Commonwealth Medical Officers, Attorney-General's Department, Australian Public Service Commission, ComSuper and other superannuation administrators, Australian Taxation Office, and the receiving agency following the movement or re-engagement of an employee.

Records relate to all current and former employees of AIFS and are stored on paper and electronic media.

Part C. Information collected online by AIFS

It is our usual practice to collect information about all visitors to our online resources. That information is very limited and only used to identify generic behavioural patterns.

Sometimes we use third party platforms to deliver information. These are sites hosted and managed by organisations other than ourselves. Before deciding if you want to contribute to any third party site you should read their privacy policy.

There are several methods and packages that we use to collect visitor behaviours on each of our online platforms. We use Google Analytics on our websites. Information and data collected through Google Analytics is stored by Google on servers in the United States of America, Belgium and Finland. You can opt out of the collection of information via Google Analytics by downloading the Google Analytics Opt-out browser add on.

When you visit any of our online resources, our metric tools may collect the following information about your visit for statistical purposes:

  • server address
  • top level domain name (e.g., .com, .gov, .au, .uk etc.)
  • the date and time of your visit to the site
  • the pages you accessed and documents downloaded during your visit
  • the previous site you visited
  • if you've visited our site before
  • the type of browser used.

We record these data to maintain our server and improve our services. We do not use this information to personally identify anyone.

Cookies

Most of our online platforms use sessions and cookies. The core functionality on these platforms will be largely unaffected if you disable cookies in your browser but you may be unable to access some advanced functions.

Use and disclosure

We do not give personal information collected online to other agencies, organisations or anyone else without consent unless the individual would reasonably expect, or has been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those agencies, organisations or individuals, or the disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Data quality

We will delete or correct any personal information that we hold about you on request.

If you are on one of our automated email lists, you may opt out of further contact or correspondence from us by clicking the "unsubscribe" link included in our emails.

Data security

There are inherent risks in transmitting information across the Internet and we do not have the ability to control the security of information collected and stored on third party platforms. In relation to our own servers, we take all reasonable steps to manage data stored on our servers to ensure data security.

Access and correction

For information about how to access or correct personal information collected on our website see "Access and correction" in Part A of this document.
This page makes up a part of the AIFS Information Publication Scheme.

Interaction between AIFS website and social media sites

The Institute uses a range of social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter to inform, engage and communicate with members of the public. We may also provide social media plugins on our website to make it easy for you to share information via social media sites.

The Institute is not responsible for the content or privacy practices of other websites, including social media sites. We encourage you to read these other websites’ privacy policies prior to accessing these sites and for further information.

We do not collect, use or disclose personal information posted on social media sites that were accessed via our website using a social media plugin.

Child Safe Policy

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is committed to the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations outlined in the Commonwealth Government’s Child Safety Framework. We provide a child-safe environment, and our organisational structures, policies, procedures and processes promote child safety and wellbeing.

Our compliance is ensured by our Child Safe Policy, our Risk Management Framework, our recruitment, selection and training of staff, and our systems for engaging with children and families in the course of our research. Our compliance will be regularly reviewed to ensure it aligns with the Commonwealth’s Child Safe Framework. 

View the Child Safety Policy (PDF 3.98 MB)

Reporting suspected fraud

What is fraud?

The Institute has defined fraud against the Commonwealth as:

"Dishonestly obtaining a benefit or causing a loss by deception or other means".

Fraud against Australian Government agencies is a major concern to the Australian Government. As taxpayers, we are all responsible for ensuring fraud is kept to a minimum. Preventing the incidence of fraud ensures that public and government confidence in the integrity of the Institutes' activities is maintained.

The Institute is determined to ensure that when fraud occurs, it is rapidly detected, effectively investigated, prosecuted appropriately and the proceeds of the fraud recovered.

For further information on Fraud against the Commonwealth see: Criminal Code Amendment (Theft, fraud, bribery and related offences) Act 2000.

How to make a report

You can provide information and report suspected fraudulent or unethical behaviour in the provision of Australian Government services in writing, by email or telephone to the Fraud Officer:

Phone +61 3 9214 7888
Fax +61 3 9214 7839
Contact the Fraud Officer

Fraud Officer
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Level 4, 40 City Road,
SOUTHBANK VIC 3006

Anonymous reports

Reports can be made anonymously. The Institute accepts reports that are anonymous; however, it is often the case that such reports do not contain sufficient information to enable a proper assessment of the allegation.

Making a public interest disclosure about AIFS

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014.

The legislation creates a public interest disclosure scheme that promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector. It does this by:

  1. encouraging and facilitating the disclosure of information by public officials about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector
  2. ensuring that public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences
  3. ensuring that disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.
     

Please note: The information provided here is only for those wishing to make an internal public interest disclosure. This means the disclosure must:

  • be about the Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • be by a person who is or has been a public official
  • be to their supervisor or manager, or an Authorised Officer of AIFS
  • tend to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds it tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.

How to make a public interest disclosure about AIFS

If you would like to make an internal public interest disclosure about AIFS you can do so by email, mail or phone.

Email: pid@aifs.gov.au

Mail: write to:

The AIFS PID Team

Australian Institute of Family Studies

Level 4, 40 City Road,

SOUTHBANK VIC 3006

Mark any envelopes or external covers ‘Confidential – AIFS PID’

Phone: Call (03) 9214 7888 and ask to speak to an Authorised Officer.

Authorised Officers

AIFS has appointed Authorised Officers for handling public interest disclosures. These are the Deputy Director (Corporate Services) and the Deputy Director (Research).

Putting public interest disclosures in writing

While you are not required to make a public interest disclosure in writing, there can be benefits in doing so. Setting things out in writing gives you the opportunity to carefully and clearly set out the particular issues you have, without the risk of anything relevant being missed or misunderstood. If there is any confusion or uncertainty surrounding a written public interest disclosure an appropriate AIFS officer can, if you provide your contact details, always phone you to clarify matters.

What will happen with your public interest disclosure?

An authorised officer will be responsible for handling your public interest disclosure in the first instance. See ‘Public interest disclosures: Agency response procedures’.

Public interest disclosures: Agency response procedures

1 Introduction

1.1 These procedures set out how the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) facilitates and deals with public interest disclosures.

1.2 These procedures are established under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) and the Public Interest Disclosure Rules (the Rules) made under s 83 of that Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Standards (the Standards) made under s 74 of that Act. These procedures must be applied and interpreted in a manner not inconsistent with the Act, the Rules and the Standards.

1.3 The Commonwealth Ombudsman's Agency Guide to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PDF 750 KB), forms part of these procedures to the extent expressly stated in these procedures.

2 AIFS commitment

2.1 AIFS is committed to complying with all applicable laws and with best practice. Corrupt practices, breaches of the law and other conduct disclosable under the Act are contrary to our values. If they occur, reporting them is encouraged so they can be addressed properly.

2.2 The objective of these procedures is to promote the integrity and accountability of the administration of AIFS in accordance with the Act, consistent also with the APS Values and Code of Conduct, and to provide a framework for effective public interest disclosures.

2.3 Each public interest disclosure made will be handled confidentially, and the discloser protected in accordance with the Act.

2.4 These procedures apply to all AIFS employees (current and former) as well as people and bodies providing services under a Commonwealth contract, including subcontractors.

3 Background and context

3.1 The PID Act creates a public interest disclosure scheme that promotes internal reporting of suspected wrongdoing in public sector agencies by providing a framework and protection for public officials who make qualifying disclosures under the scheme.

3.2 A disclosure must be made to an appropriate person in order to gain the protection available under the PID Act (s 26). This is explained in more detail in sections 8 and 9 of these procedures.

3.3 The PID Act complements existing notification, investigation and complaint handling schemes in the Commonwealth public sector.

4 What is a public interest disclosure?

4.1 A public interest disclosure may be an internal disclosure, an external disclosure or an emergency disclosure, as set out in section 26(1) of the PID Act.

4.2 An internal disclosure is made when:

  • a person who is or has been a public official 
  • discloses to their supervisor or manager, or an authorised officer of an agency
  • information which tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.

4.3 In limited circumstances a public official may disclose such information to a person outside government - this is known as an external disclosure or emergency disclosure.

5 Who can make a disclosure?

5.1 An individual must be a current or former ‘public official’, as defined in s 69 of the PID Act, to make a public interest disclosure. This is a broad term that includes Australian Government public servants, members of the defence force, staff and directors of Commonwealth companies, statutory office holders and staff of Commonwealth service providers. A person may also be deemed by an authorised officer to be a public official.

6 What can be disclosed?

6.1 A public official can disclose information that they believe, on reasonable grounds, tends to show ‘disclosable conduct’.

6.2 Disclosable conduct is conduct by the agency, a public official in connection with their position or a contracted Commonwealth service provider if that conduct:

  • contravenes a Commonwealth, state or territory law 
  • in a foreign country, contravenes a foreign law that applies to the agency, official or service provider
  • is corrupt
  • perverts the course of justice
  • results in wastage of public money or public property
  • is an abuse of public trust
  • unreasonably endangers health and safety
  • endangers the environment
  • is misconduct relating to scientific research, analysis or advice; or
  • constitutes maladministration, including conduct that is unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or negligent.

6.3 Disclosable conduct also includes conduct by a public official that involves or is engaged in for the purposes of abusing their position as a public official and conduct that could give reasonable grounds for disciplinary action against the public official.

6.4 For further information refer to the section ‘What can be disclosed’ in the Agency Guide that forms part of these procedures.

7 What is not disclosable conduct?

7.1 It is not disclosable conduct just because a person disagrees with:

  • a government policy or proposed policy
  • expenditure or proposed expenditure related to such policy or action; or
  • an action or proposed action by a minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the President of the Senate.

7.2 Disclosable conduct by a public official must be conduct in connection with their position as a public official. In other words, conduct that is wholly private and has no bearing on their position as a public official is not disclosable conduct.

8 To whom can a public interest disclosure be made?

8.2 A public interest disclosure may be made as an internal disclosure within AIFS to the Director, to a person’s current supervisor or to an authorised officer appointed by the Director.

8.3 The following people have been authorised to receive disclosures and are authorised persons for this purpose:

  • The AIFS Chief Operating Officer
  • The AIFS Research Director – Data and Demographics
  • The AIFS Research Director – Systems and Services

8.4 Additional authorised persons may be appointed where necessary. The Act sets out other people or bodies to whom, or which, public interest disclosures may be made and the circumstances in which such disclosures may be made.
 

Supervisors

8.5 A public official may make a public disclosure to their ‘supervisor’ (s 26). A supervisor includes any public official who supervises or manages the discloser.

8.6 If the supervisor or manager believes that the information given to them concerns, or could concern, disclosable conduct, they must give that information to an authorised officer of AIFS as soon as reasonably practicable. A manager or supervisor should also seek the consent of the discloser to pass on their personal information.

8.7 Managers and supervisors also play a key role in ensuring that the AIFS workplace culture supports the making of public interest disclosures.
 

External disclosures

8.8 In certain circumstances, a disclosure may also be made as an external disclosure to an outside person or body, such as the Ombudsman. For further information refer to the section ‘Who can a public interest disclosure be made to’ in the Agency Guide that forms part of these procedures.
 

8.8 In certain circumstances, a disclosure may also be made as an external disclosure to an outside person or body, such as the Ombudsman. For further information refer to the section ‘Who can a public interest disclosure be made to’ in the Agency Guide that forms part of these procedures.

9 Protection under the PID Act

9.1 If a public interest disclosure is made in accordance with the PID Act, the discloser will receive the following protections:

  • the discloser’s identity will be kept confidential as reasonably practicable
  • the discloser will be immune from civil, criminal or administrative liability
  • no contractual or other remedy may be enforced, or sanction imposed on the discloser on the basis of making the disclosure
  • a contract to which the discloser is a party must not be terminated on the basis that the public interest disclosure constitutes a breach of the contract
  • a discloser will have legal protection from reprisals through relevant criminal offences, a right to apply for an injunction and a right to apply for compensation for loss damage or injury due to a reprisal.
10 Making a public interest disclosure

10.1 Public officials who wish to make a public interest disclosure relating to AIFS can do so orally or in writing.

10.2 If the disclosure is made orally, a record will be made of what is said and the discloser will be asked to sign the record as being correct.

10.3 Disclosers are encouraged to provide as much information as possible to assist an authorised officer to deal with a public interest disclosure appropriately and promptly.

10.4 Disclosers are advised that they should be as clear and factual as possible. The discloser should not investigate the matter themselves before making the disclosure as doing so may hinder any future investigation.

10.5 All disclosures will be given a unique reference number that will be provided to the discloser.
 

Anonymous disclosures

10.6 A discloser may make a public interest disclosure anonymously. Anonymous disclosures will be acted on wherever possible.

10.7 It should be noted that there are a range of reasons why staff may consider identifying themselves to an authorised officer, or at the least providing a means of contact. These include that the authorised officer who receives an anonymous report must have reasonable grounds to suspect the disclosable conduct has occurred in order to allocate the matter for investigation. If they cannot contact the person to seek necessary information, the matter may not proceed.

Confidentiality

10.8 The PID Act requires agencies to keep a discloser's identity confidential, subject to limited exceptions, including the discloser's consent (ss 20, 21). Agencies are also bound by obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to storing personal information securely and limiting its use and disclosure.

10.9 AIFS will make every reasonable effort to protect a discloser's identity.

10.10 The discloser's identity or information that would effectively identify them may, however, need to be disclosed to certain other people if that is necessary, including to investigate the disclosure effectively or protect them against reprisals. In cases such as these, this will be discussed with the discloser before proceeding.

10.11 Disclosers should not discuss the details of their disclosure with anyone who does not need to know. Discussions with these people are not covered by the protections of the PID Act.
 

11 Support under the PID Act

11.1 If a public interest disclosure is made in accordance with the PID Act, the discloser will receive support from AIFS throughout the disclosure process. This may include:

  • offering information and support about what options are available
  • providing the discloser with any information about the support networks available (e.g. employee assistance program, work health and safety officers, friends and family)
  • providing the discloser with information about the reasonable steps AIFS will take to protect them.
     
12 Role and responsibilities
Director, AIFS

12.1 The Director is the principal officer under the PID Act. The Director has specific responsibilities under the PID Act, including:

  • establishing procedures for facilitating and dealing with public interest disclosures
  • ensuring appropriate systems and strategies are in place to provide support to a person who makes a disclosure and minimises any risks of detrimental action against them
  • ensuring disclosures are properly investigated.

Authorised officers

12.2 Authorised officers are officers of an agency authorised in writing by the principal officer for the purposes of the PID Act (s 36). They have a range of decision-making, notification and other responsibilities under the PID Act, including:

  • receiving disclosures from current or former public officials about disclosable conduct (s 26)
  • deeming a person to be a public official to facilitate the making of a public interest disclosure (s 70)
    informing a person who may be unaware of the PID Act requirements that information that the authorised officer reasonably believes could concern disclosable conduct could be treated as an internal disclosure, explaining the requirements of the PID Act and advising the person of any designated publication restrictions (as defined in s 8) that may affect disclosure (s 60)
  • assessing reported information to determine if there are no reasonable grounds to believe the information could be considered to be a public interest disclosure (s 43(2))
  • making any preliminary inquiries necessary to make an allocation decision (s 43(4))
  • allocating all or part of the disclosure to the principal officer of their agency and/or another agency, with that agency’s consent (ss 43(1), (6))
  • informing the principal officer of each relevant agency, and the Ombudsman or Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), as appropriate, of allocation decisions and associated information (ss 44(1), 44(1A)
  • informing the discloser of the allocation decision (s 44(2))
  • consenting to the allocation of a disclosure by an authorised officer of another agency (s 43(6))
  • advising the discloser of a decision not to allocate, the reasons why and any other course of action that may be available under Commonwealth law (s 44(3)).
Managers and supervisors

12.3 Managers and supervisors are responsible for receiving public interest disclosures made to them by their staff. If a manager or supervisor receives information that concerns, or could concern, disclosable conduct, they must give that information to an authorised officer as soon as reasonably practicable. A manager or supervisor must seek the consent of the discloser to pass on their personal information.
12.4 Managers and supervisors play a key role in ensuring that the AIFS workplace culture supports the making of public interest disclosures. Managers and supervisors should have an understanding of the PID Act and be approachable to staff wishing to raise concerns.
 

Investigation Officers

12.5 The Director is responsible for investigating disclosures received and assessed in accordance with the PID Act. The Director may delegate this function to an officer within AIFS (Investigation Officer) on a case-by-case basis. The Investigation Officer will not be appointed to undertake an investigation if it is considered that they have an actual or perceived conflict of interest in relation to the disclosure.
 

13 Risk assessment

13.1 When a public interest disclosure is received, the risk of reprisals being taken against the discloser will be assessed. This assessment involves assessing the specific behaviour and circumstances that may result in reprisals and then putting appropriate strategies to prevent or contain them.

13.2 The risk assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible after a disclosure is received.

13.3 If a disclosure is made to a manager or supervisor and the discloser wishes their identity to remain anonymous, the manager or supervisor will conduct the risk assessment.

13.4 The risk assessment should, at a minimum, cover the following four steps:
identify: the risks of reprisals or workplace conflicts
assess: the likelihood and consequence of reprisals or related workplace conflict
control: have strategies in place to prevent or contain reprisals or related workplace conflict
monitor and review: the implementation and effectiveness of the strategies.

13.5 For further information, refer to the section on Risk Assessment in the Agency Guide that forms part of these procedures.
 

14 Investigating a public interest disclosure

14.1 If an authorised officer determines that the disclosure is in fact a public interest disclosure, the matter must be allocated for investigation. In most instances, the matter will be allocated to AIFS.


14.2 An authorised officer must notify the principal officer and the discloser of their decision to allocate the matter for investigation. At this stage, the discloser should also be notified of an Investigation Officer’s powers to:

  • decide not to investigate the disclosure
  • decide not to investigate the disclosure once it has commenced.

Conclusion of investigation

14.3 The Investigation Officer may decide not to investigate, or may discontinue an investigation, only on a ground set out in s 48; that is if:

  • the discloser is not a current or former public official
  • the information does not to any extent concern serious disclosable conduct
  • the disclosure is frivolous or vexatious
  • the disclosure is the same or substantially the same as another disclosure which has been or is being investigated under the PID Act
  • the disclosure is the same or substantially the same as a disclosure already investigated or currently being investigated under Commonwealth law and:
    • it would be inappropriate to conduct another investigation at the same time; or
    • the Director/Investigation Officer is reasonably satisfied that there are no matters that warrant further investigation
    • the discloser has advised the Investigation Officer that they do not wish the investigation to be pursued, and the Director/Investigation Officer is reasonably satisfied that there are no matters that warrant further investigation; or
    • it is impracticable for the disclosure to be investigated because: 
    • of the age of the information
    • the discloser has not revealed their name and contact details; or
    • the discloser refuses or fails, or is unable, to give the Investigative Officer the information or assistance they requested.


14.4 The Investigation Officer must, as soon as reasonably practicable, inform the discloser whether the disclosure will be investigated. The discloser will also be advised of the estimated time the investigation is likely to take.

14.5 If the disclosure will not be investigated, the Investigation Officer will inform the discloser the reasons for deciding not to investigate and other courses of action that might be available to the discloser under other Commonwealth laws.

14.6 The Investigation Officer must also notify and provide their reasons not to investigate a disclosure to the Ombudsman.

14.7 An Investigation Officer must ensure that a person against whom allegations are made is accorded procedural fairness.

14.8 AIFS will also provide support to an AIFS staff member who is subject to an allegation made in a public interest disclosure. This may include:
offering information and support about what options are available/or
providing the discloser with any information about the support networks available (e.g. employee assistance program, work health and safety officers, friends and family).

Investigation report

14.9 An Investigation Officer must complete an investigation (including the investigation report) within 90 days of the disclosure allocation.

14.10 If more time is needed, the Investigation Officer may seek an extension of time from the Ombudsman in advance of the 90-day expiry period. If the Ombudsman grants an extension, the Investigation Officer must notify the discloser, as soon as reasonably practicable after the extension is granted and provide an update about the progress of the investigation.

14.11 An investigation report must include the following information:

  • the matters considered in the course of the investigation
  • the duration of the investigation
  • the Investigation Officer’s findings (if any)
  • the action (if any) that has been, is being, or is recommended to be taken
  • any claims made about, and any evidence of, detrimental action taken against the discloser, and AIFS response to those claims and that evidence
  • whether there have been one or more instances of disclosable conduct
  • any regulations, rules, administrative requirements or similar matters to which the disclosable conduct relates
  • an explanation of the steps taken to gather evidence
  • a summary of the evidence, as well as any findings and recommendations made based on the evidence.

14.12 The discloser must be provided with a copy of the final investigation report (with specified material omitted if necessary (s 51(5)) within a reasonable time.

Conclusion of investigation

14.13 Any action that AIFS may undertake (if any) will depend on the circumstances of each investigation.

14.14 The Director is responsible for taking appropriate action in response to recommendations and other matters contained in the investigation report. These actions might include but are not limited to:

  • commencement of Code-of-Conduct proceedings under the Public Service Act 1999 or another disciplinary process
  • referral of the matter to the police or another body that can take further action
  • mediation or conciliation of a workplace conflict
  • an internal audit or other review of an issue or the operations of a particular unit
  • implementing or changing policies, procedures or practices/or
  • conducting training and awareness sessions for staff.

14.15 For further information, refer to the section After the Investigation in the Agency Guide that forms part of these procedures.

14.16 If a discloser is not satisfied with AIFS’ decisions relating to their disclosure, they may raise this with the Ombudsman.

Activity itemCharge
Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document$15.00 per hour
Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletionsFirst five hours: Nil. Subsequent hours: $20 per hour
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium$4.40 per page of transcript
Photocopy$0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises

$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your requestCost of postage or delivery

If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.

You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.

What you can expect from us

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • if we impose a charge
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC's website. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

More information

Contact the FOI Officer online or by phone on (03) 9214 7888.

Certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act can be obtained in our FOI disclosure.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Compliance documents

Statement of Expectation (PDF 610 KB)

Statement of Intent (PDF 320 KB)

APS Code of Conduct Procedures (PDF 165 KB)

Agency files list are kept by the Department of Social Services

Planned procurements are recorded by AusTender

Freedom of Information disclosure log

The Institute is required by section 11C of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to publish a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log lists information, which has been released in response to an FOI access request.

The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:

  • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.

The information described in the disclosure log table below has been released by the Institute under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and is available for public access.

There may be documents in the disclosure log that are currently not available in HTML format. If you are unable to read the format provided, please contact us for an alternative accessible format. We will try to meet all reasonable requests for an alternative format of the document in a timely manner and at the lowest reasonable cost to you.

Information attached to, or referred to, in the Institute's disclosure log will generally be removed after 12 months, unless it has enduring public value.

Disclosure log table

FOI reference numberDate of accessFOI requestInformation published in the disclosure logOther information
01-17-18N/ADocuments relating to metadata information.No information existed to disclose.N/A
02-17-18N/AAny format of a report into the "Effect of wagering marketing on vulnerable adults.NoneAccess to the Interim Report was refused and this decision was upheld by the Office of Australian Information Commissioner. However, the final report is publicly available on the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation website.

The FOI Act also requires the Institute to proactively publish a range of information under the Information Publication Scheme (IPS).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Contracts entered into by the Institute

Senate Order on Entity Contracts of 20 June 2011 (since amended) requires Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCCEs) (formerly Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies) to publish a list of contracts and funding agreements to the value of $100,000 or more entered into during the previous twelve months AND those entered into at an earlier time that have not been fully performed at the end of the same period.

The information published by NCCEs for Senate Order on Entity Contracts is required to be tabled by the Minister responsible for each agency within two months of the end of the reporting period to which each listing relates. In the case of financial year, letters are required to be tabled by 31 August, and for calendar years, 28 February (or 29 February in a leap year). The Senate Order requires each agency list to indicate the following for each contract/agreement:

The Senate Order requires each agency list to indicate the following for each contract/agreement:
• the name of the contractor
• the subject matter of each contract
• the total amount of consideration for the contract
• the contract duration (by the start and end dates of the contract)
• details of any confidentiality provisions contained in the contract that require the parties to maintain the confidentiality of:
• any of its provisions
• any other requirements of confidentiality.

View Senate Order for the Production of Documents relating to Departmental and Agency Contracts (amended 14 May 2015) (PDF 30 KB).

In 2002 and 2007, the Senate Committee on Finance and Public Administration (the Committee) completed two inquiries into the operation of the Senate Order which resulted in changes to reporting obligations. In 2014, following another inquiry, the Committee recommended that NCCEs could satisfy the transparency obligations of Senate Order - as it relates to procurement contracts - by reference to a compliant report generated by AusTender. Such information being accessible due to the Commonwealth requirement that NCCEs report all procurement activity valued at or above $10,000 (GST inclusive) on AusTender within 42 days of entering into an arrangement (Commonwealth Procurement Rules).

Australian Institute of Family Studies’ Contracts

The reporting period for the current list of contracts published below, is 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

The accountable authority of AIFS has assured that the listed contracts do not contain any inappropriate confidentiality clauses.

Note: All of the Institute’s contracts contain standard Commonwealth confidentiality and non-disclosure clauses of a general nature that are designed to protect the confidential information obtained or generated under the contract. Institute contracts are also compliant with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles, as defined in that Act.

Cost of Compliance

SO on Entity Contracts also requires that agencies publish an estimation of the cost of complying with the Order, and the method by which the estimate is obtained. In relation to the current publication the cost incurred by the Institute amounts to approximately $1,000. This is based primarily on an estimate of staff hours spent at average hourly rates for data collection, liaison, analysis and management. General overhead costs are also included in this figure.

Enquiries

Any enquiries should be directed to Manager, Procurement and Contracts on (03) 9214 7888.

Gifts/benefits register

In the course of my duties as Director (Agency Head) of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (the Institute)

I, Sharman Stone, and/or Institute staff, received the following gifts and/or benefits the value of which exceeded the stipulated threshold of $AUD100.00 (excluding GST) in the period 1 January 2022 - 30 June 2022.

Australian Institute of Family Studies Gifts/Benefits Register 1 January 2022 - 30 June 2022

Date received 

Date recorded

Gift item/benefit

Recipient

Presented by

Occasion

Estimated Value $AUD (excluding GST)

14/11/19 

21/11/19 

Gift pack 

Rachel Carson, Senior Research Fellow 

Victorian Family Law Pathways Network (Greater Melbourne)   

Invited presentation. 

$100 approximately

25/8/20 

31/8/20 

Non-disposable straw 

Rae Kaspiew, Senior Research Fellow 

Ministry of Justice, Japan 

Small gift for interview 

$20 approximately
 

20/5/21  

21/5/21

Gift pack 

Rachel Carson, Senior Research Fellow 

Family Law Pathways Network (Gippsland) 

Thank you gift 

$67.95

This register is published in accordance with the Guidance for Agency Heads – Gifts and Benefits as advised by the Australian Public Service Commissioner (APSC) on 18 October 2019. The Guidance was developed in line with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and the APS Code of Conduct contained in the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legal services expenditure

This is a statement of legal expenditure by the Australian Institute of Family Studies for 2020-2021, published in compliance with the Legal Services Directions 2017.

Expenditure

Amount

Agency's total legal services expenditure 

$32, 622 (GST exclusive)

Agency's total external legal services expenditure 

$32, 622 (GST exclusive) 

Agency's total internal legal services expenditure 

nil

Total professional fees paid (Australian Government Solicitor) External expenditure on counsel 

$32, 622 (GST exclusive) 

External expenditure on counsel 

nil

Disbursements 

nil

*updated November 2021.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer

Disclaimer

AIFS is committed to the creation and dissemination of research-based information on family functioning and wellbeing.

We monitor the quality of the information on our websites and update the information regularly. The material on our websites is made available on the understanding that users exercise their own skill and care with respect to its use. Before relying on the material in any important matter, you should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information, and obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances.

Material includes views and recommendations of third parties which do not necessarily reflect the views of AIFS or the Australian government.

Linking policy

You can link to any material on Institute websites provided the link you create does not mislead or deceive anyone.

Links from our websites to other websites do not constitute an endorsement or a recommendation of any material on those sites or of any third-party products or services offered by, from or through those sites. When following links to another website we encourage you to examine the copyright, privacy and disclaimer notices on that site.

All links are valid at time of publication, and we make every reasonable effort to maintain links to current and accurate information. Please contact us to report any broken links.

Audio transcripts

We provide transcripts for information purposes only. Anyone accessing our transcripts undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of the content. Before using the material contained in a transcript, the permission of the relevant presenter should be obtained.

The Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), is not responsible for, and makes no representations in relation to, the accuracy of transcripts. AIFS does not accept any liability to any person for the content (or the use of such content) included in a transcript. Transcripts may include or summarise views, standards or recommendations of third parties. The inclusion of such material is not an endorsement by AIFS of that material, nor does it indicate a commitment by AIFS to any particular course of action.

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