- Our objectives
- Our approach
- What we will publish
- Where we will publish our information
- How we will make published information accessible
- How we will monitor and review our progress
The Bureau of Meteorology (Bureau) is Australia's national weather, climate and water agency, operating under the authority of the Meteorology Act 1955 and the Water Act 2007. The Bureau's expertise and services assist Australians in dealing with the harsh realities of their natural environment, including drought, floods, fires, storms, tsunami and tropical cyclones.
As an Executive Agency within the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio, the Bureau is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). This establishes the Information Publication Scheme (the Scheme) under which Australian Government agencies are required to publish a wide range of information on their websites.
The Bureau has prepared this Information Publication Scheme Plan (Agency plan) as required by s8(1) of the FOI Act, which describes how it will implement and administer its contribution to the Scheme by:
- outlining the Bureau's approach to the Scheme and how it will be administered
- identifying what information the Bureau proposes to publish
- explaining how the Bureau will make information accessible to members of the public and
- detailing how the Bureau will otherwise comply with the requirements of the Scheme, including monitoring and reviewing this plan.
The Bureau is committed to meeting the objectives of the FOI Act. Making available the information Australians need to manage and live within their natural environment has always been an essential part of the Bureau's mission. For example, the Bureau issues 20,000 public weather warnings, 270,000 aviation forecasts and 36,500 tide predictions each year alone.
2. Our objectives
The Bureau's objectives to meet the FOI Information Publication Scheme requirements over time include :
- identifying and publishing information required to be published under section 8(2) of the FOI Act
- proactively identifying optional information to be published under section 8(4) of the FOI Act
- ensuring published information is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, re-usable and transformable
- progressively working towards conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) (WCAG 2.0)
- managing published information over time to ensure its accuracy, currency and completeness
- monitoring and reviewing this Agency plan and
- identifying opportunities for further development of the Bureau's contribution under the Scheme.
3. Our approach
The Assistant Director, People Management (ADM) is designated by the Bureau as the Senior Executive Service officer within Corporate Division responsible for overseeing the establishment and administration of the Bureau's contribution under the Information Publication Scheme.
The Bureau is adopting a phased approach to meeting the Schemes requirements. Initially, the Bureau has focused on:
- identification of information required to be published under s8(2) of the FOI Act
- development of a basic FOI web presence and
- establishment of an Information Publication Scheme Register and a Disclosure Log.
The Bureau's initial contribution was developed by a working group within Corporate Division, assisted by a network of branch and region liaison officers.
The Bureau will progressively work towards further development of its contribution, including:
- development of internal guidelines and procedures for the ongoing administration and maintenance of this Agency plan and Scheme, including ensuring published information remains accurate, complete and up to date
- reviewing the range of information published optionally under s8(4)
- seeking and responding to feedback from the Australian community about this Agency plan and the information published
- considering future guidance from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the emergence of best practice across the Australian Government and
- reviewing the Bureau's FOI web presence.
Ongoing administration and development of the Bureau's agency plan and contribution to the Scheme will be managed by the FOI Coordinator, reporting to the Assistant Director, People Management (ADM).
4. What we will publish
The Bureau will publish information under the Scheme using the following headings:
4.1 Information required to be published [s8(2)]
- Information Publication Scheme Plan (Agency Plan) [s8(2)(a)] -
A link will be provided to this Agency plan
- Who we are [ss8(2)(b) and 8(2)(d)] -
This will include an organisation chart, the Bureau's Enterprise Agreement, Bureau's Social Justice Strategy, and information about statutory appointees.
For statutory appointees, the Bureau will publish the name of the person appointed, the length or term of appointment, the position to which the person is appointed (and particulars of the position) and the provision of the Act under which the person is appointed.
- What we do [ss8(2)(c) and 8(2)(j)] -
This will outline the Bureau's functions including decision making and other powers.
The Bureau will also publish here operational information such as relevant rules, guidelines and procedures for the purposes of s8(2)(j) of the Act.
- Our reports and responses to Parliament [ss 8(2)(e) and 8(2)(h)] -
This will include links to the Bureau's recent annual reports (2008/2009 and 2009/2010) tabled in Parliament [s8(2)(e)].
There will also be links to information routinely provided to Parliament in response to requests and orders, including the Bureau's file, contracts, grants and appointment lists
- Routinely requested information and disclosure log [ss 8(2)(g) and 11C] -
The Bureau will publish any information which it routinely gives access to in response to FOI requests.
The Bureau will clearly identify this information in its disclosure log, published under section 11C of the FOI Act.
- Consultation [s8(2)(f)] -
This will include information about how and to whom a comment may be submitted by members of the public, where the Bureau undertakes public consultation on a specific policy proposal.
- Contact us [s8(2)(i)] -
This will include the contact details for an officer at the Bureau who can be contacted about FOI.
4.2 Optional information [s8(4)]
Initially, the following additional information will be published under s8(4) using the headings below. The Bureau will review the range of optional information it publishes over time.
- Our priorities and plans
This will include corporate strategies and plans that provide the high level direction for the Bureau's operations.
- Our finances and procurement
This will include information regarding procurement procedures, tendering and contracts, and the Bureau's Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS).
- Our people
This will include information about working conditions at the Bureau, including pay and grade structures, the Bureau's OH&S Commitment, and workforce diversity policies.
- National Meteorological Library
This will link to the National Meteorological Library, which holds an extensive collection of books, reports and journals related to meteorological and related sciences.
- Topics of general interest
This will include links to information on topics of general interest that do not fit the above headings.
5. Where we will publish our information
The Bureau will publish information under the Scheme on www.bom.gov.au using several dedicated FOI pages:
- FOI page, which will provide information about FOI generally, the FOI application process, and FOI contact details
- Information Publication Scheme page, which will include a link to this Agency Plan and the Register of Information Published under the scheme and a feedback mechanism
- Information Publication Scheme Register page, which will provide a consolidated list of all information published under the Scheme, as well as providing links to downloadable versions where practicable and
- Disclosure log page, which provides information about FOI requests received after 1 May 2011, a description of the information involved, and links to downloadable copies where practicable.
To ensure that information published under the Scheme is easily discoverable, understandable, and machine readable, the Bureau will initially:
- Publish links to the new dedicated FOI pages on the www.bom.gov.au homepage and in the site map
- Include an FOI link in the standard footer which appears on each page of the Bureau's website
- Use the Information Publication Scheme and Disclosure Log icons developed by the OAIC on the relevant FOI pages on www.bom.gov.au
- Consolidate links to published information through the Information Publication Scheme Register and
- Provide content, wherever possible, in formats that can be searched, copied and transformed.
Other measures that will be taken over time include:
- Adding links and information about FOI to the Bureau's entry on www.directory.gov.au and
- Reviewing its FOI web pages in the context of an anticipated website redevelopment and new corporate style guide.
6. How we will make published information accessible
In accordance with the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy, the Bureau will work progressively towards conformance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2) (WCAG 2.0) requirements for its website by 31 December 2014.
As far as practicable, all information published under the Information Publication Scheme will be made available online in multiple formats. These may include RTF, MSWord, PDF and HTML. The Register and Disclosure Log will clearly indicate the available formats for any particular piece of published information.
Where it is not practicable to publish information in multiple formats (eg certain types of tables, charts and forms or where PDFs have been made from images of scanned documents), the information will be published in its existing format. Persons requiring access in alternative formats should contact the FOI Coordinator to discuss their particular requirements.
Under s8D(4), the Bureau may impose a charge for accessing information published under the Scheme if:
- the information is not directly accessible by downloading it from the Bureau's website (or another website) and
- the charge is to reimburse the agency for specific reproduction costs, or other specific incidental costs, incurred in giving the person access to that particular information.
Further information about possible access charges will appear on the Bureau's FOI pages.
7. How we will monitor and review our progress
This Agency plan and the Bureau's contribution under the Scheme will be reviewed after the first year of operation, considering :
- feedback received from the public (including via a feedback mechanism on the FOI pages of www.bom.gov.au)
- input from internal and external stakeholders
- further guidance and recommendations issued by the OAIC and
- emerging best practice across the Australian Government.
The revised agency plan will then be reviewed annually on an ongoing basis, with the operation of the scheme to be reviewed with the OAIC every five years or earlier as required.
The Bureau will also regularly monitor the information published under the Scheme to:
- ensure existing published information remains current, accurate and complete and
- identify new information to be published under s8(2) and s8(4).