Access to information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (or the GIPA Act) came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989. The GIPA Act is designed to meet community expectations of a more open and transparent Government for the people of NSW.

Requests to SCHN for information under the GIPA Act may be made either informally or formally as outlined below.

You may wish to read our policies.

Informal requests for information

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead) will generally provide the following types of information in response to an informal request, without the need to make a formal access application:

  • copies of correspondence, where the person requesting the correspondence was the person who sent it to the organisation.
  • documents that have already been made public in some other way.
  • other reasonable requests for information, the release of which would not require third party consultation or raise concerns in terms of public interest considerations against disclosure.

Informal access to government information under the GIPA Act can be requested through the following steps:

  1. Identify what information is required.
  2. Provide identification of the person requesting information.
  3. Contact the Right to Information Officer (details below) to request information

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network will not charge a fee to process an informal request for information, however the agency reserves the right to request a formal application or impose conditions on its release.

Formal access applications

If information cannot be accessed through an informal request, a formal access application may be necessary. A formal request may also be necessary if:

  • A large volume of information is sought.
  • Providing access would involve an extensive search.
  • The information sought involves personal or information about third parties who must be consulted before the information can be released.

Formal access to government information under the GIPA Act can be requested through the following steps:

  1. Prepare an access application and clearly indicate it is an application under the GIPA Act
  2. Include information so that we may reasonably identify what is being requested
  3. Include a postal address as the address for correspondence
  4. Include a cheque ($30 application fee), payable to the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network
  5. Submit the Access Application to the Right to Information Officer (details below)

Formal requests will be processed within 20 working days and may be extended by up to 15 working days where consultation with a third party is required or if records need to be retrieved.

The applicant will be notified of a decision in writing. Any decision to refuse access will include reasons for the decision.

You may make an enquiry or lodge an application for information under the GIPA Act by contacting:

Right to Information Officer
The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead)
Locked Bag 4001
Westmead NSW 2145
Phone: (02) 9845 2356
Fax: (02) 9845 0510
Email: SCHNmail@health.nsw.gov.au

Review rights

You have the right to request a review of a decision regarding the release of information if you disagree with a reviewable decision made by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. You generally have three options to have a decision reviewed:

  • an internal review by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network
  • an external review by the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC)
  • an external review by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT)

Requests to review a decision must be submitted within the following number of working days after the notice of decision was given to you:

  • 20 working days for an internal review; or
  • 40 working days for an external review by the IPC or the ADT.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has published a fact sheet entitled Your Review Rights under the GIPA Act which details your rights of review. Frequently asked questions are also available on the IPC website.

Internal review

An application for an internal review must be made within 20 working days of the Notice of Decision being sent to the applicant and should be accompanied by a GIPA Application for Internal Review form along with a fee of $40. The internal review will be undertaken by a senior officer who was not involved in making the original decision. A determination from an internal review will be issued within 15 working days which may be extended by 10 working days where there is a need to consult with new third parties.

External review

An applicant can appeal a decision to refuse access to information directly to the IPC or ADT. Applicants have 40 working days from the date of the original decision being given to the applicant to appeal a decision to the IPC or ADT.

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has been established to promote public awareness and understanding of the new GIPA Act. The Commissioner also monitors government agencies' compliance with the GIPA Act.

You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW government information by contacting the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) at:

Information and Privacy Commission NSW
Office Address: Level 11, 1 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Mailing Address: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: 1800 INFOCOM (1800 463 626)
Email: ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au  
Website: http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au/

Information not disclosed to the public

Under the GIPA Act, there is a presumption in favour of disclosing Government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. In making such a determination, the public interest test under s.13 of the GIPA Act will be applied, which provides that there will only be an overriding public interest against disclosure where public interest considerations in favour of disclosure are, on balance, outweighed by those against disclosure.

An access application may be made for all government information held by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead) and information may be released in response to an access application unless:

  • there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, or
  • the information is excluded information of particular agencies as defined under Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act.

Although an access application may be made for government information held by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, information will not be released if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network will continually review its program for releasing government information which will identify information held by this agency that should, in the public's interest, be made publicly available.

Government Contracts

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) is required by the GIPA Act to record and publish certain information about some contracts with private sector bodies.  Part 3, Division 5 of the GIPA Act states that information about contracts worth more than $150,000 between agencies and private sector bodies must be recorded in a register of government contracts.  SCHN procurement is conducted by HealthShare NSW and therefore all SCHN contracts details can be found under the HealthShare NSW Contract information database.  Click here for all SCHN contract information.

Open access information: agency information guide

This page provides information about:

  • The structure and functions of this agency
  • The kinds of Government information held by this agency
  • Information that is available to the publiC
  • How this information will be made available, including costs for accessing information.

If you prefer, you can download a copy of the current Agency Information Guide.

Policy documents

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network is a specialist health network that is guided by the following policy documents:

  • NSW Ministry of Health Policies (when applicable)
  • Sydney Children's Hospitals Network policies.

NSW Ministry of Health policies can be accessed publicly.

For access to policies specific to the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, contact the Policies and Procedures Co-ordinator on phone: (02) 9845 1053.

Register of government contracts

The GIPA Act requires agencies to record and publish certain information about contracts with private sector bodies. Employment contracts are not covered by the GIPA Act.

Not all information contained in contracts may be released. The following are considerations that may be applied when determining whether there is a public interest against the disclosure of contract information:

  • The commercial-in-confidence provisions of a contract
  • Details of any unsuccessful tender
  • Any information where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network contracts are available on the NSW Government e-tendering website.

Our disclosure log is a record of information that Sydney Children's Hospitals Network has released, often in response to a specific request from an individual or organisation that may be of interest to other members of the public.

Information about Sydney Children's Hospitals Network tabled in Parliament

No documents have been tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. Should this occur, links to these documents will be published on this website.

Proactive Release

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network  has recently reviewed its website to proactively provide information about our services, priorities, decisions, policies, guidelines, plans, Board documentation and much more. You are welcome to ask Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network what information it will make available to the public, in addition to the information contained on its website. Under GIPA Act, the Network is encouraged to release as much information as possible, in an appropriate way and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost). The Right to Information Officer can be phoned on (02) 9845 3532.