Tuesday, January 04, 2005

FOI Requests - when you get response stating the record no longer exists

Taken from INFORMAA (the Journal of the Records Management Society of Australasia www.rmaa.com.au) an article from the May 2004 Edition by Mike Steemson.

"When you have been fobbed off with "the records no longer exist excuse",
Chris recommends that you :

A) Lodge a Freedom of Information Request with the offender, asking:

1. Were the documents really destroyed and if so what was destroyed?Request a list.
2. Was the destruction documented? Request proof.
3. Who destroyed the documents? Ask for a name.
4. Who authorised the destruction? Request another name.
5. Why were the documents destroyed?
6. Did the Archives/Records Manager authorise it? Request proof.

B) At the same time, lodge a separate FoI request with the official archives, asking:

7. Do they know if the documents were destroyed as reported and, if so, do they know what was destroyed? Request a list or description.
8. Do they know who did it? Request a name.
9. Do they know who authorised it? Request another name.
10. Do they have a contact with that Agency. Request a Name.
11. Do they know why were the documents destroyed?
12. Did they authorise it? Request proof.
13. Who asked for it to be authorised? Request a name
14. Have they ever authorised any destructions by that Agency? Request proof.
15. Do they have any reports, internal memoranda (or e-mails) on the case?
16. What documents do they have dealing with the possibility of prosecution under the Act and, if there aren't any, request copies of any documents dealing with the possibility of prosecution in any case at any time since the act was passed."

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