The review process is conducted by staff of the NHPOPC, who are available to assist you with any queries you may have. The process is intended to be informal.
When you lodge an application for review, your application is registered and a file is opened under your name. You will receive an acknowledgement and a reference number within three working days.
We will undertake an assessment of your application to ensure it includes all information required for it to be valid. This includes:
If you have not provided enough information for the application to be deemed valid, we will attempt to contact you to explain what further information is required.
If we determine that your application is valid, a NHPOPC staff member will be assigned to your matter. They will contact you to introduce themselves and provide you with their contact details.
We will also notify AHPRA of your application for review and will generally provide it with a copy.
If the application for review is made by an affected third party, we will also notify the original FOI applicant.
Before deciding whether to proceed with a review, we may make preliminary inquiries. We may consider whether to exercise discretion not to undertake a review. This could be for reasons including that the application is lacking in substance and it is for this reason that your application should clearly set out why you believe the original decision is wrong.
At this stage, we may also use alternative dispute resolution methods to informally resolve your concerns.
If you have made an internal review request to AHPRA, we will generally place our work on hold until the internal review has been finalised (noting there is a 30-day period for AHPRA to make a fresh decision once it has received an internal review request).
If your application proceeds to a review, we will formally request that AHPRA provide the NHPOPC with all relevant information and documents. This could include:
Ordinarily, we will also ask that AHPRA provide the NHPOPC with submissions in support of its decision. As a general rule, these submissions will be made available to you and to other parties as considered appropriate. However, it can be requested that submissions remain confidential and if this occurs, we may be limited in the amount of information we can share with you.
At any time during the review, you and AHPRA can come to an agreement about how to resolve the matter. The NHPOPC can then decide to resolve the application for review (in whole or in part) by giving effect to the agreement.
In circumstances where you and AHPRA do not reach an agreement and you have not withdrawn your application during the review process, the NHPOPC must make a decision about the matter. The NHPOPC can decide to:
Once a decision is made, the parties to the review are notified and reasons for the decision are provided in writing. The decision is also published on the NHPOPC website (excluding any exempt material or personal information about you where it would represent an unreasonable disclosure).
AHPRA must comply with the NHPOPC’s decision.
If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal to the responsible Tribunal in the jurisdiction in which you live.
You have 28 days after receiving the decision to apply for Tribunal review. The Tribunal will reconsider the decision made by AHPRA and can make a new decision. The NHPOPC will not be a party to the proceedings.
In normal circumstances, you cannot appeal directly to a Tribunal for review of a decision made under the FOI Act without first applying to the NHPOPC for a review. The exception is if the NHPOPC decides that it would be in the interests of the administration of the FOI Act for a Tribunal to consider the matter. It is important to note that you cannot apply for review by a Tribunal if the NHPOPC has decided to exercise discretion not to undertake, or continue to undertake, a review.