Insurance companies seeking information about individuals from Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) can lodge an access application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) if they can’t/don’t want to use a subpoena.
An application form does have to be used. The application can be made by letter on company letterhead or can be made by a solicitor. It must be stated in the letter that it is an access application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
The GIPA Act states that a postal address must be provided. All information covered by the scope of the application will be posted unless you advise that you prefer to receive the decision letter and any attached information by email. Generally, the acknowledgement letter will be posted.
It must also be stated in the letter whether or not the company’s and, if relevant, solicitor’s identity can be revealed as the applicant when consultation takes place with the subject individual. Consultation is required under the GIPA Act before consideration can be given to releasing information about an individual who is not the applicant. Unless documentary proof is provided showing that the individual concerned has agreed to the insurance company obtaining the sort of information requested, consultation with that individual will need to be undertaken. The decision to release information or not will be based on what is the overriding public interest. Applicants do not have to give reasons for making applications but it assists the consultation and decision-making process. Documents may be requested to establish the bona fides of the application.
The processing charges will be waived if the scope of the application is: “current location of [name of individual, DOB]”, or “when was [name of individual, DOB] in custody”. For the former scope, the response would be either the name of the correctional facility or “not in custody”. Processing charges may need to be paid for applications requiring more information than the aforementioned sample scopes. Information about processing charges, and lodging an application, is provided on the application form (which is available in the documents section).
All applicants are advised to only apply for the specific records that they need rather than simply asking for all files. Agencies are not obliged to process applications that would be an unreasonable and substantial diversion of resources.
The staff members of the Information Access & Privacy Unit are happy to help you draft the scope of your application and to provide advice on what records may be of assistance to you.
Telephone enquiries can be made to (02) 8346 1067.