Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 396. Updated Tuesday, 11 February 2014

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World PS News
Privacy ruling on job applications

The Australian Information Commission has made an updated ruling relating to the disclosure of personal information of a successful applicant in Australian Public Service (APS) recruitment processes.
 Information Commissioner, John McMillan ruled that, with the exception of the name of the successful applicant and a statement that the applicant had been selected for promotion, the remaining vocational assessment information was the personal information of the successful applicant.
 “The disclosure of this information would be unreasonable under the FOI Act and contrary to the public interest,” Professor McMillan said.

No FOI entitlement
 He said the documents he had considered in the case included the successful applicant’s response to the selection criteria for the advertised position their curriculum vitae and the comparative assessment of all applicants prepared by the selection committee.
 “I considered the interaction between the Privacy Act 1988 and the FOI Act regarding the meaning of ‘personal information’ as well as previous case law about recruitment processes and personal information,” Professor McMillan said
 Also taken into account were the influence of advances in information technology and increasing community concern about privacy protection.
 The Information Commissioner said that changes to privacy law, information technology and community attitudes to privacy protection meant that the view taken in earlier cases, that it was not unreasonable to disclose vocational assessment information about a successful applicant, needed to be reassessed, hence the ruling.
 The full ruling can be viewed at this PS News link.

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