Chipping away with FOI

The Union has been quietly but determinedly pursuing Freedom of Information requests in relation to contracted pathology services – with some successes.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner recently handed down two decisions relating to FOI requests made by the MSAV in July 2015. These requests involved the Union wanting information to clarify the tender process for the South West Healthcare pathology services contract tender in 2015.

Initially, both Health Purchasing Victoria (HPV) and South West Healthcare (SWH) denied the MSAV access to most of the information requested. We then asked the FOI Commissioner to review their decisions, and after a long and drawn out process the Commission last week ordered HPV and SWH to release emails and other documents to the Union.

Whilst this is a difficult process we are determined to continue to pursue FOI requests as one of a number of strategies to keep tendering and contracting processes as transparent as we can.

Our FOI work to date has resulted in at least one independent examination of a pathology services contract, helped to expose examples of mal-administration and non-compliance of contracts and resulted in some reforms.

Needless to say we are improving our effectiveness and will continue to use FOI as a legitimate tool in our struggle against outsourcing.

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