Routine Personal Work Information and access applications
Routine personal work information and how it interacts with access applications under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) (IP Act) has been a recent theme in calls and emails to the Enquiries Service. We thought it might be helpful to address some of these issues with a broader audience.
Routine personal work information is personal information
Personal information is any information about an individual who can be identified. Routine personal work information is any information about an identifiable agency employee that relates to their routine work duties. The definition of personal information does not exclude employment information.
The phrase 'routine personal work information' does not appear in either Act
The phrase 'routine personal work information' was developed by the OIC. It is shorthand for the principle that the personal information of agency employees that relates only to their day to day routine work duties will generally be given less weight when applying the privacy1 and personal information2 factors against disclosure. It is a general principle that may not always apply; for some applications, the privacy and personal information factors may need to be given a higher weighting when applied to routine personal work information.
Other public interest factors against disclosure can also apply to routine personal work information—for example, if its disclosure could prejudice an agency's management functions—and those must be weighted according to the circumstances; they cannot automatically be discounted.
Routine personal work information is a small subset of agency employee personal information
Agencies hold large amounts of personal information about their employees. Only some of this will fit the criteria for routine personal work information. The test isn't that the personal information relates to the employee's employment or status as an agency officer. It is that the personal information relates only to the ordinary, everyday, routine aspects of an employee's duties.
Other personal information—eg complaints about or by an employee, opinions about how well an employee performs their duties, identifying information like an employee's address, drivers license details, date of birth, and age, or information about employees' emotions, morale and incidents involving other people—is not routine. If it's not routine, it cannot be routine personal work information.
If it's not routine personal work information it's just personal information
Employee personal information that is not routine personal work information must be dealt with as personal information. This means applying the privacy and personal information factors against disclosure (along with any other relevant factors) and assigning their weight based on the specific information and circumstances.
See Access applications and third party personal information for information on dealing with third party personal information.
For more information on routine personal work information, refer to the guideline: Routine personal work information of public sector employees.
1 Schedule 4, part 3, item 3
2 Schedule 4, part 4, section 6