1.2.5 Information that can be released Release of information | Missing or non-existent documents | Notice of decision

It is important that Agents process requests in line with the specific detail of the request.

If any further details are required in order to clarify the request, the Agent is expected to assist the worker to identify the information sought and provide that information except for exempt or irrelevant information.

Information that is to be provided

Once a valid request is received, the Agent must consider whether any information requested is:

  • outside the scope of the request

    If a worker seeks access to a specific document or documents, for example, a medical report by an IME Independent Medical Examiner / Independent Medical Examination or a specific item of correspondence or a surveillance report about their claim, then the specific document is obviously relevant to the request. All other documents in the worker’s claim file would be considered to be outside the scope for Access to Information (ATI) purposes. In such cases, it would be inappropriate to assume and provide copies of all documents contained in the claim file. Information released outside the scope of a worker's request may also constitute a breach of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (PDP Act Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014).
  • irrelevant

    Information that does not relate to the worker’s claim must not be released. Release of such information may also constitute a breach of the PDP Act.

    For example ClosedA file note or report that contains details of other workers must be edited to remove other workers’ information. Also estimate sheets, administrative checklists, employer or service provider administrative reports not relevant to the claim or the request are outside the scope and are not be released.

  • exempt under the WIRC Act Workplace Injury Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 2013

    See: Exemptions from access to information
  • publicly available for inspection or purchase (eg guidance material, program or policy documents) and if requested, is provided outside formal WIRC Act processes.

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WIRC Act requests

Agents are required to:

  1. process any requests made by a worker under the WIRC Act in line with the WIRC Act and these guidelines
  2. record the relevant details of the request on ACCtion.

When a request has been processed, the Agent sends the worker a notice of its decision to either:

  • fully release all documents requested
  • partially release documents requested (if partly irrelevant or partly exempt)
  • deny access to the documents requested if they are fully exempt or
  • notify the worker that there are no relevant documents held by the Agent, if the requested documents do not exist or cannot be located.
Second review and checklist

Decisions and documents proposed for release under the WIRC Act must be reviewed and assessed by an independent Second Review Officer prior to a final decision being made, prior to the documents being released and prior to a referral to WorkSafe for review and final assessment.

Both ATI Officers and Second Review Officers are required to complete and sign a copy of the ATI checklist provided and place on the relevant file.

Define a document

Note: This definition is consistent with the definition of a ‘document’ in legislation and for general record keeping purposes. Release of information

Agents may forward any released documents via ordinary post. However, large volumes may require alternative and more secure methods.


Notices of decision and released documents are sent to the address provided on the application, unless a subsequent change of address is provided by the worker.

If there is no address included in the worker’s letter use the most recent or current address shown on their record. If in doubt confirm the address with the worker before any correspondence is sent. Update ACCtion with any changes to the worker's address or contact phone numbers.


Use window-faced envelopes to avoid mixing up labelled envelopes and their intended contents. Ensure that no information, other than that required for addressing, is included on the outside of an envelope or is visible through the envelope window.

For exampleClosed It should not be obvious without opening the envelope that the contents include health information.

See: Data security

Note: A copy of the decision letter is to be kept on file.

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Electronic methods

If the worker has indicated that they are agree to receiving documents by email and has provided a current email address, the decision letter and documents may be released electronically. Ensure that you check the email address before sending, as inadvertent sending of incorrectly addressed email is likely to constitute a privacy breach.

Documents sent to wrong address

If documents have been sent to an incorrect address (or email address), the Agent is required to:

  • contact the current occupier and take steps to immediately recover the documents or confirm their destruction
  • attempt to recall the email (if relevant)
  • notify the privacy or compliance officer who will report the incident to WorkSafe in accordance with the Guidelines for Reporting Breaches of the Agency Agreement (Escalation Framework).

See: Privacy complaints & incidents | Respond to privacy incidents

Full release of documentation

A worker is entitled to access a document except where it is out of scope or exempt.

Documents where irrelevant or exempt parts have been masked or deleted are to be released except where the masking or deletions of the text renders the document meaningless, misleading or unintelligible.

Partial release or denied release of documentation

Agent ATI Officers assess requests under the WIRC Act and decide if any exemptions apply.

If an Agent believes that information is exempt on the grounds of health information or serious threat to life or health, the decision must be made by the Agent’s Medical Advisor or the worker’s nominated medical practitioner.

Agents must first ensure the worker has given their consent or made the nomination before forwarding the relevant documents to the nominated medical practitioner.

If an ATI Officer Access to Information Officer is in doubt about whether information is exempt on the grounds of legal professional privilege, they should consult legally qualified Agent staff.

Back to top Missing or non-existent documents

Agents are required to thoroughly search for requested documents.

Search decision

If the decision is that documents do not exist or cannot be located despite a thorough and diligent search, the decision notice must:

  • provide some indication of the nature of the inquiries made and the searches conducted (eg summary of the search and any other steps taken to establish that the document does not exist or cannot be located)
  • inform the worker of the option to seek a review by an internal Senior Officer of the Agent or WorkSafe’s assistance and the right to complain to the WIC Workcover Injury Commission. Notice of decision

Agents are required to provide workers or their representatives with a written notice of their decision and reasons for the decision where it is decided that:

  • the worker is not entitled to access the document or part of a document or
  • the document does not exist or cannot be found.
Time limits to notify worker

The worker must be notified as soon as practicable after the valid request for information is received but no later than 28 calendar days.

Document cannot be found

A decision notice that no documents exist or cannot be found must provide the worker with information in relation to the nature of the searches undertaken and the inquiries made.

Notice not provided in time

If the worker is not notified in writing within the required time limit (ie if 28 days have expired and no decision is received by the applicant) the Agent is deemed to have made a decision to refuse access to the documents. The worker may seek a review of a deemed decision from the WIC.

Description of exempt documents

In the notice of decision, Agents are to provide workers with a brief description of any exempt documents but must ensure that the exempt information is not disclosed.

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