Mental Health Advocacy Service - Freedom of Information (FOI)

Apply to access documents held by the Mental Health Advocacy Service under the Western Australia Freedom of Information Act 1992.

The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 was established to:

  • enhance public participation in government, and 
  • increase the accountability of State and local governments.

It requires the Mental Health Advocacy Service (MHAS) to make details available about:

  • the type of documents it holds, and 
  • how they can be accessed.

It allows you to:

  • obtain personal information, and 
  • request amendment to your personal information if you believe the public record is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.

MHAS aims to make information openly available to the public. When possible, MHAS will provide information to applicants outside of the Freedom of Information process. 

Documents like Annual Reports and mental health inquiry reports are available on this website.

Freedom of Information requests

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There are two kinds of requests:

  • personal information, and 
  • non-personal information. 

Personal information can be defined as:

  • information or an opinion
  • true or not true
  • recorded in a material form or not
  • about an individual (living or deceased)
  • information that reveals a person’s identity or makes their identity apparent. (i.e. names or contact details).

Non-personal information is information concerning people other than the person applying for FOI access. This includes information such as:

  • opinions,
  • contact details or
  • genetic information.

Applications

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All Freedom of Information applications must:

  • be in writing
  • give enough information so that the requested document can be identified
  • give an Australian address to which notices can be sent, and
  • be lodged at the agency together with the application fee (if required).

Lodgement of FOI Applications

Email your application to Contactus@mhas.wa.gov.au or present it in person or by post to:

The Executive Officer
Mental Health Advocacy Service 
Unit 6/18 Harvest Terrace 
West Perth WA 6005

When MHAS receives an application, an acknowledgement letter will be sent to the applicant notifying them that their application will be processed within 45 days.

Processing of Freedom of Information Applications

The MHAS Executive Officer is responsible for processing FOI applications. The Executive Officer liaises with the applicant, decision maker and third parties, to process the application in accordance with the FOI Act.

Once a decision has been made, the applicant will receive a Notice of Decision which outlines the facts and reasons behind the MHAS decision.

Right of Review

Applicants have the right to appeal an FOI decision, through internal and external review processes.

No fees or charges are applicable for reviews.

Internal review applications should be lodged in writing to the MHAS within 30 days of the date of the Notice of Decision.

If any matter remains in dispute, applicants have the right to request an external review with the Information Commissioner

Documents held by Mental Health Advocacy Service

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Before you lodge your FOI application, please check your documents are not available online. Documents including the MHAS reports are available on WA.gov.au

Clinical mental health records are held by the Health Service Provider where you received treatment. Contact them for more information.

MHAS holds the following records:

  • Individual client files
  • Personnel files
  • Protocols governing advocacy practice
  • Internal operational manuals
  • Advocate training materials
  • Presentations to other organisations
  • Submissions
  • Organisational planning documents
  • Internal reports
  • Project implementation and management documents
  • Financial documents
  • Contracts and agreements
  • Meeting records
  • Briefing notes
  • Legal opinions sought by MHAS
  • Electronic communication (emails)
  • All MHAS correspondence (incoming and outgoing)
  • Other miscellaneous information

To request any of these documents, contact the Executive Officer on (08) 6234 6300.

Changing your personal information

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Apply to the Executive Officer to request a correction or amendment to any document(s) which contain personal information.

All applications must be:

  • made in writing, and 
  • clearly demonstrate how or why the MHAS records are inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.

You will then be informed of the decision and reasoning, with a Notice of Decision.

If the MHAS decides to amend the applicant’s personal information, it will usually be done by:

  • altering the record, or 
  • adding a further note in relation to the record. 

Applicants may appeal an amendment decision made by the MHAS by an internal and external review process.

Fees and Charges

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There is no fee to access or amendment personal information. A fee is payable to access non-personal information.

The following table details the applicable fees and charges. Please note all charges are made at the discretion of the MHAS.

Charge Description Fee Payable
Personal information about applicant -such as your medical record or employee file No fee
Application fee for non-personal information $30.00
Time taken dealing with the application $30.00 per hour
Access time supervised by staff $30.00 per hour
Photocopying relevant documents $30.00 per hour for staff time, plus 20 cents per copy
Duplicating a tape, film or computer information Actual cost
Delivery, packaging and postage Actual cost
Page reviewed 20 April 2022