New Zealand Law Society - Drop in number of OIA responses on time

Drop in number of OIA responses on time

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Official Information Act request statistics for the six months to 30 June 2018 show there were 23,733 requests covering 112 agencies, with 22,202, or 93.5% of requests on time.

Releasing the data, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says the on time responses are a drop of 1.9% on the previous period, which is disappointing.

“I am pleased public service departments continue to improve and that more than half of the agencies included achieved 100% timeliness. But we still have work to do,” he says.

“Since 2015 when we started collecting OIA data, there has been overall improvement in OIA requests being completed on time and the number of agencies achieving 100% timeliness has risen to 62.”

Mr Hughes says the health sector has some "variable" results, although Nelson, Marlborough, Waitemata and Wairarapa District Health Boards have maintained 100% timeliness for the last twelve months.

"A number of DHBs are not performing as well as I expect and they need to urgently put some focus on this. In particular, I am disappointed that the positive results achieved in the previous six months by some DHBs have not been maintained or improved," he says.

“I have written to the Director-General of Health and asked that he speak with the relevant Board Chairs. We need to see greater focus and improvement here.”

Mr Hughes says what's also of note is that, although the timeliness statistics for both Police and the EQC exceeded 90%, they accounted for 58.6% of responses not completed on time.

"This is because they are responsible for 43.2% of total OIA responses. Prior to the latest results, both agencies had been making positive progress.

“Responding to OIA requests on time is the minimum standard under the law. It's not an aspirational target. The spirit of the Act is about making official information more freely available. This promotes good government and trust and confidence in the State Services.”

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