New Zealand Law Society - Increase in OIA complaints to Ombudsman

Increase in OIA complaints to Ombudsman

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Official Information Act data released by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier shows a 34% rise in complaints received by the Ombudsman since the data was first published two-and-a-half years ago.

OIA complaints received by the Office of the Ombudsman in the six months from 1 July to 31 December 2018 rose 71% from 697 in the previous six months to 1194. However, 471 of these complaints came from one individual and related to delayed responses from school Boards of Trustees.

"Without that block of complaints, there were 723 complaints received, an increase on the previous six months of 3.7%," the Office says.

Individuals made up 70% of complaints (discounting the 471) followed by the media at 20%, with political parties or research units accounting for 6% of complaints.

As in the past, the three main areas of complaint (discounting the 471) were delays in decision making (20%), refusal of information in part (21%) and refusal in full (30%).

The Office of the Ombudsman completed 662 complaints, with 41% either not requiring investigation, or being resolved before an investigation began. Only 20% required the Ombudsman to form a final opinion.

The State Services Commission has also published information on OIA requests received by government agencies and their response times.