New Zealand Law Society - Official Information Act response times improve

Official Information Act response times improve

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Statistics from the State Services Commission show the number of Official Information Act (OIA) requests rose in the second half of last year, while the response time to requests also improved.

The statistics cover 111 different agencies who collectively completed 21,232 requests between July and December 2017 - a 1.1% increase on the 20,996 requests for half of 2016/17.

Agencies responded to 20,236, or 95.3%, of these requests on time - a 2.3% improvement on 2016/17.

Of the 111 agencies, 57 achieved 100% on time performance in the six-month period, up from 40 for the 2016/17 year and 32 in 2015/16.

“This is a good result,” says State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes.

“Government agencies are continuing to improve their compliance with the Act. The challenge now is to maintain the momentum and get all agencies to 100%.”

The Ombudsman made 46 final rulings against agencies, which represents 0.2% of the 21,232 requests received. Some of these rulings refer to requests outside the six-month period.

“New Zealanders expect government agencies to be open and transparent,” Mr Hughes says.

Late last month the Office of the Ombudsman revealed it had received 673 OIA complaints in the last six months of 2017.

Of those, 407 came from private individuals - more than three times as many as from media organisations, who made 138 complaints. The remainder were lodged by trade unions, MPs, and local authorities.

Most complaints concerned the refusal in full of an official information request (147 complaints).

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