New Zealand Law Society - Ombudsman to check central government OIA compliance progress

Ombudsman to check central government OIA compliance progress

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Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says he is launching a new inquiry into whether 12 central government agencies have addressed any weaknesses identified in a 2015 investigation into Official Information Act compliance and practice.

Published in December 2015, Not a game of hide and seek was initiated by former Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem, in response to growing concerns that some agencies or Ministers were ‘gaming’ the OIA. The investigation found that while agencies overall met the required standards, there were definite improvements to be made.

“I really have to find out about what has changed since the original report was published,” Mr Boshier says.

“I am dealing with many complaints from people frustrated at the slowness of agencies to respond to requests. With less than a year until the next general election, I want to ensure these agencies have systems and practices working consistently with their obligations under the OIA and the public can have trust and know what to expect when they engage with them.”

Public survey

To assist with the inquiry, surveys for each of the 12 agencies have been set up. The Chief Ombudsman is inviting anyone who has sought information from one or more of the agencies within the last 12 months to participate.

The surveys are open until Friday, 24 January 2020. The agencies involved are the Accident Compensation Corporation, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Customs Service, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Transport Agency, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Transport, and State Services Commission.

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