INDEPENDENT NEWS

Complaints about official information delays fall

Published: Fri 15 Oct 2010 01:58 PM
Office of the Ombudsmen
Te Tari-o-Ngā Kaitiaki Mana Tangata
Media release
Complaints about official information delays fall
The Office of the Ombudsmen says there has been a significant reduction in complaints about delays in processing OIA requests.
The Ombudsmen provide Parliament and the people of New Zealand with an independent check on the quality, fairness and integrity of administrative and decision making practices in the wider state sector. They operate under five pieces of legislation including the Ombudsmen Act, the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem says the Office received 164 delay complaints which is down 23 per cent on the previous year and 43 percent on the 07/08 year – making it the lowest number of delay complaints received in 16 years.
She says it seems the Office’s new approach of undertaking a formal investigation of all delay complaints has been effective, and Ministers and central government agencies are taking the statutory time limits seriously.
The Office also reports that agencies are increasingly recognising that the only way to handle large volumes of information in which there is a clear and demonstrated public interest is to make it available proactively, often in electronic form. This can prevent agencies being inundated with individual requests.
The Office goes on to recognise that responding to OIA requests can be time consuming and resource intensive and says there does not seem to be any reason why information could not be released as widely as possible after individual requests are met, for example, by posting official information releases online.
The Office says the move may minimise the burden of responding to requests of a same or similar nature from other requesters.
ENDS

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