INDEPENDENT NEWS

First release of OIA statistics

Published: Tue 31 Jan 2017 04:30 PM
First release of OIA statistics
31 January 2017
New Zealand is taking great strides in transparent governance with the release of detailed data examining the public sector’s response to official information requests.
In a first for New Zealand, the Chief Ombudsman has today released comprehensive data about complaints his Office has received relating to the way Ministers and other public sector agencies have dealt with official information requests. The first release covers the six months to December 2016 and future releases will happen every six months.
Last week the New Zealand public sector, alongside Denmark, was ranked as the least corrupt nation in the world, as measured by Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Judge Boshier says the fact New Zealand has fared well in the index is a reflection of the hard work put in by the Office in ensuring transparency.
“New Zealand is doing well and our decision to release this data is part of a wider push for greater transparency in the operation of the OIA. It’s this kind of initiative that saw New Zealand recognised as the least corrupt nation, and that will help us to retain that ranking over time.”
“Agencies will try harder to get it right if they know that information about their compliance with the OIA will be published.”
Judge Boshier says it was pleasing that the State Services Commission saw the benefit in making this information public and supported the Office by announcing it would also release data.
“The State Services Commission has steered the process of publicising statistics about the volume of OIA requests received by government departments and statutory crown entities, and the timeliness of responses to those requests. This is a first for New Zealand.”
Judge Boshier says this is just the first step in creating even greater transparency.
“We are working closely with the SSC to extend the scope and reach of the available statistics over time. The statistics published by SSC provide important context for our complaints data. They show that of the many thousands of OIA requests received in a year, only a very small proportion result in complaints to the Ombudsman.”
Judge Boshier says it’s very important to understand that just because a complaint is made doesn’t necessarily mean the agency has done anything wrong.
“All complaints are taken seriously by the Office, with a strong focus continuing to be on the fast and efficient resolution of complaints. Some of the cases can be resolved prior to or during an investigation. In the minority of cases a full investigation is required and it is during this time that any wrong-doing can be determined.”
The Office’s data on OIA complaints completed between July and December 2016 shows that 23 per cent of the complaints required a full investigation, and 10 percent of the complaints were upheld.
You can see the Ombudsman’s complaints data here: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resources-and-publications/oia-complaints-data
You can see the SSC’s request data here: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/our-work/official-information-act-performance-statistics
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