Complaints about information requests rise by 5%

Press Release – Office of the Ombudsman

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released the latest Official Information Act (OIA) and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) data[1]. The number of complaints about delayed OIA responses dropped slightly in the six months …

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released the latest Official Information Act (OIA) and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) data[1].

The number of complaints about delayed OIA responses dropped slightly in the six months to 30 June 2020 from the same period the previous year, from 157 to 144.

‘This is a good result, especially considering agencies were facing COVID-19 challenges during this period,’ says Mr Boshier.

However the figures for the full year to 30 June 2020 were less encouraging, with complaints about delays rising five percent to 334.

‘These results show we still have a long way to go,’ says Mr Boshier.

‘Agencies must respond as soon as possible to all requests. It’s a legal requirement, not a target, and I am determined to see all agencies meet it.

‘On the other hand it is good to see complaints about refusals to respond to OIA requests dropped by five percent over the year, even though it’s too early to say if this is a trend.’

In the six months to 30 June 2020 the Ombudsman received 551 OIA complaints and 154 LGOIMA complaints.

‘As always, I would encourage agencies to pay attention to avoiding delays and be more transparent rather than reverting to releasing minimal amounts of information,’ says Mr Boshier.

About the data

The data released by the Ombudsman concerns both OIA and LGOIMA complaints received and completed from 1 January to 30 June 2020. It includes information on the number of complaints received by Minister or agency, the nature of the complaint and type of complainant (media, private individual, etc). For the complaints completed, the data also includes the outcome of the complaint.

The data does not enable a direct comparison among agencies, as complaints data on its own does not give the full picture. The number of complaints received by the Ombudsman may be a very small proportion of the total number of OIA or LGOIMA requests received by an agency.

You can view the complaints data here.

At the same time as the Ombudsman published complaints and outcomes data, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission (formerly the State Services Commission) published its data on OIA requests received by agencies and their response times. This data can be viewed here.

[1] This includes all city, district and regional councils, as well as council-controlled organisations, community boards, domain boards, public reserves boards and licensing trusts among others.

See Schedules 1 & 2 LGOIMA for more details.