Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, has published his half-yearly data on Official Information Act (OIA) and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) complaints today.
The data covers the number of complaints received under each Act for the period 1 July 2022 to 31 December 2022, as well as the number of complaints completed during this period.
The figures show that the number of OIA complaints received (808) has dropped by almost 40% compared to the last six-month period, when 1,300 complaints were received.
However during the last period, 550 of those complaints were from one complainant. When these complaints are excluded, the number of complaints appear to be stable, Mr Boshier said.
The number of complaints about requests under the LGOIMA has dropped slightly in the past six months from 206 to 164.
The biggest shift was the number of delay complaints overall, pursued through to a final opinion, and a corresponding increase in the number of upheld complaints and findings of deficiencies.
“This reflects a change in the way I am dealing with delay complaints. I announced last year that I would take a stronger approach if Ministers, agencies and local authorities did not follow the right steps to meet the timeframe required by law or making decisions and communicating them to requesters,” the Chief Ombudsman said.
“The data around delay over the past six months reflects this change in approach. However, it is too early to say whether this has improved timeliness and resulted in more complaints being resolved.
“I intend to gauge the effect of my approach on agency practice in future when more data becomes available.
“My latest investigation into the Official Information Act practices of public agencies is also based on concerns about delays in responses to requests for information.”
The investigation will look at the reasons for delay – including agencies extending the maximum timeframe before providing their responses, and transferring requests to other departments, he said.
See the Ombudsman’s complaints data.
Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission publishes its own data on OIA requests received by agencies and their response times. This data can be viewed here today.