Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Ombudsman criticises handling of school closure information


Ombudsman criticises handling of school closure information requests

Date: 18 December 2012


Ombudsman Dr David McGee has found the Ministry of Education acted wrongly in its handling of requests for official information about Christchurch school closures. He is now planning an investigation into whether the Ministry’s processes for disclosure of information are adequate to ensure effective and sufficient public consultation around school closures generally. In addition, Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem will investigate concerns that the broader public sector is not managing requests for information under the Official Information Act (OIA) as well as it should.

In a report released today, the Ombudsman found the Ministry of Education wrongly advised the Christchurch City Council on how to reply to requests for information.
When the Council challenged the advice, the Ministry’s response failed to correct or address the fact that their initial response was inappropriate and wrong, Dr McGee says.

The report raises the question of what is effective consultation in respect of proposed school closures, and the Ombudsmen’s concerns have prompted them to conduct an investigation into this issue in the New Year.

Information about school closures and mergers, which have a major impact on communities, should be presented in “a comprehensive and comprehensible form”, Dr McGee says.

“Schools and parents should not have to ferret out information by making official information requests.”

Dr McGee also found the Ministry was wrong to advise two principals to withdraw their official information requests in order to receive a better response.

“Any suggestion that a government agency must bypass the OIA in order to allow a more efficient provision of information is unacceptable,” he says.

In response to the Ombudsman’s investigation, the Ministry of Education has already started reviewing its OIA processes, and staff training around the Act, Dr McGee says.

However, he and the Chief Ombudsman are concerned that there seems to be a broader perception within the public sector that “some requests for information can only be processed efficiently by somehow removing them from the OIA context”.

As a result the Chief Ombudsman would be conducting an investigation of OIA processes in selected government agencies in early 2013, he says.
[ends]
The full report can be found on www.ombudsman.parliament.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

 
 

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics. More>>

ALSO:

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:


Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news