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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:


Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Harmful Digital Communication Bill Passes: Focus Must Be On Education

InternetNZ acknowledges the passage of the Harmful Digital Communications Bill into law this afternoon, and says that the sooner the education efforts at the heart of the legislation start, the better... More>>

ALSO:

3-Year Transport Plan: No Plans On Six Northland-Election Bridges

The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza Blockade: Māori TV Crew Returning Safely From Israel

A Māori Television crew will be flown back from Israel after their boat was detained by the Israeli Navy while attempting to break the Gaza blockade. More>>

ALSO:

Family Violence: Increasing Reporting But Fewer Resolutions

“We are aware the Police have embarked on a significant programme of change in how they respond to family violence. The data suggests that adequate resourcing including investing in staff training, support and culture change will be required for this to be effective.” More>>

ALSO:

Health: NZ Children Still Suffer Rickets From Lack Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency continues to cause rickets in young New Zealanders, new University of Otago research has found. The researchers say that their finding suggests that at-risk mothers and children should be better targeted for Vitamin D supplementation. More>>

Also GPs, Housing, Milk: PM Press Conference On The UN Security Council

In a press conference today the Prime Minister discussed the upcoming appointment of New Zealand to chair the UN Security Council. He said they would put pressure Asad in Syria and attempt to “jump start” negotiations between Israel and Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news