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Official Information Act response times continue to improve

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today published the Official Information Act statistics for the six months to December 2017.

The latest statistics cover 111 different agencies who collectively completed 21,232 requests between July and December 2017, a 1.1% increase on the 20,996 requests for half of 2016/17.

Agencies responded to 20,236, or 95.3%, of these requests on time. This represents a 2.3 percentage point improvement on 2016/17 and is 7.7 percentage points better than 2015/16.

Today is the first time data has been released covering a six month period. Previously, Public Service OIA statistics for 12 months were released.

A total of 57 of 111 agencies achieved 100% on time performance in the six month period, up from 40 for the 2016/17 year and 32 in 2015/16. All 16 Autonomous Crown entities achieved 100% timeliness.

In total, 58 agencies reported improved timeliness, with 16 reporting poorer timeliness.

Mr Hughes said it was particularly pleasing that three District Health Boards – Canterbury, Lakes and West Coast – had significantly improved their performance and were among the 57 agencies to achieve 100% timeliness. An additional 15 agencies made significant improvement in their performance.

“This is a good result,” Mr Hughes said. “Government agencies are continuing to improve their compliance with the Act. The challenge now is to maintain the momentum and get all agencies to 100%.”

While responding to OIA requests on time will remain a priority, Mr Hughes said agencies could now put more emphasis on proactive releasing information and publishing completed requests on their websites.

“New Zealanders expect government agencies to be open and transparent,” Mr Hughes said. “The spirit of the Act is about making official information more freely available, which promotes good government and trust and confidence in the Public Service. I expect agencies will increase their efforts to proactively release information and publish their completed requests.”

Only 16 agencies published OIA responses on their websites.

The Ombudsman made 46 final rulings against agencies, which represents 0.2% of the 21,232 requests received. Some of these rulings refer to requests outside the six month period.

The Chief Ombudsman’s media release and complaints data is also available.

Key findings

• 21,232 requests were completed in the six months to December 2017

• Nearly half (49.6%) of all requests were completed by three agencies: New Zealand Police (5650), Earthquake Commission (2980) and Department of Corrections (1906)

• Eight agencies completed more than 500 requests: New Zealand Police, Earthquake Commission, Department of Corrections, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Customs service and New Zealand Defence Force

• The number of requests to each agency ranged from 1 to 5650.

• 20,236 requests (95.3%) were completed on time

• 996 requests (4.7%) were not completed on time

• 58 of 111 agencies reported improved timeliness, with 16 agencies reporting poorer timeliness

• 380 complaints to the Ombudsman were notified to agencies. This represents 1.8% of OIA requests (approximately 1 in 56)

• A total of 46 Ombudsman rulings were made against agencies, some of which relate to requests outside the six month period. This equates to 0.2% of OIA requests completed (approximately 1 in 462)

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