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Ombudsman seeking better OIA practices

Ombudsman seeking better OIA practices


6 April 2018

The Chief Ombudsman has commenced four self-initiated investigations into the official information practices of the public sector.

‘The investigations aim to establish whether the agencies have the leadership, culture, organisational systems, policies and procedures in place to support good practices to achieve the purposes of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA)’, says Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier.

‘We’ll be publishing the findings of our investigations.’

The agencies involved are the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Ministry for the Environment, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand.

‘All these agencies have some involvement with the environment or New Zealand culture, hence their selection’, says Peter Boshier.

‘Environmental and cultural issues are also highly visible to the public, therefore supporting these agencies to develop better OIA processes will help them better serve the public.

‘I have spoken to the Chief Executives of all four agencies, and they all welcome the initiative’.

To assist in the investigations, the Chief Ombudsman will seek input from the agencies and their staff, and from stakeholders who have engaged with the agencies through the OIA process.

The outcome of the investigations will be released later in the year to provide the public with continuing trust and confidence in public sector agencies, and to outline the standards to which government agencies should aspire in terms of decision-making processes, transparency and accountability.

The initiative was first flagged in the Office’s Strategic Intentions 2017/21, and was made possible by funding from Parliament.

The Office of the Ombudsman intends to carry out self-initiated investigations of official information practices on a regular basis, and it is anticipated that over time up to 12 official information practice investigations will be carried out on public sector agencies annually.

The Chief Ombudsman is keen to get the public’s input into the process and has set up a survey for stakeholders who have recently made a request to access information held by any of the four agencies, (i.e. within the last 6-12 months). The surveys are open until 27 April 2018 and can be found by clicking the relevant link below:

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Ministry for the Environment

Department of Conservation

Land Information New Zealand

ENDS


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