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

Coronavirus: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees, And A Possible Future For RNZ Concert

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban extending until next Monday at least, presumably dependent to some extent on what Morrison decides to do later this week.
Our universities are now asking for an exemption to the travel ban for their Chinese students, who would still, the universities assure us, be subjected to strict quarantine procedures upon arrival. Given how the inability of the university system to care for its own students on campus made world news last year, that promise may not do much to reduce the coronavirus fears among the wider New Zealand public. More>>


 

Water Woes: Wellington Reflects National Problem

Water utilities right across the country face major challenges to upgrade and maintain their underground three waters network. Water New Zealand’s Technical Manager, Noel Roberts says Wellington’s waste water woes are not unique to the capital city... More>>

ALSO:

2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>

ALSO:

Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>

ALSO:


Local Government NZ: New Report A Pathfinder For Affordable Housing

A report released today by LGNZ provides a roadmap for councils finding their way through the complex policy, regulatory and market tools available to help enable more affordable housing developments for New Zealanders. With demand soaring, rents ... More>>

ALSO:

“Can Do Better”: Sallies Election Year Report Card

This year’s State of the Nation report by The Salvation Army offers a mixed bag of outcomes, with some significant headline progress - but also an ambitious list of “can do better”. Government action is delivering limited improvements... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels