Ombudsman releases report on LGOIMA practice at Council
Ombudsman releases report on LGOIMA practice at Auckland Council
Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has published his report into Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) compliance and practice at New Zealand’s largest local authority.
The report finds that Auckland Council has a strong culture of openness, led by the Chief Executive, who demonstrates a commitment to LGOIMA and transparency more generally.
Mr Boshier notes the Council proactively publishes information such as transparency reports, restated meeting minutes, LGOIMA responses, resident survey results and performance measures; and that it has a number of useful resources to guide staff in responding to requests for information.
Auckland Council has accepted all but one of the Chief Ombudsman’s suggested actions, and has developed a plan to implement these over the next 18 months.
The suggested action not accepted by the Council concerns its internal LGOIMA Review Group, which meets weekly to review all LGOIMA requests on hand, and includes a representative from the Mayoral Office.
The Chief Ombudsman suggests that to avoid any perception of political influence on LGOIMA decisions, a Mayoral Office representative not be part of the Review Group.
"The Council’s view is that a Mayoral Office representative is well worth having on the Review Group, as they work right across the organisation and have knowledge of the location of information," Mr Boshier says.
"I acknowledge this point of view, but nonetheless urge Auckland Council to reconsider its position. I thank all Auckland Council staff and stakeholders who contributed to this investigation."