Next round of LGOIMA practice investigations underway
Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has commenced another round of self-initiated investigations into the official information practices of selected councils.
Each investigation aims to establish whether the council has the leadership, culture, organisational systems, policies and procedures in place to support good official information practices.
The selected councils are Buller District Council and Invercargill City Council, with two more councils expected to be announced shortly.
‘In addition to continuing my practice investigations into how central government agencies fulfil their obligations under the Official Information Act (OIA), this tranche of investigations focuses on the local government sector under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA),’ Mr Boshier says.
‘I have spoken to the chief executives of the two councils, and they both welcome the initiative. The selection process takes into account my strategic priorities. For this year, these include a continued focus on how local government is complying with its official information obligations, the public perception of this, and any complaints and contacts my Office has received.
‘We want to see if councils are making the same progress as central government. Both the LGOIMA and the OIA are lynchpins of openness and accountability in our democracy. They encourage New Zealanders to take part in issues that affect them, and increase the transparency required by officials.’
Mr Boshier says the investigations are integral to his long-term strategy to help raise the quality of official information delivery from the public sector.
‘I have to reinforce that the reports are not exercises in casting blame or being critical for criticism’s sake - they are also not used to rank agencies. Reports are tailored to each agency.
‘The key thing about these reports is that they not only help the agency involved, they also show other agencies what best practice can look like, and thereby help them improve as well.
‘The outcome of the investigations will provide New Zealanders with continued trust and confidence in public sector agencies, and outline the standards to which agencies should aspire in their decision-making processes, transparency and accountability.’