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State Services releases first OIA stats

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/01/2017

Government agencies handled Official Information Act requests on time in more than 90 per cent of cases, according to State Services Commission figures.

The figures for the year ended June 2016 covered 110 agencies and are the first set to be published.

They show 40,273 OIA requests during the period, with about half being received by police, the Earthquake Commission and Corrections.

An average of 91 per cent of responses were handled on time, while the median rate was 96 per cent.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says the number of requests is a large one and agencies are investing a lot of resources in responding.

However, he expects them to respond in accordance to the act, which is as soon as practicable, and in a maximum of 20 working days, unless there are grounds for an extension.

During the June year, the timeliness that agencies responded ranged from 39 per cent to 100 per cent on time.

While one-third of agencies reached a rate of 99 per cent or better, a quarter were below 85 per cent.

"Most agencies are working hard to respond on time and are achieving a good standard of timeliness," Mr Hughes said.

"It is clear that some agencies need to improve and have work to do to lift their performance."

Mr Hughes said district health boards stood out as an agency group that was not meeting its timeliness obligations, which was a concern.

He said the commission and the Office of the Ombudsman were cooperating on developing improved guidance and training for agencies and people making requests.

Meanwhile, Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier released data about complaints his office had received relating to how ministers and public agencies had dealt with official information requests.

Those figures cover the six months to December 2016 and show that 23 per cent of complaints required a full investigation and 10 per cent were upheld.

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