Official Information Act statistics

Last updated: 30 January 2017

The SSC has published the first set of OIA statistics covering 110 different government agencies.

Government agencies are committed to openness and transparency in the provision of public services to New Zealanders.

The Official Information Act (OIA) gives New Zealanders the right to access information and is important for ensuring government is open and transparent. 

The State Services Commission (SSC) is working with the Office of the Ombudsman and government agencies to make more information publicly available and improve compliance with the OIA.

The SSC and the Office of the Ombudsman have published information on different aspects of compliance with the OIA.

OIA statistics for the State services

The SSC has published the first set of OIA statistics covering 110 different government agencies. This covers all government departments and statutory Crown entities to which the OIA applies.

This first set of statistics captures two elements - the number of requests received from 1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016 and the proportion handled in a timely manner.

Over time the information on performance that is gathered and published will increase to provide a more comprehensive picture of compliance with the letter and spirit of the OIA.

Summary of the statistics

  • 110 agencies were asked to provide statistics.
  • Requests to each agency ranged from 0 to 11,054.
  • The proportion of responses handled in a timely manner varied from 39% to 100%.
  • On average, agencies handled 91% of their requests on time. 

The total number of OIA requests received was 40,273. Around half of all requests were received by Police, EQC and the Department of Corrections.

Future plans

Over time, we will work to create a more consistent and comprehensive set of data for analysing agencies’ performance.

  • The definitions of key statistics will be standardised to improve consistency and comparability.
  • SSC will develop a suite of ‘best practice’ measures of OIA performance by the end of November 2017. 

The use of these measures will assist agencies to increase their understanding of their OIA workload and work-flow and enable better compliance with the OIA.

The OIA applies to many more agencies in the wider public sector, and over time the statistics we publish will extend to more of these agencies.

More frequent reporting of OIA statistics will also be considered.

SSC and the Office of the Ombudsman are cooperating on the development of improved guidance and training for agencies and people making requests. This guidance and training will help agencies be more consistent in how they manage and respond to requests, and help people seeking information get what they are looking for more easily.

Complaints data published by the Chief Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman has published two sets of figures on complaints about agencies’ OIA responses. These cover complaints ‘received’ over six months from 1 July – 31 December 2016, and complaints ‘completed’ during the same period.

The OIA performance statistics released by SSC provides important context for the complaints data, as the number of complaints received does not on its own provide an accurate picture of compliance with the OIA.

It’s important to note that the SSC statistics and the Office of the Ombudsman complaints data do not cover the same time period, or the same length of time. Care should be taken when comparing the figures.

Agencies with high levels of engagement with New Zealanders also tend to receive the largest numbers of OIA requests.  While larger numbers of OIA requests may be associated with higher numbers of complaints to the Ombudsman, the number of complaints as a proportion of requests received may be in line with, or even lower than agencies with smaller numbers of requests. 

This includes:

  • New Zealand Police, which has tens of thousands of interactions with New Zealanders every week. In 2015/16 Police received over one million phone calls, stopped around 630,000 vehicles and responded to around 930,000 events. In the second half of 2016, the Ombudsman received 75 OIA complaints about Police. To put this in context, Police received 11,054 OIA requests over the full year 2015/16. 
  • The Department of Corrections, which is, at any one time, managing almost 10,000 prisoners and administering around 35,000 community based sentences. It received 2,457 OIA requests into its National Office in 2015/16 with 49 OIA complaints received by the Ombudsman in the second half of 2016.
  • The Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which has hundreds of thousands of customers at any time. Every week Work and Income sees 38,000 clients face-to-face and takes 144,000 phone calls. In the 2015/16 year Child, Youth and Family received over 140,000 notifications, taking further action to ensure the children’s safety in over 44,000 of these cases. MSD received 629 OIA requests in 2015/16 with 32 OIA complaints received by the Ombudsman in the second half of 2016.

The Chief Ombudsman’s report is available on the Office on the Ombudsman’s website