State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes today released Official Information Statistics for the six months to June 2018.

The latest statistics cover 112 agencies that collectively completed 23,733 requests between January and June 2018, an 11.8% increase on the 21,232 requests for the previous six months, July to December 2017.

Agencies responded to 22,202, or 93.5%, of requests on time. This represents a 1.8 percentage point decrease on the previous period, a result which Mr Hughes says is disappointing.

“I am pleased public service departments continue to improve and that more than half of the agencies included achieved 100% timeliness. But we still have work to do,” he said.

“Since 2015 when we started collecting OIA data, there has been overall improvement in OIA requests being completed on time and the number of agencies achieving 100% timeliness has risen to 62.”

“The latest six monthly results are a reminder that we cannot be complacent. New Zealanders expect requests for official information to be provided within the timeframe set by the legislation”.

“Over time, DHBs have been making some good progress, in particular Nelson Marlborough, Wairarapa and Waitemata DHBs who have maintained 100% timeliness for the last twelve months.

“However, when you look at the latest data, the sector has some variable results. A number of DHBs are not performing as well as I expect and they need to urgently put some focus on this. In particular, I am disappointed that the positive results achieved in the previous six months by some DHBs have not been maintained or improved.

“I have written to the Director-General of Health and asked that he speak with the relevant Board Chairs. We need to see greater focus and improvement here.”

What's also of note is that, although the timeliness statistics for both Police and the EQC exceeded 90%, they accounted for 58.6% of responses not completed on time. This is because they are responsible for 43.2% of total OIA responses. Prior to the latest results, both agencies had been making positive progress.

“Responding to OIA requests on time is the minimum standard under the law. It's not an aspirational target. The spirit of the Act is about making official information more freely available. This promotes good government and trust and confidence in the State Services.”

The Ombudsman made 56 final rulings against 26 agencies, which represents 0.2% of the 23,733 requests received. Some of these rulings refer to requests outside the six-month period.

The Chief Ombudsman's media release and complaints data are also available.

Ends

Media contact: Nic Barkley, 021 844 575

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