OIA complaints data
From 2016/17, the Chief Ombudsman will publish data on OIA complaints against Ministers and agencies. Publication will occur every six months.
The State Services Commission (SSC) is also publishing data on the number of OIA requests received by some agencies (departments and statutory Crown entities), and the timeliness of responses to requests. See SSC's data here.
The Ombudsman's complaints data should be seen and interpreted in light of the contextual considerations discussed below.
The Chief Ombudsman is committed to working collaboratively with Ministers and agencies to improve their capability and capacity to comply with the official information legislation. This includes promoting the collection and publication of an expanded set of data about OIA requests received by agencies, to place the Ombudsman's complaints data in context.
What information about complaints is available?
The data includes information about all OIA complaints against Ministers and agencies during the reporting period. It is grouped into two spreadsheets - one for complaints received, and one for complaints completed (note, complaints completed in the reporting period may include complaints received before the reporting period commenced).
The data names the Minister or agency complained about, the nature of the complaint made, and the type of complainant. For complaints that have been completed you can also see the outcome of the complaint and the reason for that outcome. Where the Ombudsman formed a final opinion, you can see whether that upheld the Minister's or agency's decision, and, if any deficiency in decision making was found, the nature of that deficiency (eg, the request was refused when it shouldn't have been). Finally, you can see information about the remedies achieved as a result of the Ombudsman's intervention.
Data on complaints received is also available as a CSV file. This file will include the outcome of any complaints received that have also been completed in the reporting period. It will grow over time as more data is added.
There is some important context to bear in mind when looking at the data.
First and foremost, the data is about OIA complaints received and completed by the Ombudsman during the reporting period, not OIA requests received and completed by Ministers and agencies. Complaints data on its own cannot paint a complete picture of compliance with the law. The number of complaints may in fact be quite small in comparison to the number of requests an agency has dealt with.
The collection and publication of data about OIA requests is one of the projects SSC is working on in consultation with this Office (for more information about this work click here). Some context is provided by SSC's data about the number of OIA requests received by departments and statutory Crown entities, and the timeliness of responses to requests.
Readers should also note that not all complaints received by the Ombudsman are notified to the Minister or agency. The data may include complaints of which an agency or Minister therefore has no prior knowledge.
The fact that a complaint has been received on its own does not mean that a Minister or agency has acted improperly. It is important to pay attention to the outcome of the complaint. Some complaints will not be investigated by the Ombudsman because they are outside jurisdiction, and some complaints that are investigated may not be upheld.
Finally, readers should note that complaints against Ministers are recorded against the portfolio (eg, Minister of Immigration) not the individual holding that portfolio. If there has been a change in ministerial portfolios, complaints in the relevant period may be against the former or current Minister.
OIA complaints received 1 July - 31 December 2016
OIA complaints completed 1 July - 31 December 2016
CSV - OIA complaints received with outcomes 1 July - 31 December 2016
Back to top ↑