Resources for agencies

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Search our agency-specific guidance materials including template letters and worksheets.

Most used guidance:

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Resources and publications

  • Substantial collation or research: A guide to section 18(f) of the OIA and section 17(f) of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    Section 18(f) of the OIA (section 17(f) of the LGOIMA) is one of a number of mechanisms under the Act for dealing with requests for information that are administratively challenging to meet.
  • Information not held: A guide to sections 18(e) and (g) of the OIA and sections 17(e) and (g) of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    Agencies cannot release official information if they do not hold it; and there is no obligation under the official information legislation for them to have to create it.
  • Frivolous, vexatious and trivial: A guide to section 18(h) of the OIA and section 17(h) of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    Under section 18(h) of the OIA (17(h) of the LGOIMA) a request can be refused if it is frivolous or vexatious, or the information is trivial.
  • Common misconceptions about the OIA and LGOIMA

    Official information
    This part of the Ombudsman's Practice Guidelines deals with some common misconceptions in relation to the official information legislation.
  • An Ombudsman's investigation and review under the OIA or LGOIMA

    Official information
    This part of the Ombudsman's Practice Guidelines describes the role and functions of an Ombudsman under the OIA and LGOIMA.
  • Guidance for agencies whose decisions are under investigation by the Ombudsman

    Official information
    This part of the Ombudsman's Practice Guidelines provides some specific advice for agencies whose decisions are subject to an investigation and review by an Ombudsman under the OIA or LGOIMA. 
  • Ombudsman's approach to 'delay complaints'

    Official information
    This guide explains the Ombudsman’s approach to complaints about delayed responses to official information requests.
  • Changes to the Ombudsmen Act and official information legislation

    Official information
    This is a quick reference guide to changes to the Ombudsmen Act and official information legislation which came into effect on 26 March 2015.
  • Changes to the LGOIMA, including ‘working day’ definition

    Official information
    Changes to the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) which came into effect on 21 March 2019 will affect ‘working day’ calculations for LGOIMA. This guidance explains those changes in more detail.
  • The OIA and school boards of trustees

    Official information
    This guide sets out the key ‘need to know’ information about the obligations of school boards of trustees under the OIA. It also explains the Ombudsman’s role in relation to complaints about OIA requests.
  • Address information for the purposes of civil court proceedings

    Official information
    This guide sets out the Ombudsman’s approach to OIA and LGOIMA requests for address information for the purposes of pursuing civil court proceedings.
  • Chief executive expenses

    Official information
    This guide sets out the Ombudsman’s approach to requests for information about state sector Chief Executives’ expenses.
  • The OIA and parliamentary privilege

    Official information
    A guide on the impact of the Parliamentary Privilege Act and the reasons for withholding parliamentary proceedings.
  • Potentially frivolous or vexatious requests work sheet

    Template letters and worksheets, Worksheets and other resources
    This summary work sheet will help you to decide whether there is a proper basis for refusing a request for official information under section 18(f) of the OIA / 17(f) of the LGOIMA, because the request is frivolous or vexatious.
  • Publicly available information work sheet

    Template letters and worksheets, Worksheets and other resources
    This summary work sheet will help you to decide whether there is a proper basis for refusing a request for official information under section 18(d) of the OIA / 17(d) of the LGOIMA, because the requested information is or will soon be publicly available.
  • Sample estimate of costs

    Template letters and worksheets, Worksheets and other resources
    This sample estimate of costs can be used to help calculate a charge for supplying official information, and be provided to the requester.
  • Effective complaint handling

    Good administration
    This guide sets out key information for agencies about developing and operating an effective complaints process. It also provides information about the Ombudsman’s role and a checklist for agencies to follow.
  • Charging work sheet

    Template letters and worksheets, Worksheets and other resources
    This summary work sheet takes you through the process of deciding whether or not to charge for the supply of official information, and if so, how much.
  • Model protocol on dealing with OIA requests involving Ministers

    Template letters and worksheets, Worksheets and other resources
    This model protocol can be used and adapted by Ministers and agencies to agree on clear and transparent processes for dealing with OIA requests involving the Minister.
  • OIA strategy 2016/2020

    Strategic intentions
    This document lays out our strategy for working with the Official Information Act. 
  • Good decision making

    Good administration
    This guide sets out key information about good decision making by agencies, including the role of a decision maker, who has the power to make a decision, how to make good decisions, how to give a statement of reasons and good record-keeping.
  • Managing unreasonable complainant conduct

    Good administration
    This manual is designed to help agencies and their staff take a systematic and consistent approach to managing their interactions with complainants. It provides a series of suggestions and strategies to assist all staff members – not just frontline staff – to deal with unreasonable complainant conduct.
  • Good complaints handling by school boards of trustees

    Good administration
    This guide sets out the key ‘need to know’ information about good complaints handling by school Boards of Trustees (BOTs). It also explains the Ombudsman’s role in relation to complaints about the administrative conduct of schools.
  • Local authority events funding

    Official information
    This guide sets out principles applying to requests for information about events funding by local authorities, including the reasons for withholding and the public interest in release.
  • Towards Open Government (Danks Report)

    Danks report
    These reports by the Danks Committee on Official Information led to the enactment of the Official Information Act in 1982.