Request for capping data
Release eight weeks after refusal was ‘soon’—s 18(d) applied
On 25 March 2014, the State Services Commission (SSC) received a request for its capping data (data on capping core government administration) as at 31 December 2013. On 31 March 2014, SSC refused the request under section 9(2)(f)(iv) of the OIA, but noted the next release of capping data would be in May 2014, following Cabinet consideration. The requester complained to the Ombudsman. The capping data was released as scheduled on 28 May 2014.
The Chief Ombudsman did not consider that section 9(2)(f)(iv) applied (confidential advice to government). The information was statistical rather than advisory in nature, and was not related to any executive government decision making process. However, he did think it was reasonable for SSC to want to update Cabinet before the data was published. He accepted that section 18(d) would have provided a reason to refuse the request. SSC could be certain that publication would take place, and when it would take place. Release in May 2014, approximately eight weeks after the refusal, was ‘soon’.
This case note is published under the authority of the Ombudsmen Rules 1989. It sets out an Ombudsman’s view on the facts of a particular case. It should not be taken as establishing any legal precedent that would bind an Ombudsman in future.