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  • Decision to implement locked cell policy

    Case notes
    Complaint about the negative effects of implementing a locked cell policy in the Kaaka North and South pods at Northland Region Corrections Facility – Chief Ombudsman found that the implementation was unreasonable – the significant consequences (lack of
  • Request for information about death in custody

    Case notes
    Request for all correspondence about death in custody—unreasonable to rely on sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) without compiling and reviewing the information—subsequent reliance on section 18(f) (substantial collation or research) also unjustified—
  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Whanganui Prison - 4 September 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The following report has been prepared in my capacity as a National Preventive Mechanism under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). My function under the COTA is to examine and make any recommendations that I consider appropriate to improve the treatment and conditions of detained persons in a number of places of detention, including prisons. This report examines the treatment and conditions of persons detained in Whanganui Prison.
  • Request for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying

    Opinions
    Sam Sherwood, on behalf of Stuff, made a request to Selwyn District Council for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying.
  • Request for draft report prepared by PwC on Auckland Stadium

    Case notes
    Report refused because it was in draft form and commercially sensitive—parts of report withholdable however no basis for blanket withholding—strong public interest in release of report in part
  • Report on an unannounced follow-up inspection of Christchurch Women's Prison - 4 April 2018

    OPCAT reports
    In 2007, the Ombudsmen were designated one of the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Crimes of Torture Act (COTA), with responsibility for examining and monitoring the general conditions and treatment of detainees in New Zealand prisons.
  • Request for draft guidelines on religious instruction and observance in schools

    Case notes
    Officials still in the process of drafting—premature disclosure in advance of the planned public consultation process was not in the overall public interest
  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Arohata Upper Prison - 21 March 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The Upper Prison was facing considerable challenges. Resources, infrastructure and staffing were under pressure, which was compounded by the geographical separation from the administrative centre at Tawa. Day-to-day operating systems and arrangements for dealing with women were not fully embedded. Reception and induction processes were poor, and information for foreign prisoners was not available. Significant delays in access to personal property were a source of frustration for many women, reflected in the growing number of complaints and misconducts.
  • Request for draft reports prepared by EY on Information Services

    Case notes
    Draft reports were in fact final reports—some information publicly available—negotiations had been concluded—neither s 7(2)(c)(ii) nor s 7(2)(i) apply—significant public interest in release to promote transparency of Council’s decision making processes and accountability for expenditure of ratepayer money
  • Request for Skypath business case and procurement plan

    Case notes
    Releasing business case and procurement plan would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the private partner in a public private partnership—withholding strengths and weaknesses of negotiating position necessary to enable Council to carry on negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage—ss 7(2)(b)(ii), 7(2)(c)(i), 7(2)(i) apply
  • Request for draft internal review of International Visitor Survey

    Case notes
    Internal review still in draft form—redacted comments comprised preliminary views of individual within agency—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—no overriding public interest in disclosure
  • Department of Corrections staff to follow legislative requirements when segregating inmate

    Case notes
    Department of Corrections held prisoner in Management Unit without following required procedure—segregation legislation and regulations are clear and prescriptive
  • Request for policy advice behind merger of Archives and National Library

    Case notes
    Release of formal advice to Ministers about abandoned options after decisions had been made would not inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) does not apply
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at Christchurch Women’s Prison and the issuing of strip gowns to prisoners at risk of self harm

    Systemic investigations
    In July 2009, in accordance with the Protocol made pursuant to section 160 of the Corrections Act, I received notification from the Department of Corrections of an incident of prisoner self-harm that had occurred in the At-Risk Unit (ARU) of Christchurch Women’s Prison (CHWO).
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at New Plymouth Prison and the Department’s disposable safety razor policy

    Systemic investigations
    On 11 May 2009, the Department of Corrections instituted a new national policy on razor blades for prisoners. The purpose of the policy was to reduce the number of incidents involving razor blades. It applied to those prisoners accommodated in High Security, Remand and Youth Units. These prisoners would no longer be allowed to stockpile or keep issue razor blades. The aim of the policy was interpreted as intending to limit the opportunity for self-harm by misuse of razor blades.
  • Department of Corrections made errors in documentation but parole hearing set correctly

    Case notes
    Whether Department of Corrections staff failed complainant with respect to a Parole Board hearing—Ombudsman found errors in documentation but complainant not disadvantaged
  • Department of Corrections unreasonable to place prisoner with mental illness in mainstream unit

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Corrections was unreasonable to place prisoner in mainstream unit given specific medical condition of mental illness—Ombudsman upheld complaint
  • Request for audit information regarding JobPlus scheme

    Case notes
    Draft audit report was identical to final audit report—no good reason to withhold the final audit report so no good reason to withhold the draft—good reason to withhold auditor’s informal and early working papers under s 9(2)(g)(i)—disclosure of the working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it
  • Request for Minister/Chief Executive discussions

    Case notes
    Disclosure of full record of recollection of discussion between Minister and Chief Executive would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions—summary of recollection released
  • Request for all information about an audit

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied to staff interview records—implied obligation of confidence—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of information to auditors—it is in the public interest for staff members to cooperate with audits—s 9(2)(
  • Request for auditor’s working papers

    Case notes
    Disclosure of auditor’s scoping discussions and working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it—good reason to withhold under s 9(2)(g)(i)
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the transport of prisoners

    Systemic investigations
    Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, it is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate complaints relating to matters of administration affecting persons in their personal capacity against various bodies, including the Department of Corrections (the Department). Pursuant to this Act, the Ombudsmen have power to investigate complaints by prisoners about all aspects of their detention by the Department. On 25 August 2006, prisoner Liam Ashley died as a result of injuries sustained while being transported in a van with other prisoners. Liam was aged 17, and had been the subject of violence by a 25 year old prisoner who was subsequently convicted of Liam’s murder. The Corrections Act 2004 aims to ensure that “custodial sentences and related orders … are administered in a safe, secure, humane, and effective manner”. It is a fundamental responsibility of the Department to achieve this.
  • Request for advice and ‘think piece’ on reprioritisation or savings in Vote Education

    Case notes
    Disclosure of internal discussion documents and advice to Ministers would prejudice ongoing decision making process—disclosure of internal ‘think piece’ would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—ss 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i) provide good reason to withhold
  • Request for draft briefings to the incoming government

    Case notes
    Disclosure of draft briefings to the incoming government would make officials reluctant to be so free and frank in expressing their initial and untested views and cause them to prefer less efficient and transparent verbal exchanges—section 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ consulted during preparation of Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill

    Case notes
    Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ who were part of the consultative process in preparing the Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill—request refused under s 9(2)(g)(i) —individuals consulted—in respect of those who advised that disclosure would inhibit them from giving free and frank advice to the Government in future, section 9(2)(g)(i) applied—need to withhold outweighed by countervailing public interest
  • Prison unnecessarily holds inmates in secure unit

    Case notes
    Placement of minimum secure inmates in maximum security conditions