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Improving official information practice

The Ombudsman has an ongoing programme of investigations into public sector official information practices.

The investigations look at the leadership, culture, organisational systems, policies and procedures in place at public sector agencies to support good practices when dealing with official information requests. 

The investigation process is governed by the Ombudsmen Act, and largely works the same way as any other Ombudsman investigation.

The Ombudsman works closely with each agency as part of the investigation. They aim to identify areas of good practice and make suggestions for better official information practice.

They use a variety of investigative methods to gather information, including:

  • surveying the agency, staff and public
  • research
  • meetings with agency staff.

They then analyse and prepare a report, which includes suggestions and recommendations for improvement. The agency has a chance to comment before the opinion is finalised. The Ombudsman's reports are tabled in Parliament and published on the Ombudsman's website.

Official information practice investigation reports

Systemic investigation into seven agencies’ compliance, processes and practices

The Chief Ombudsman is conducting a self-initiated investigation to examine the practices and processes used by seven agencies to meet their overarching obligations under the Official Information Act 1982 to:

  • make a decision on requests for information ‘as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received’ (s15(1)); and
  • release information without ‘undue delay’ (s28(5)).

The seven agencies are:

  1. Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand
  2. Pharmac
  3. Kainga Ora | Housing New Zealand
  4. Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)
  5. The Treasury
  6. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)
  7. Transpower

Public servants (current and former, permanent or contractors), and those who have made a request, are encouraged to provide information that may help inform the investigation using an online form.



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