An Ombudsman will not be content to accept superficial assertions, or the use of a blanket provision such as “free and frank discussion”, to justify non-release of information. It is good practice for Ministers and departmental chief executives to agree on how consultation arrangements on Official Information Act requests will be handled generally. This will let you input a date (like "2017/09/03"), and be told when a response would be due for an OIA request received on that date (like "2017/09/29"). Section 16(2) of the OIA requires that, with certain exceptions: In most cases, you should expect to have received an acknowledgement email saying that your request will be processed under the OIA. For example, by month or financial year. Obviously, if you're not a New Zealand citizen, you should adjust this sentence accordingly. Any agency that has an email address can receive a request via FYI, and agencies that have a Twitter account or Facebook page can receive requests in that way. The procedures for reviews are set out in Part 5 of the Official Information Act. For example. But you don't need to read the OIA before you can use the OIA. 8.50 A department may consult its Minister about any request for official information it receives. You can find the original request on FYI:Strip searches in New Zealand prisons If an Ombudsman considers that the original request should have been met, or that an unreasonable decision was taken, the Ombudsman will recommend to the Minister or department concerned the action to be taken. None of these requests asked for enough information for the Department of Corrections to require a charge, and agencies cannot combine requests by different people for the purpose of refusing it for being too much work or charging money for it. Local government bodies are covered by the LGOIMA rather than the OIA. Agencies will typically release information in PDF form. Generally, the two laws work the same, so this guide should still be useful to you. Personally, I don't include this in my requests. Search for jobs related to Official information act guidelines or hire on the world's largest freelancing marketplace with 18m+ jobs. You should attach a zip file containing all the correspondence you've had with the agency about your request. If it's already publicly available, the agency should tell you Some months later, separate requests were made, each by a different person, for these reports on a per-year basis. Each case of this kind needs to be handled carefully at a senior level within the department, with reference to the Minister if necessary. Also as a matter of good practice, rather than a legal requirement, agencies should consider letting the requester know when the information has been published, and where they can access it. However, not every agency will know this. Released under the Official Information Act 1982 The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It's possible that it's already available online, in which case you could have saved yourself a month of waiting. If you do choose to assert your eligibility, I would recommend doing so as a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, rather than by saying that you are in New Zealand. Official Information and Public Records, Providing information to select committees, Production or discovery of official documents in legal proceedings, Disclosure and use of official information by former Ministers, Convention on access to Cabinet records of a previous administration, Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group, Chief Science Advisor to the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, COVID-19 All-of-Government Response Group, Working for the National Assessments Bureau, National Intelligence and Risk Coordination, Strategy, Governance and Engagement Group, Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016, Ministerial Review: Better Responses to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies in New Zealand, New Zealand Royal Honours nomination guidelines, Nomination Form and Guide to making Nominations, The New Zealand Antarctic Medal: Nomination Guidelines, Current Members of the Order of New Zealand, Knights and Dames of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Knights and Dames of the Orders of Chivalry, Order of wear: orders, decorations and medals in New Zealand, Overview of the New Zealand Royal Honours system, Components of the New Zealand Royal Honours system, The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration, Rules relating to the acceptance and wearing of Foreign Honours, Greater Christchurch recovery and regeneration, The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016, Global Settlement Agreement with Christchurch City Council, Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan, Commercial film or video production facilities in Christchurch – Section 71 Proposal, Residential Unit Overlay District Plan Changes, Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project, Inter-agency Working Groups and Specialist Groups, National Security and Intelligence Priorities, Bringing the agencies further into the public service, Activities allowed under intelligence warrants, Strengthening oversight of NZSIS and GCSB, Whistleblowing and protecting classified information, Child poverty reduction and wellbeing legislation, Child Poverty measures, targets and indicators, Formal gazetting of targets for reducing child poverty, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Learning and Legacy Programme, was produced with substantial or critical input from that other department; or. Here is an example of wording you could use, from a complaint I have laid: The Department of Corrections received a request for official information from me on 2017‑08‑22. While the agency is not required to respond in accordance with the requirements of the OIA, it should still deal with the request for information in an administratively reasonable manner. 8.44 See paragraphs 4.69 – 4.72 for guidance on the release of legal advice, which is often endorsed “legally privileged”. If you feel you might need to read the legislation first, it can feel pretty daunting. The nature of the contraband items found. It was extended by a further 20 working days on 2017‑09‑19. that should be kept in mind when analysing this information. Where independent contractors or consultants carry out work on behalf of a Minister or department, such information is also deemed to be official information held by the relevant Minister or department. Here is an example of wording you could use, from a complaint I have laid: Even if a person is not eligible to make a request for official information under the OIA (for example a person who is overseas and not a New Zealand citizen or resident), they can still ask an agency for the information they are seeking. As there may be no guarantee when this will be, requesters may prefer to use officially designated channels for ministerial communication (see. If it takes a week before you make your request again in the way they asked, that wouldn't change the deadline they have to abide by. However, a high security classification or endorsement may provide a useful “flag”, indicating that there may be good reason for withholding the document (or part of it) under the Official Information Act. Being able to make requests in any way means you can make them via email, phone, and You should be able to find an appropriate email address on the agency's website. 8.46 When considering a request, Ministers (either directly or through their office staff) should consult other Ministers who have an interest in the subject matter of the request. I commonly ask that tabular data be released in "a machine-readable spreadsheet format, such as CSV or XLSX". You can ask for: access to any specified official information; reasons for decisions made about you; internal policies, principles, rules or guidelines; and meeting agendas and minutes of public bodies, including those not open to the public. If you've had more correspondence with the agency that what's outlined in this template, make sure you adjust your complaint to reflect that. Numbering each piece of information you are requesting like this makes it easier to quickly refer to specific parts of your request. I swapped the order of a few paragraphs and made some minor changes to the wording to better match the template given here, and fixed a typo. However, you could ask for documents or internal communications about the issue that interests you. Here is an extract from the general guidance they sent me on the matter: If the information is not held in a way that would make the breakdown I have asked for possible, I would be happy to be consulted with on how I could refine my request. The reasons for withholding information under section 9 can be overridden if there is sufficient public interest in the information being released. When you get a response like this, especially if they've specified the section of the OIA the information was withheld under without much explanation of what that means, it's best to check the relevant section of the OIA yourself. That's not to say you can't ask for this information — you can — but it's covered under the Privacy Act instead. These are the official guidelines for the Plain Writing Act of 2010.We developed these guidelines to help you and your agency write clearly, so your users can: social media account operated by their political party. There's probably a note directly relevant to the section that's been cited in your case, and the guidance notes can help you understand if the decision was fully justified. The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act) 1 provides a right of access to documents of an agency and Minister. This guidance explains the process in more detail.You may also like to check out the links below, as the information you need may already be publicly available: 1. Some agencies, like Statistics New Zealand, are typically really good at responding quickly. This is unlawful. for the time it would take to retrieve the information. As a New Zealand citizen, I am eligible to make requests under the OIA. and If you want to know specifically what does and doesn't count as "official information", section 2 of the OIA goes into all the legal detail. can be clicked on to see more information, and underlined text links to relevant parts of the law, example requests, and guidance notes. This public duty applies unless the Minister, having obtained the agreement of Cabinet, advises the Governor-General to make an Order in Council directing otherwise (see sections 32(2) and 32(3)(a) of the Official Information Act). I commonly ask that tabular data be released in "a machine-readable spreadsheet format, such as CSV or XLSX". If the person still has any concerns about the response that they receive, then they can complain to the Ombudsman under the [OIA]. Click on the green text to make this info box stick around. Often, they will ask for your address to prove you are in New Zealand. 8.21 The purposes of the Act, as set out in section 4, include the promotion of good government and the enhancement of respect for the law by increasing the availability of official information progressively, in order to enable more effective public participation in the making and administration of laws and policies, and promote the accountability of Ministers and officials. Agencies will typically release information in PDF form. One useful way to challenge these decisions is if you believe the agency hasn't adequately considered the public interest aspect of releasing the information. You can also ask for personal information about yourself. [BACKGROUND TO REQUEST] social media account operated by their political party, This is because saying you are in New Zealand may effectively prompt some agencies to ask for your address as proof of your eligibility. If your request goes to an email or Cabinet material is therefore covered by the Act in the usual way, and every request for Cabinet material must be considered on its merits against the criteria in the Act. If they don't provide the information in the format you requested. It's perhaps easier to give a summary of what you can't ask for: This gets interpreted as a request to create information, which isn't covered under the OIA. Section 12(1AA)(a) of the OIA very explicitly states that requests: Depending on how these files have been created, them may not be able to be searched for text without additional software that can read text out of images. This means that any request for information received by a government agency is an OIA request. "from July 2015 until the most recent month for which data is available". They should also consider releasing the information to you immediately if it would be easy for them to do, in addition to making it public. For example, information can be withheld if it's necessary to protect someone's privacy, or a trade secret. If they don't provide the information in the format you requested, section 16(3) says they have to tell you why they didn't. Unless you are asking for information specific to the minister, such as advice they have received, your request should be directed to the agency. Further guidance can also be found on its website. Highlighted textClick on the green text to make this info box stick around. So if you are addressing a single person, such as a minister, "Tēnā koe" should be used instead. Information held by the Attorney-General in this capacity is not, therefore, official information in terms of the Act. But when I followed up by inquiring with the Office of the Ombudsman they agreed with what I had been told. If the request was extended past the standard 20 working days, make sure you adjust this section of your complaint to mention this. The Executive, Legislation, and the House, 8. On 18 March 2002 the Government approved the following revised guidelines for charging for official information. Notifying requestors and providing a link to the information when it becomes known that release of the information is imminent. For example, in early 2017 I sent an OIA request via Twitter to the account @pmbillenglish, which was operated by the Prime Minister at the time, Bill English. For example, this request asked for all those reports produced in 2009. You can still ask them for information, but they aren't bound by the rules of the OIA. The worst case scenario is that they say no. This is because saying you are in New Zealand may effectively prompt some agencies to ask for your address as proof of your eligibility. "Wherever possible, agencies should keep the public informed about their arrangements for dealing with official information requests via their social media channels and websites. Regardless, you should inform them that section 12(1AA)(a) of the OIA says requests may be made in any form and communicated by any means. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. 8.40 There is no requirement to consult the Cabinet Office on the release of Cabinet material, except in the case of Cabinet material of a previous opposition administration (see paragraphs 8.133 – 8.134). From the day the agency receives your request, they have In such a case, transferring the request to the Minister may be an appropriate way forward, if the requirements of section 14 of the Act can be satisfied. 8.26The Attorney-General when performing law officer functions is not subject to the Official Information Act. social media. When you make a request on FYI, it will tell you when to expect a response. accept ACT writing scores, so you may consider taking the writing section. 8.43A security classification or endorsement does not in itself provide good reason for withholding a government document. 8.57Departments may participate in cross-government forums to develop best practice in responding to Official Information Act requests. It may, however, avoid the need for a later review if an official information request can be discussed, giving the Office of the Ombudsman the chance to talk through the issues and the relative strengths of the likely arguments if a review were to be sought. These guidelines replace those approved by the State Sector Committee in January 1992 (STA (92) M 1/3) and set out in the Department of Justice memorandum of 26 February 1992. 8.64The Prime Minister may certify that the release of information would be likely to prejudice matters such as the security of New Zealand, or the Attorney-General may certify that release would be likely to prejudice such matters as the prevention of offences. 8.61The Ombudsmen have extensive powers to request information for the purposes of the review. where you can find it. For example, if they've withheld the author of a report but it's public knowledge who the report's author is, it was not necessary for them to withhold that information to protect the author's privacy. Ministers of the Crown: Appointment, Role, and Conduct, Conduct, public duty, and personal interests, Interactions with representatives from non-government or commercial organisations, Speaking engagements, endorsements, and non-ministerial activities, Government advertising and publicity guidelines, 3. If your request was made orally, agencies can request that you put it in writing. As well as searching the agency's website, it can be useful to search the requests already made on Particularly if there are some public bodies that are not allowed to require you to make this info box around..., not whether it can be sought from the Ministry of Justice website that systems! N'T necessary for the agency in its Official capacity FYI: requests made contains! Per-Year basis they 've estimated for each chargeable activity increase data privacy for citizens... Ways you can make a recommendation to the 10th of January, you should attach a zip file your! 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official information act guidelines

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