Ombudsman: OIA practices 'not malicious'

  • 02/12/2015
Dame Beverley Wakem
Dame Beverley Wakem

For the most part, there isn't anything malicious or deliberate about the way the Government and government departments handle Official Information Act requests, the chief ombudsman says.

Dame Beverley Wakem fronted up to MPs on Parliament's government administration committee today for the last time before she finishes her stint in the role next week.

Dame Beverley's departure will coincide with the release of her review of OIA practices in the public sector, which began late last year.

Asked by Labour MP Kris Faafoi whether she'd seen any worrying trends with how government departments deal with OIA requests during the course of the review, she said she hadn't.

"Largely there is nothing that is malicious, there is nothing that is deliberate," she told MPs.

"I think it's more about process, practice and policy than it is about anything malevolent."

Delays were often caused by the volume of requests and the processes within each agency for dealing with them.

During her review, Dame Beverley said she found there is "a lot of good going on", but there is also a lot more scope for government departments and the ombudsman's office to do more.

She also said there's nothing wrong with the OIA itself, rather problems arise with the way it's been implemented in many areas.

Dame Beverley was appointed as the chief ombudsman in 2008.

Judge Peter Boshier will be her replacement.