Ombudsman plans to speed up OIA process

Ombudsman plans to speed up OIA process

New ranking tables to name and shame government departments about noncompliance with Official Information Act requests are likely by the middle of the year, the Ombudsman's Office says.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has told The Nation he plans to shake up enforcement of the act, which allows New Zealanders to request information from most government departments.

He said league tables to rank departments for their OIA responses were on the cards for July 1.

"We pretty much know who are the good compliers and who are not, and probably it would be good for the public to know that as well," he said.

He declined to reveal which departments were not complying, saying he wanted to give them time to change their practices.

The Ombudsman's Office deals with complaints about OIA requests but issues can often take more than a year to resolve, sometimes making the complaint process of little value to journalists.

Mr Boshier said the department aimed to go from 37 percent of appeals taking longer than a year to 70 percent being done in three months.

"We have a substantial difficulty in our office with delay ... I have requested some assistance from Parliament. For example, I want to get a backlog team in," he said.

"We haven't met objectives which I think are acceptable."

Under his watch the office would be fairly robust about checking whether refusals by ministers to release information "stacked up", he said.