Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2016-2018
Date: March to June 2018
Year end: Commitment 2 - Improving OIA practices
Lead agency: The State Services Commission
To make government information more accessible by adopting a consistent set of agency practices in response to requests for official information.
Ensure information about the OIA (how to make requests, etc) and responses to requests are easy to access on agency websites. This could include development of single OIA web pages for agencies
Publish OIA statistics (how many requests, time taken to respond, etc)
Develop a clear statement of government policy on proactive release of Cabinet papers and related material
Develop a suite of consistent measures about OIA performance
Improve access to official information by publishing responses to requests on government websites and developing principles for more proactive release
Agencies will be supported to deliver through the development of appropriate guidance and training.
End date: June 2018
What have we been doing?
- Developed further practical tips and guidance on proactive release to help agencies publish responses to Official Information Act requests.
- Developed the format and programme for the OIA Forum going forward. The future programme will be coordinated by a reference group drawn from OIA leaders and practitioners from the sector to ensure it continues to meet their needs.
- Published generic training material on the Official Information Act to support staff induction in agencies.
- Published training material on the Official Information Capability Development Toolkit to support use of the toolkit in agencies.
- Published case studies on different OIA structures and operating models that are working successfully to provide some initial guidance for agencies when considering their operating model.
- Supported a number of State sector agencies to improve OIA practices including:
- Participating in a District Health Boards’ one day workshop on proactive release. The workshop focused on proactive release of responses to OIA requests, and on aspects of the OIA and proactive release more generally.
- Participating in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment OIA week. This was a series of OIA related events for MBIE OIA practitioners and included a panel discussion on how the OIA contributes towards an open and transparent government.
How did this commitment contribute to open government?
- In late 2016, a programme of work was established to improve agencies’ compliance with the letter and spirit of the Official Information Act (OIA) and deliver the actions in Commitment 2. Strong, coordinated leadership from the State Services Commissioner and the Chief Ombudsman, supported by Chief Executives, has been critical in driving up system performance in this area.
- System performance has lifted significantly over the past twenty months. While there is still room for improvement in some areas, we are seeing an increase in engagement from agencies across the State service, and a strong focus on doing better across the board.
- Since January 2017, SSC has published OIA statistics for the 110 agencies making up the State services. Chief Executives are using these statistics to drive performance in their agencies.
- Guidance has also been provided to agencies on what OIA requests should be logged, monitored, and reported on – and a range of suggested OIA performance measures for internal and public reporting.
- Key performance statistics include:
- The volume of OIA requests recorded for each of the three periods measured has increased. For the most recent half-year period from July to December 2017, agencies received a total of 21,323 requests, a 5% increase since 1 July 2015.
- Despite the increased workload, agencies have improved the time taken to respond. 95.2% of requests between July and December 2017 were handled within the legislated time limit. This has improved from 87.6% in 2016/17.
- The next area of focus for improvement is on proactively releasing more information, including completed OIA requests, on agency websites where there is likely to be public interest in the information.
- The OIA Forum, which provides a network for OIA leaders and practitioners to share good practice, has seen a steady increase in participation since January 2017, reflecting an increase in the level of engagement on OIA across the State service.
- Proactive release guidance
- OIA Forum
- OIA training
- Capability development toolkit training
- Case studies