Thursday, July 08, 2010

OIA performance stats: Fail

The Official Information Act requires government agencies to respond to requests

as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received.
Requests can be extended, but the 20 day time limit is the basic benchmark against which performance is measured.

This morning I received the OIA tracking data for the office of Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Climate Change Negotiations, and until recently, Minister of Conservation. Groser's office received 48 OIA requests during the 2009 financial year. Eleven of these were transferred to other Ministers, while 5 were excluded to bad data. Of the remainder, 16 - 50% - were late. The average response time was 31.2 working days, while the median response time was 24.5 working days. These figures were dragged up by a series of requests which were extended for three months, but even excluding those, the average response time is still 22.9 working days and the median 22 working days - both well outside the statutory timeframe.

This can only be viewed as an utter failure by Groser to meet his obligations under the Act, and it is not acceptable from any Minister or department. Mistakes happen, but only obeying the law 50% of time suggest simple contempt.