Tuesday, August 02, 2011

OIA performance stats: Some preliminary results

Last year, I ran a small project to compile performance statistics for Ministers' and government departments' handling of Official Information Act requests. I'm doing it again this year. Responses were due last Friday, and I'm halfway through processing the data for Ministers. And there's an obvious difference from last year: Ministerial performance seems to have improved. Where last year the average Minister answered only 70% of requests on time, and some were as low as 40%, with half the data processed the lowest I've found is 73%, and most are in the high 80's and 90's. Ministers such as Kate Wilkinson, Jonathan Coleman, and Pita Sharples have improved their performance anything from 20 - 30%.

The preliminary conclusion: merely watching Ministers improves their compliance with the law. Which is pretty obvious, really, but its nice to have it demonstrated so clearly.

As for the policy implications, I think this makes a clear case for a statutory reporting regime. Ensuring Ministerial compliance with the OIA is too important to leave to random internet volunteers like me. The Ombudsmen or Ministry of Justice should be doing it.