Thursday, December 01, 2016

OIA stats are coming

Last year the Chief Ombudsman announced that he was planning to release detailed statistics on OIA complaints in order to identify poorly performing agencies. The statistics were originally planned to be released in July, but they haven't appeared. So what happened?

The answer is in the latest Ombudsman's Quarterly Report. As part of an OGP commitment, the State Services Commissioner has asked the Ombudsman for assistance in ensuring greater transparency and compliance. As a result, the statistics project has been delayed, but we'll still be getting them:

Our plan is to publish the first statistical information by the end of January next year. But beyond that, just what we publish and when may depend very much on how this project with the State Services Commission proceeds.

So we'll get to have a public naming and shaming of non-performing agencies (and hopefully docking of bonuses) next year. But more importantly, this cooperation - if it is real - opens the door to full Canadian-style statistics on OIA requests, refusals and complaints. And that will help a lot to identify problems. You can't manage what you don't measure, and the fact that they haven't bothered measuring this information for over thirty years tells us a lot about how little the government cares about it.