Section 15A of the OIA says they can do this if it's necessary because the information you've asked for takes a long time to retrieve, or if they need to make consultations before they can respond and they can't do this within the standard time limit. 8.44 See paragraphs 4.69 – 4.72 for guidance on the release of legal advice, which is often endorsed “legally privileged”. Have a question? Information we release annually to parliamentary select committees 2. These guidelines highlight the requirement for officials to provide full and accurate information to the Parliament and the factual and technical background to policies and their administration. It is New Zealand's primary freedom of information law and an important … 8.56It will not always be obvious that other departments and Ministers have had the same request addressed to them; requests that are potentially “common” should be checked with other departments or Ministers. It is the agency's responsibility to make sure your request is handled appropriately regardless of how they received it. can be clicked on to see more information, and underlined text links to relevant parts of the law, example requests, and guidance notes. Information held by the Attorney-General in this capacity is not, therefore, official information in terms of the Act. If the person still has any concerns about the response that they receive, then they can complain to the Ombudsman under the [OIA]. 8.60Where an Ombudsman undertakes a review, the Ministers, departments, and organisations concerned must comply fully with the requirements of the Act. You could also ask the agency to help you to refine your request. 8.34 Under section 14 of the Act, the Minister or organisation that receives a request may be required to transfer it to another Minister, department, organisation, or local authority. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. An OIA request isn't the place for a political rant. There is also an. Such a flag may become less relevant with the passage of time. In fact, Section 16(2) of the OIA requires that, with certain exceptions: If you can specify the information with language used by the agency, it will be easier for them to identify what you are looking for. Having a government authority demand private information can be intimidating. The email addresses for ministers can be found on www.beehive.govt.nz. Almost all information held by a government agency can be requested under the OIA. 8.57Departments may participate in cross-government forums to develop best practice in responding to Official Information Act requests. It should be clear that the department is consulting rather than providing the request for the Minister's information, and sufficient time should be allowed for the Minister's office to raise any concerns about the proposed decision. Click on the green text to make this info box stick around. APS employees may choose to submit information to, or appear as a witness before, a parliamentary committee of inquiry or a royal commission in a private capacity. When requesting data, you should also specify how the data should be broken down. If they don't provide the information in the format you requested. Personally, I don't include this in my requests. Ministers must therefore ensure that staff in their offices are familiar with the legislation and have access to appropriate guidance. If an Ombudsman considers that the original request should have been met, or that an unreasonable decision was taken, the Ombudsman will recommend to the Minister or department concerned the action to be taken. Responsibility for the request, however, remains with the Minister who received the request. The Official Information Act (OIA) is a very important law that gives you and me a lot of power. Designed to increase data privacy for EU citizens, the regulation levies steep fines on organizations that don’t follow the law. The Office of the Ombudsman has also published guidance on charging on its website. [the agency] shall make the information available in the way preferred by the person requesting it However, a high security classification or endorsement may provide a useful “flag”, indicating that there may be good reason for withholding the document (or part of it) under the Official Information Act. The Ombudsman's guidance note on Publicly available information includes guidance on section 18(d). Type: Guidelines Date: April 2017 (updated November 2017 following release of HVDHB Strategy) Issued by: Helene Carbonatto Version: 2 Applicable to: Strategy, Planning & Outcomes Contact person: General Manager: Strategy, Planning & Outcomes Released Under The Official Information Act 8.29Access by individuals to information about themselves is governed by the Privacy Act (see paragraphs 8.66 – 8.77). I commonly ask that tabular data be released in "a machine-readable spreadsheet format, such as CSV or XLSX". It is New Zealand's primary freedom of information law and part of New Zealand's uncodified constitution. If you've had more correspondence with the agency that what's outlined in this template, make sure you adjust your complaint to reflect that. Most commonly, requests will be refused under section 18(f) of the OIA, because it would take too much work to make the information available. Official Information Act: Charging for Services. There's probably one that explains how the section you're wondering about should be applied. The transferee should be consulted before the transfer is made. Unless you are asking for information specific to the minister, such as advice they have received, your request should be directed to the agency. Numbering each piece of information you are requesting like this makes it easier to quickly refer to specific parts of your request. Cabinet material is therefore covered by the Act in the usual way, and every request for Cabinet material must be considered on its merits against the criteria in the Act. Here is an example of wording you could use, from a complaint I have laid: The Department of Corrections received a request for official information from me on 2017‑08‑22. 8.52 On being consulted, the Minister may take the view that information that the department considers should be released, should not be released. The Office of the Ombudsman's guidance note on requests made online contains a section on page 4 on establishing eligibility under the OIA. Unfortunately, this is often used as a tactic by some agencies to delay or block requests. There are fairly specific guidelines for charging for requests, which lay out what activities can and can't be charged for and how much agencies can charge for their time. As a New Zealand citizen, I am eligible to make requests under the OIA. 8.35 The Act provides for extensions of time limits for response or transfer if the request is for a large quantity of information, or if consultation is necessary to make a decision on the request. Taking some time to research this while writing your request can save time in the long run, as it may mean they don't need to ask you for clarification. Transfers must be made promptly and within 10 working days of receiving the request, and the requester must be informed. If you can't find an agency on FYI's list, they might fall under this category. [AGENCY] received a request for official information from me on [DATE]. you don't need to mention the OIA. Looking for advice. If your request was made orally, agencies can request that you put it in writing. Subject: Official Information Act request - Original Content Broadcast Guidelines Dear Television New Zealand Limited, I am interested to know if TVNZ has any guidelines or broadcast clocks detailing (particularly for made in NZ content) how long show segments must be, and the amount of time to be set aside for commercials during broadcast. Please provide this information in a machine-readable spreadsheet format, such as CSV or XLSX. Section 2 of the OIA and LGOIMA each define a working day as any day of the week that isn't a Saturday or Sunday, certain public holidays (including local regional anniversaries for LGOIMA requests), or for a period over the new year. They'll have to tell you how much time they've estimated for each chargeable activity. The EU General Data Protection Regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018, replacing the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. allowable by the Official Information Act was [DATE], however this date has now passed and I have not yet received a response. to respond. If you're not sure which agency to ask, the website FYI.org.nz has a list of agencies you can search through. Section 9 of the OIA lays out various other reasons withholding information, many of which have a focus on expectations of confidentiality. You should be able to find an appropriate email address on the agency's website. For example, if they've withheld the author of a report but it's public knowledge who the report's author is, it was not necessary for them to withhold that information to protect the author's privacy. "from July 2015 until the most recent month for which data is available". Ministers and departments must respond within 20 working days to any such request. Sovereign, Governor-General, and Executive Council, 2. It is good practice for Ministers and departmental chief executives to agree on how consultation arrangements on Official Information Act requests will be handled generally. Each case of this kind needs to be handled carefully at a senior level within the department, with reference to the Minister if necessary. Or they might refuse your request because they don't hold the information you're looking for. The 20 working days deadline for them to reply to your request is set from when they originally received it. 02 Dec 2020. If you are requesting large amounts of information, especially if it's tabular data, make sure you specify that it should be released in a format that will be useful for you. have a different person send each request. Notifying requestors and providing a link to the information when it becomes known that release of the information is imminent. 8.24 Information held by a Minister in his or her capacity as a member of a political party or as a member of Parliament, such as caucus material, is not official information for the purposes of the Act. However, the usual approach has been to remit any charge that would otherwise have been fixed, in recognition of the public interest in MPs having access to official information to assist in the reasonable exercise of their democratic responsibilities. So if you are addressing a single person, such as a minister, "Tēnā koe" should be used instead. Keep in mind that ministers and the agencies they oversee, e.g. For example, in early 2017 I sent an OIA request via Twitter to the account @pmbillenglish, which was operated by the Prime Minister at the time, Bill English. Access to official information about an identifiable person other than the requester, or where the requester is a corporate entity, is governed by the Official Information Act. Complaining to the Ombudsman is a much slower process than making an OIA request, so be prepared for it to take months to be resolved. In the meantime, you may want to think about what related information you might be able to request from the agency, or from a different agency. For example, by month or financial year. If you want to know specifically what does and doesn't count as "official information", section 2 of the OIA goes into all the legal detail. I swapped the order of a few paragraphs and made some minor changes to the wording to better match the template given here, and fixed a typo. You can check this breakdown against the Ombudsman's guidance note on, have a different person send each request. The final day of this extension was 2017‑10‑17, however this has now passed and I have not yet received a response. The Department of Corrections received a request for official information from me on 2017‑08‑22. If you have a request refused under section 18(d), you should remind them of these responsibilities. No matter what form it came in, the agency is obliged to abide by the OIA. In response, Corrections said it would only release this information if it was paid $9,956.00 in advance. 8.53 A department should advise its Minister if it intends to release any information that is particularly sensitive or potentially controversial, in accordance with the “no surprises” principle (see paragraph 3.22). Ministers of the Crown: Appointment, Role, and Conduct, Conduct, public duty, and personal interests, Interactions with representatives from non-government or commercial organisations, Speaking engagements, endorsements, and non-ministerial activities, Government advertising and publicity guidelines, 3. You should attach a zip file to your complaint, containing all the correspondence you've had with the agency about your request. This time limit may be extended by notice to the Ombudsmen. Some months later, separate requests were made, each by a different person, for these reports on a per-year basis. You don't need to provide any information you don't want to, though an agency may refuse to fulfil your request if they can't establish eligibility. DoD Directive 5400.7 defines For Official Use Only information as "unclassified information that may be exempt from mandatory release to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)." You aren't eligible under the OIA, but that doesn't mean you can't ask for information. Requests made in December or early January will not get quick responses. Identifying information holdings. But when I followed up by inquiring with the Office of the Ombudsman they agreed with what I had been told. There is no obligation to form an opinion or create information in order to respond to a request. Releasing the information to requestors as soon as reasonably practicable particularly where no harm or prejudice has been identified in the release of the information; Providing requestors with a specific date (or a date by which) it is expected that the information will be released; and. At the heart of the OIA is its Principle of Availability: The details of the OIA lay out exactly what counts legally as a "good reason" to withhold information, and other specifics like how quickly an agency must respond and how complaints are handled. To be eligible to request official information under the OIA, you must be:4. a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident; a person in New Zealand; or a corporate entity (that is, a company or an incorporated society) which is either incorporated in New Zealand or has a place of business here. The originator must determine whether information being generated is official information (intended for use as an official record) and whether that information is sensitive or security classified.. Requirement 2. However, I was later informed that the account was actually operated by the Office of the Leader of the National Party. In such a case, transferring the request to the Minister may be an appropriate way forward, if the requirements of section 14 of the Act can be satisfied. an accessible, searchable format. The policy is implemented by DoD Regulation 5400.7-R and 5200.1-R. 8.46 When considering a request, Ministers (either directly or through their office staff) should consult other Ministers who have an interest in the subject matter of the request. 8.45 The Act envisages that Ministers or organisations dealing with requests may need to consult other Ministers or organisations before making a final decision on responding to requests for official information. In such cases, an Ombudsman cannot recommend the release of the information, but may recommend that the department or Minister concerned give further consideration to making the information available. The Executive, Legislation, and the House, 8. Individual requesters should also be kept up to date about their requests, particularly if there are any unavoidable delays. may be made in any form and communicated by any means (including orally). 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official information act guidelines

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