Complaints to the ombudsman about access to government information have increased in the last 12 months.
The data covered complaints about both the Official Information Act (OIA) And the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) compared the period from 1 January 2021 to the end of June, and from July to December 2020.
Complaints about the Official Information Act increased by 8% and complaints about local government by 30%.
Peter Boucher said the most common complaint was the refusal to provide information.
“There could be a number of reasons why requests for information are rejected and the petitioners were doing the right thing by complaining to the Chief Ombudsman if they were unhappy with the response.
“However, it is in the interest of applicants and agencies to be aware of their responsibilities under both OIA and LGOIMA. The Act supports democratic, open and transparent central and local government. And should not be released.
“My office is happy to provide advice to applicants and agencies.”
Complaints about the refusal to provide information, in whole or in part, accounted for 55% of OIA complaints, compared to 49% of LGOIMA complaints.
During the year 2020-2021, 1389 complaints were received about OIA decisions, an increase of 5% over 2019-2020.
During the same period, LGOIMA received 324 complaints about decisions, down 8% from the previous year.
For OIAs, total or partial denial increased from 6% to 746. Full or partial denial for LGOIMAs fell 2% to 165.