Requests made under the Official Information Act 1982 : a survey at the agency level
The Official Information Act (OIA) has been in force for almost two decades. During these years there has been little research published about how citizens use this legislation, or how agencies have responded to requests made under the Act. The aim of this project is to produce basic research data from a range of agencies to quantify use made of the Act, and to examine what other request information sample agencies hold. The study uses the Act as a survey instrument to produce a high response rate to the questionnaire and to produce qualitative and quantitative data about the request process. The results show that only a minority of surveyed agencies records the number of requests they receive or the category of information requesters e.g., news media and political parties. Compared to the detailed information recorded by the Ombudsmen there appears to be little consistency of request record keeping across sampled agencies. This record keeping gap has implications for our ability to either assess the effectiveness of the OIA against its original purpose, or to review it in the context of government information policy.