The Implications of Government Departmental Organisational Structures on Fulfilment of OIA Obligations
A study was conducted into the implications of government departmental organisational structures on the fulfilment of Official Information Act (OIA) obligations. The aim of the study was to investigate the systems and processes used by New Zealand government organisations in relation to OIA requests; in particular, to identify any changes since 2001 and the rationale for such changes. The study used authority and responsibility mechanisms, as represented by the chain of command and autonomy, to examine the relationship between organisational structures and effective responses to OIA requests. The research was qualitative and used semi-structured interviews with nine people from three New Zealand government organisations to gather data. The study was not linked to individual OIA requests. Data was analysed using coding of concepts to identify seven main themes, which were: systems and processes; information accessibility; attitude to OIA requests; management of government information; levels of decision-making; timeliness of response, and; managing organisational and political risk. The study found that a range of systems and process are used for responding to OIA requests and that the rationale for these fall into two categories; those designed to support staff and managers to process requests, and those designed to manage organisational and political risks. Whilst most systems had been in place for some time, tracking systems were adopted more recently. The study also found there was an increasing use of pro-disclosure of information to reduce the administrative burden of responding to Official Information Act requests.