7 September 2020
[FYI request #13581 email]
Thank you for your Official Information Act request to the Department of Conservation,
received on 24 August 2020, in which you ask some specific questions about the team that
handles all the Department of Conservation’s OIAs.
The Government Services team in the Department of Conservation looks after the standards
and processes to support the Minister of Conservation with information, advice and
correspondence. The team also manages DOC’s systems to ensure compliance with the
Privacy Act (1993) and the Official Information Act (1982).
There are 11 staff in the Government Services team, 2.5 of them are responsible for the
handling the Department’s OIAs and the OIA system.
The OIA team is made up of a Principal Advisor, a Senior Advisor and a Government
Services Advisor. Part of the Government Services Advisor’s role is to support OIAs. There
are no contractors in the team, however, from time to time temporary support may be
required when a team member is on extended leave. The team have a combined 30 years’
experience delivering OIA systems and support, and they have graduate and post-graduate
qualifications in Arts, Science and Information Studies.
There are no vehicles supplied to staff. The itemised budget for the OIA team represents the
salaries of the individuals in the team. This information is withheld under section 9(2)(a) of
the OIA to protect the privacy of those individuals. In making my decision, I have considered
the public interest considerations in section 9(1) of the Official Information Act.
OIA requests coming into DOC are either received directly by the Government Services team
from a requester or forwarded to Government Services by DOC staff. They are then
assessed and assigned to a business groups to respond. OIAs are assigned to the part of
the business best able to respond to the OIA. The OIA team support the business by
providing advice and quality assurance of their responses.
The OIA team has no direct contact with the entities you mentioned other than through the
processing of OIA requests. As part of the OIA process, OIAs that relate to the function of
another agency subject to the OIA can be transferred and in the last two years, five transfer
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letters were sent to OSPRI. All OIAs are acknowledged when they are received. There have
been 60 acknowledgement emails sent to Forest and Bird and two to Beef and Lamb NZ in
the last two years.
DOC is required to meet the legislative requirements set by the OIA. The Ombudsman and
the Public Service Commission set the standards by which DOC and other agencies are
expected to operate. Within DOC the Director, Government Services, oversees the OIA
policy and approves the guidance material that is used to assist DOC to meet the required
OIA standards. The Chief Legal Advisor is responsible for the delegations from the Director-
The key documents relevant to DOC’s OIA process are as follows:
• Official information and proactive release policy
• OIA standard operating procedures
• Official Information Act delegations
• OIA guidance & templates – 40 documents outlining the steps to take and the
standard response templates
You are entitled to seek an investigation and review of my decision by writing to an
Ombudsman as provided by section 28(3) of the Official Information Act.
Director Government Services
Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai
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