Driver demerit points and driver suspension history request processing times.

Mark Williams made this Official Information request to New Zealand Transport Agency

Currently waiting for a response from New Zealand Transport Agency, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: Mark Williams

Dear New Zealand Transport Agency,

I am writing to enquire about the processing times and priority afforded to third-party requests for driver demerit points and driver suspension histories.

We have used (and paid) for this service for over 15 years to assure ourselves that applicants for employment who will be driving company vehicles do not have so many driver demerit points that they may be suspended from driving on the verge of being suspended from driving if they commit one further driving offence and consequently unable to perform the job they could be employed for because they have been suspended from driving.

Over the last two years we have observed a very significant decline in the turnaround time from the NZTA of these requests, which we pay for, reaching out currently, to almost two weeks. This is quite unsatisfactory for us and also the applicant for employment as we will not employ them without knowing their demerit points and suspension history.

In recent months we have noticed that replies to request for demerit points and suspension histories now come from staff employed in your Debt Management Office, which seems curious to us as it appears to be outside the scope of their duties as Debt Management Officers.

Please could you explain why a Debt Management Officer is responsible for responding to third-party requests for driver demerit points and driver suspension histories and in terms of priority, where their responding to these requests fits into their working day (i.e. are they instructed to treat driver demerit points and driver suspension history requests with a lower priority to their other duties?).

Would you please be so kind as to also provide the following information:

1. How many requests for demerit points and driver suspension histories has NZTA received in the last 12 months?

2. In the last six months, and the six months before that, what is the average turnaround time (in whole working-days), for completing these requests? Please separate the average turnaround time for the first six months and second six months, for comparison purposes.

3. Is any company, organisation or Government agency given priority with their requests above any other third-party requester? If yes, please identity all organisations and elaborate on why they are given priority and whether they pay for the service, or pay a premium for having their requests treated with priority.

4. What income in the last 12 months has NZTA received for providing the driver demerit points and driver suspension history service?

5. What has been the direct cost to NZTA in providing this service in the last 12 months? Please do not include any other duties staff providing this service might undertake, such as "debt management" or requests from members of the public about the status of their own demerit points.

6. How many NZTA staff are employed in providing this service and how many hours per day, on average, does each employee spend on attending to third-party requests for driver demerit points and driver suspension histories.

7. For the NZTA staff who provide this service, what other duties do they perform and how are they instructed to prioritise third-party requests for demerit points and driver suspension histories, in comparison to their other duties?

8. What is the direct dial telephone number to speak with an NZTA employee specifically responsible for processing third-party requests for demerit points and driver suspension histories in circumstances where a request is long outstanding? Please do not give us the NZTA 0800 number as from repeated experience your call center staff have no idea who to put us through to, or the call is disconnected.

9. What is the direct e-mail address for us to send follow-up requests regarding out-standing third-party requests for demerit points and driver suspension histories? Please do not provide the email address [email address] as in the past we have embedded "read receipt" coding in emails sent to that address and found that emails may not be read for up to two weeks.

10. Because we have embedded "read receipt" requests in our requests in recent months on account of the poor turnaround we have become aware that our requests to the NZTA email address [email address] will sit there for up to two weeks, before being read. Given you are charging for this service, could you please explain why you are not assigning sufficient staff to process these requests in a more timely manner?

The reason for my submitting this OIA is that we believe the NZTA is providing a very poor service to employers requesting driver demerit points and driver suspension histories. NZTA charges $9.65+GST for every driver demerit points and driver suspension history request and mostly takes upwards of two weeks to respond. In contrast, the Ministry of Justice process third-party request for criminal record histories in about 72 hours, and charge less than the NZTA does for an almost two week wait for driver demerit point and driver suspension history request. I would appreciate your comments on this obvious disparity and what you intend to do to improve your current turnaround time.

If you offered a free service I would have no grounds to complain, but the NZTA charges for this service so it not unreasonable to expect you to account for the poor quality of the service now being provided in contrast to previous years. What has changed?

Yours faithfully,
Mark Williams

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From: Official Correspondence
New Zealand Transport Agency


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Dear Mark

 

This email acknowledges your below request for information made under the
Official Information Act 1982.

 

Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate section of Waka Kotahi
NZ Transport Agency for response. They will contact you if they require
clarification of your request, more time to respond, or if your request
has been transferred to another organisation to respond to. Unless more
time is required, Waka Kotahi will send a response to you within 20
working days of receiving your request – in this instance on or before 31
January 2022. As per the Ombudsman’s calendar, the Summer holidays (25
December to 15 January) and the Day after New Year's Day (2 January 2022)
are taken into account in calculating this.

 

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