OIA response time statistics clarifications

Mark Hanna made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

The request was successful.

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

Thank you for your response last week to my request about OIA response time statistics (OIA 1120404). I have some questions about the data that’s been released which I hope you’ll be able to clarify for me.

1. In the “How long was the extension?” column, extension lengths such as “15 days”, “2 weeks”, and “1 month” are recorded. Am I correct in interpreting these extensions as follows?

- Extensions recorded as days refer to a number of working days
- Extensions recorded in weeks are until the same day of the week a number of weeks in the future, e.g. 2 weeks from Friday the 1st of June to Friday the 15th of June
- Extensions recorded in months are until the same day of a subsequent month, e.g. 2 months from the 20th of January to the 20th of March

2. I’ve noticed some dates that appear to be incorrect. In some cases, e.g. for the date of the extension notice in cell 2E, this seems to just be that the incorrect year has been recorded. However, in other cases, such as in the response date in cell 130B, which notes that the request received on 13 Sep 17 was completed several months earlier on 7 Mar 17, I’m not certain what the correct dates should be.

As far as I’ve found, here are the rows which have inconsistent dates:

Extended after complete:
2, 3, 67, 131, 146, 160, 253

Received after complete:
130, 131, 169, 228, 260

There are also a number of requests marked as having been extended which have no extension duration recorded. I’m not sure if they have been incorrectly marked as extended, or if the extension duration was missed. These are the rows affected:
162, 181, 192, 285, 286, 308

I’m also unclear how to interpret row 229. The cell for the date it was answered contains “Clarified 21 Nov 17, extended 21 Dec 17”, but the rest of the row doesn’t contain a duration for that extension and doesn’t state the date the request was answered.

Could you please let me know what the correct entries for each of these rows should be?

3. I appreciate your note that the criteria I’ve asked for are different to those specified by the State Services Commission, so I shouldn’t expect the numbers to line up exactly. However, I’ve noticed a significant discrepancy that I’m not sure is explained by this difference.

In the same period, the SSC reports that 98.6% of OIA requests completed by the Ministry of Education were completed within the legislated timeframe. However, looking at the slightly different data provided to me for the same Q3-4 2017 period, only 70.5% of OIA requests received by the Ministry of Education appear to have been completed within the legislated timeframe.

Even when I excluded all requests that weren’t completed before 2018, and all requests that have obviously erroneous data, I still found 51 requests that do not seem to have been completed within the legislated timeframe. These requests would be a subset of the 285 requests reported by the SSC as having been completed by the Ministry of Education in this period. However, the SSC’s data reported that only 4 of those requests were not completed within the legislated timeframe.

I have manually reviewed over a dozen of these requests to ensure that the discrepancy is not due to any issue with the code I have written for analysing this data, and my findings have been consistent with the output of my code. Though some extent of this may be due to further errors in data entry, the difference is significant enough that I would be very surprised if that was entirely its cause.

Does the Ministry have any idea why the data it has released is so inconsistent with the statistics reported by the SSC in this way?

Finally, I’d like to reiterate my request that you please provide all information in an accessible, searchable format. The response letter sent on 2018-06-01 was an image-based PDF, which is an inaccessible format that does not work with screen readers and does not allow for text to be searched or copied.

In recent months I have emailed the Minister for Disability Issues about the issue of inaccessible OIA responses, and she responded with the message that “Providing OIA responses in accessible format should be standard practice as part of an open and transparent government”.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

Here's a link to the original request I am following up here: https://fyi.org.nz/request/7626-oia-resp...

Link to this

From: Enquiries National

Thank you for your email to the Ministry of Education.
This is an auto generated response confirming your email has been received. Please do not respond to this message.
We will respond to your email as soon as possible.
Ngā mihi, nā
Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education
Mātauranga House
33 Bowen St, Wellington

education.govt.nz<http://www.education.govt.nz/> | Follow us on Twitter: @EducationGovtNZ<https://twitter.com/mineducationnz>

We get the job done Ka oti i a mātou ngā mahi
We are respectful, we listen, we learn He rōpū manaaki, he rōpū whakarongo, he rōpū ako mātou
We back ourselves and others to win Ka manawanui ki a mātou, me ētahi ake kia wikitoria
We work together for maximum impact Ka mahi ngātahi mō te tukinga nui tonu

Great results are our bottom line Ko ngā huanga tino pai ā mātou whāinga mutunga

http://www.education.govt.nz/

Link to this

From: Enquiries National

Dear Mark Hanna

Thank you for your request for information below as a follow up to your OIA regarding OIA response times - 1120404.

The Ministry will consider and respond to your request in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act).

The Act allows up to 20 working days for a response, making 6 July 2018 the latest date for our response to you. If more than 20 working days are needed due to the potential workload involved in answering your request, we will notify you accordingly.

Please note, the Ministry may publicly release on our website the response to your request five days after you have received it. Any personal information will be removed.

In the interim, if you have any questions about your request, please email [email address].

Thanks

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education | TW
33 Bowen St, Wellington

education.govt.nz | Follow us on Twitter: @EducationGovtNZ

We get the job done Ka oti i a mātou ngā mahi
We are respectful, we listen, we learn He rōpū manaaki, he rōpū whakarongo, he rōpū ako mātou
We back ourselves and others to win Ka manawanui ki a mātou, me ētahi ake kia wikitoria
We work together for maximum impact Ka mahi ngātahi mō te tukinga nui tonu

Great results are our bottom line Ko ngā huanga tino pai ā mātou whāinga mutunga

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

A response to my OIA request of the 7th of June (ref 1120404) was due no later than the 5th of July (not the 6th of July, as stated in the response I received on the 11th of June). However, it is now the 10th of July and I have not yet received any response.

Please send the response immediately. If a response has not yet been prepared, I should have received a notification no later than the 5th of July telling me how much more time is necessary and why 20 working days was not enough time.

I intend to lay a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman regarding this delayed deemed refusal.

Nāku, na,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

I have lodged the following complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman:

==========

Tēnā koe,

I would like to lodge a formal complaint regarding an overdue response to a request for official information.

The Ministry of Education received a request for official information from me on 2018-06-07. The final day of the 20 working days allowable by the Official Information Act was 2018-07-05, however this date has now passed and I have not yet received a response.

Here is a brief timeline of all correspondence regarding this request to date:

2018-06-07 - The Ministry of Education received my request
2018-06-07 - I received an automated acknowledgement of receipt of my request from the Ministry of Education
2018-06-11 - I received a further acknowledgement of my request from the Ministry of Education
2018-07-10 - I informed the Ministry of Education that the due date had passed, and asked that they respond to my request

There has been no further correspondence to date.

I have attached a zip file containing all correspondence I have had with the Ministry of Education regarding this request.

I also found it somewhat alarming that the Ministry of Education seems to have incorrectly determined the due date for this request. In their response on 2018-06-11, they stated that 2018-07-06 was the latest date on which the OIA would allow a response. However, this is incorrect, and the correct date is 2018-07-05.

I hope that this error was just a typo, and doesn’t indicate that the Ministry of Education’s internal systems do not reliably calculate the correct due dates for OIA requests. This possibility is particularly concerning given the context of my request, which is that information on OIA processing released by the Ministry of Education seems to indicate that they have been underreporting the number of late OIA requests to the State Services Commission.

This request is a follow-up to an earlier request of mine that was completed on 2018-06-01. Correspondence on that request can be viewed on the FYI website at this URL: https://fyi.org.nz/request/7626-oia-resp...

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if any part of my complaint is unclear, or if you require any more information from me.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

A response to this request has now been sent to the FYI email for my prior request, so it appears there instead: https://fyi.org.nz/request/7626-oia-resp...

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Ministry of Education only: