Guidance for Privacy and Official Information (POI) Requests
Please ensure you provide us with your contact details because we may need to ask you questions to help us assess your
1. What information to request
If your request is for all information held by Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children (formerly Child, Youth and Family) please
be aware we may not be able to release this to you quickly. It may be possible for us to release your information quickly if you
require specific information only. It helps us to help you if you can let us know:
Is there a specific time period or event that this request relates to? (e.g.: interview dates, date of notification etc.)
Are any of the parties known by any another name or could have a different date of birth?
Are you looking for information on specific people only?
Are you interested in a specific incident or information (e.g. an allegation of sexual abuse)?
2. Who can ask for information?
You can ask for information about yourself or about a child under the age of 14 years if you are the parent or legal guardian of the
child. If someone else is seeking information about you on your behalf then your consent may be required before this information
can be released.
Consent may need to be obtained from any children of or over the age of 14. Consent will need to be obtained if you require
information for any children or young people not in your care or any adults aged 17 plus. Once we receive the consent we will action
3. What information can be released?
Your request will be assessed under the Official Information Act 1982
and the Privacy Act 1993
. There may be information on file
that you are not legally entitled to receive. If appropriate, we may suggest you contact an alternative agency or transfer/partially
transfer to other agencies. You will be advised of the reasons for any information that is not released.
4. Time to complete your request
The Privacy Act 1993
and Official Information Act 1982
require us to process your application “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
W e will contact you no longer than 20 working days after the day on which the request was made if we need additional time to
respond, for example, if the request is for a large volume of information.
If you are unable to provide correct names or dates of birth from the start we will have to contact you to request this
information, which may cause a delay.
5. How to collect your completed request
You will be advised in writing when your request has been completed and is awaiting collection at your local Oranga Tamariki Site.
You will need to bring some form of Photo ID (e.g. passport, drivers license, HANZ 18+ card) when you come to collect the
completed request and we will ask you to sign a receipt. Requesters currently in prison or a residential medical institution will be
posted their releases direct.
6. Who can help if you have any questions or need further assistance w ith your request?
In the first instance, please contact Privacy and Official Information Services. You can telephone us on (0508) FAMILY or (04) 918
9230. W e can help if you have a complaint or wish to request a review of the information provided to you. Our e- mail and postal
addresses are below. Further information available at: www.orangatamariki.govt.nz
Contact the Office of the Ombudsman for Official Information
Contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Privacy Act
Act or timeliness complaints and enquiries
complaints and enquiries
Phone: (04) 471 225
Phone: 0800 803 909
E-mail: [email address]
E-mail: [email address]
Address: The Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143
Address: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner, PO Box 10-
094, Wellington 6143
POST TO: Privacy and Official Information Services P.O Box 546 W ELLINGTON 6011
EMAIL: [email address] P
HONE: (04) 918 9230
PRIVACY AND OFFICIAL INFORMATION SERVICES
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Privacy and Official Information Services (POI)
What happens after I submit a request for information to the POI team?
Once we receive your request, our Coordinators enter your request details into the
system and send you an Acknowledgement Letter to confirm that we have received your
request and, if necessary, to ask for further documentation (such as consent, court
date proof, or guardianship documents). We will collate and assess your information
and contact you within 20 working days to discuss the release of your information. An
Editor will ensure the information that we release to you meets the requirements of the
Privacy Act 1993. Finally, our Quality Assurance team reviews your request to ensure
the highest standard is maintained. At this point, your request is ready to be released to
When can I expect to receive my information?
Once we receive your request, we begin to assess your request to determine its
complexity, size, and scope. This initial assessment process may take up to 20
working days as we gather and collate information. Once we complete the
assessment process, we will contact you to discuss the release of your information.
Please be aware that it is generally faster to request specific information rather than
to request all information held as this can narrow the search and help us release the
information to you faster.
Why can it take up to 20 working days for my request to be released or an extension
During the assessment process, we gather and collate all information related to
your request. Information dated prior to 1990 often exists in paper files, which
must be delivered to our National Office in Wellington and scanned into the digital
system. We may have to contact you to clarify your request and verify details.
This process helps us determine the size and complexity of your request.
Section 15(1) of the Official Information Act 1982 and Section 40(1) of the
Privacy Act 1993 requires us to “decide whether the request is to be granted” and
provide you with “notice of the decision on the request” within 20 working days.
We will endeavor to release the information requested to you as soon as possible,
though this process can sometimes take longer than 20 working days.
Why does it take time to process and fulfill my request for information?
The files we hold are organised around families, not individuals. This means that
there is often confidential information about other people contained within the files
you have requested. Our Editors read through all files and apply the Privacy Act and
Official Information Act to withhold any information that would breach the privacy of
another person. Other factors that may contribute to the length of time to fulfil
your request include the amount of information relevant to your request, the
number of requests currently on hand with POI, or the inclusion
of paper files in your request (pre-1990 information).
I have a court date! How do I get my information faster?
If you have a court date, we will do our best to get you your information before that
date. In order to mark your request as urgent, we must have official documentation
from the Court that states when you will appear in court. You can email this
information as a PDF to [email address], o
r you may scan and
email the document from a local Oranga Tamariki site (formerly Child, Youth and
Can a Social Worker or MVCOT provide POI with my guardianship papers or court
date documents on my behalf?
Court dates and guardianship assignments can often change. To ensure we have
the most updated information, we ask that you provide us with court date
documents and guardianship papers yourself. Therefore, Oranga Tamariki and
Social Workers are unable to provide these documents to POI on your behalf.
Can POI release my medical records to me?
No, we do not hold medical records for clients. You should contact your local District
Health Board to request your medical records.
Why do I need to provide consent for my children?
Everyone has the right to privacy but we can release information to a child’s
guardians where it is in the child’s best interests. Once a child becomes a Young
Person, at age 14, it is Oranga Tamariki’s policy that a Young Person is mature
enough to decide if they want an adult to have more information about them. If
they do want this then they need to sign a valid consent form (see below). If they
do not provide consent, we will still release all the information that we legally can,
though it may be limited. We cannot process your request until we know whether
you have consent or not.
How do I provide valid consent?
For us to accept a consent form, it must be signed by the person whose
consent is needed and
a witness. Suitable witnesses include an Oranga
Tamariki employee, a lawyer who does not work for you, a Justice of the
Peace, or a Police Officer. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, the
witness may not be a relative, friend, school principal, or clergy member. The
consent form should also include any limits on the information to be released
as specified by the young person. Please contact us if you would like us to
provide you with a consent form.
As a parent/guardian, can I get confidential interviews between my children and Social Workers or Police?
To protect children’s safety, we will not release confidential interviews between
children and a Social Worker or Police Officer. We want children to feel
comfortable in these interviews. In some situations, we may be able to provide
a brief summary of the interview. You may contact New Zealand Police to make
a request for Police information.
How will POI release the information to me?
Once an Editor and Quality Assurance checker have processed your information,
your request is ready to be released. In order to further protect the
confidentiality of the information released, it is our policy to send the release in
a sealed bag to your closest Oranga Tamariki site (formerly Child, Youth and
Family). We will send you an email/letter stating the location of this
Child, Youth and Family site and the instructions for how to collect your release.
If you are not currently residing in New Zealand, the Editor assigned to your
request will speak with you about options for releasing your information.
What will I need to do to collect my information?
You will need to take and present the following items Oranga Tamariki—
Ministry for Children site (formerly Child, Youth and Family site) to collect
your information: the Pick Up letter sent to you from POI and a photo ID. This
process further ensures that the information is only released to the
If you have any questions, you can contact us via direct dial at 04 918
9230, on free phone 0508 FAMILY (326 459), or email