If we do not have the information you have asked for and we think that another agency or Minister may have the information, we will transfer your request to them. We may also transfer your request if we believe the information you have asked for is more closely connected with the functions of another agency or Minister.
We will do this promptly and within 10 working days, although it is possible to extend this timeframe in certain circumstances. We will let you know if we have transferred your request and who we have transferred it to.
If we don’t understand your request we will get in contact to clarify the information you want to receive.
If you would like to change your request, then you can get in contact with us and make a change. If you do change your request we will let you know whether this will impact on the time it will take us to respond.
We will find all the information you have asked for and review it carefully. We may need to consult others (for example, other agencies or people who might be affected by release of the information) in order to make our decision on your request.
We will make the information you request available unless there is a reason why we are unable to do so (for example, the information isn’t held or can’t be found) or there is ‘good reason’ for withholding it.
Reasons for withholding are specified in the legislation (sections 6 and 9). They apply when release would harm a protected interest such as the maintenance of the law, personal privacy, confidentiality, or commercial interests.
Some reasons for withholding are subject to a ‘public interest test’ (section 9). As part of our decision on your request we will consider whether there are public interest considerations that mean we should release the information. We will balance the public interest against the harms that we see from release of the information. If the public interest is greater than the harm we see, then we will release the information.
When we withhold information, we will tell you which part of the OIA applies. You have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman about our decision to withhold information.
We may charge you for the supply of information. These charges must be reasonable, and may reflect some of the cost of labour (including to retrieve and collect the information) and materials in meeting your request.
The Ministry of Justice provides charging guidelines for OIAs.