Just under a month ago, on 9 September I put in a LGOIMA (Local Government Official Information & Meetings Act) request for information re Councillor and Local Board member salaries and allowances. The information required was fairly basic.
Section 13 of LGOIMA requires that a local authority shall respond “as soon as reasonably practicable, and in no case later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received by that local authority.”
Here is the unsigned receipt for my request received on 12 September.
Dear Mr Osborne
Thank you for your request for information about elected members’ salaries and allowances for the 2015/16 financial year.
I have attached an information sheet on our processes and requirements under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
We will respond to your request within 20 working days of receipt of your request.
If you have further questions please feel free to contact the Privacy and Official Information Team on email@example.com or 09 301 0101, quoting reference 8140000434.
Privacy & LGOIMA Team
On 16 September I rang to find out what stage my request had reached. I spoke to Manoj Ragupathy, Manager Privacy and Official Information, and upon asking him who was in charge of my request, was told “We have 20 working days to respond.” Upon asking him what progress had been made so far I was told “We are working on it.” I was then told to put any questions I had in writing.
On 19 September I emailed the following 2 questions:
1. Who is processing my request?
2. What stage has it reached?
On 21 September I was advised Philip Jones, Call Centre Manager, had instructed Call Centre staff not to put forward any of my calls to the Call Centre.
On 22 September, having received no response I complained to Stephen Town, Chief Executive. Rather than address the complaint he made a number of allegations against me.
On 23 September I wrote to him calling for substantiation or retraction.
On 27 September Dayle Muru, Auckland Council, rang me to say any correspondence with Council was to go through her. I said Mr Town had made the allegations. I expected him to respond to my letter to him. I have since instructed my lawyer to write to him directly.
At this stage I have still not received a reply to my email of 19 September and tomorrow will be the 20th working day.
Ironically I have already obtained much of the information I sought without the help of Council. It is available on Council’s own website.
However this only covers 6 months of the period I sought.
Perhaps LGOIMA staff could be trained in use of Council’s website as a starting base for information sought.