Tasman District Council welcomes the Ombudsman’s report into the Council’s management of its information obligations under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA).
The Ombudsman’s report looked at how the Council deals with requests for official information, produces Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports and administers Council meetings in accordance with the Act.
The Ombudsman’s report states that “Tasman District Council’s positive and open culture is driven by its leadership at both the governance and operational level” and that “Council has good policies and resources to support its LGOIMA practice in respect of official information, LIMs and meeting administration”.
“While the Ombudsman sees no need to make any recommendations to correct our current processes, the report is helpful in identifying a number of suggestions for ways we can improve. We were already putting into practice several of these, said CEO Janine Dowding.
“These suggestions, and the number of improvements we are making independent of the investigation, will go towards improving our information management practices and enabling us to be more transparent and open to our residents.
“We understand the importance of providing access to the information we hold and use to make decisions. However, we need to acknowledge we hold some information that should remain confidential, for example due to commercial sensitivity, to protect the privacy of individuals and for legal reasons. Overall, though we endeavour to be transparent and open in what we do.
“As a Council we have a number of challenges to manage as part of delivering outcomes and services for Tasman residents.
“To do this successfully we need to engage with those living here. Successful engagement benefits from a relationship of trust and openness between a Council and its residents. Therefore, we are pleased we have had a positive report from the Ombudsman and intend to implement a number of improvements to our practices to enable even better engagement and information sharing with our communities.”
The Ombudsman’s report states that the purposes of LGOIMA are to increase the availability of information held by local authorities and to promote the open and public transaction of business at meetings. This ensures people can: effectively participate in the actions and decisions of local authorities; hold local authority members and their officials to account for any decisions; and understand why decisions were made which will enhance respect for the law and promote good local government in New Zealand.