C.10.01 Request from external parties for information

  1. Information releases resulting from a request from an external party must be pursuant to the law.
  2. For requests by Government Agencies see POM [C 10.03 Information sharing with other government agencies].

C.05.01.01 Receiving request by external parties for information

  1. All requests for information are made under the [Official Information Act 1982] and the [Privacy Act 2020]. Occasionally, other authorising statutes may apply (such as the [Tax Administration Act 1994], the [Social Security Act 1964], The [injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001] (for ACC matters) or the [Fisheries Act 1996]).
  2. Each prison must maintain a record of all requests for access to official information, the decisions on release of the information and the date on which the information is supplied to the requester.
  3. On receipt of a request for information the Department must:
    1. check the request and if it relates to another Department transfer it within 10 working days
    2. respond to the requester within 20 working days advising whether:
      1. the request requires changes before it can be actioned, and inviting them to make the changes, or
      2. the request has been transferred, or
      3. the request is granted or refused (including any deletions required), or
      4. an extension of the 20 day time limited is needed to make a decision.
    3. if necessary, advise the requester of any costs associated with the Department providing the information, including:
      1. that there is no charge for the first 20 pages of photocopying but every subsequent page is 20c per page
      2. the first hour of work is to be at no charge, but subsequent time is charged at $38 per half hour. If extra time is spent locating or retrieving an item because it is not where it ought to be, or if time is spent on deciding whether or not to allow access or in what form, this is not to be charged.

C.10.01.02 Referral to operational support manager

  1. All requests by external parties are to be referred to the operational support manager for approval.
  2. Before any information is provided, the operational support manager must first consider if reasons for refusing a request exist: [C.10.Res.01 Grounds for refusing external parties request for information].
  3. If the request is for personal information, the operational support manager must consider the factors in [C.10.Res.02 Accuracy, use and disclosure of personal information].
  4. If the operational support manager has any concerns relating to the request for official information, they should contact the communications team at National Office for advice.
  5. The decision of the operational support manager is to be communicated to the requester as soon as practicable and no later than 20 working days after the request. The time limit can only be extended if 20 working days is not reasonable in the circumstances, including
    1. the quantity of information is large, or
    2. locating the information involves a large search, or
    3. a decision requires consultation.
  6. An extension can only be granted by the Chief Executive or by someone authorised by the operational support manager, or other authorised delegate. The requester must be given notice of the length of the extension within 20 working days, as well as the reasons for it and the fact that he / she can complain to the Ombudsman (for OIA requests) or the Privacy Commissioner (Privacy Act requests) about the extension.
  7. Generally release is made in the manner requested, and may be by inspection, the provision of copies, arrangements to hear or view a transcript, a summary, or oral information.
  8. When information is withheld in whole or in part, the Department must inform the requester of the reasons for this and, if requested, the grounds in support of those reasons.
  9. The requester must be advised of his / her right to complain to the Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner.

C.05.01.03 Contact by media organisations

  1. All written requests for interviews and information must immediately be forwarded to the communication team at National Office, and a copy forwarded to the operational support manager.
  2. If staff receive a telephone call requesting interviews and / or information, staff must record the following:
    1. the reporter’s name
    2. their contact telephone number
    3. the media organisation they work for, i.e. the name of the newspaper / radio station / TV programme
    4. what the reporter wants, i.e. interview or information
    5. their deadline.
    6. explain that they are not able to answer their request, and it will be forwarded to the communication team at National Office for action.
  3. Once the telephone call has ended, staff must immediately contact the communications team at National Office advising them of the request (and details) on ext. 68365, or (04) 460 3365, or 021 761 828, or commdesk@corrections.govt.nz.
  4. If the requests from the media includes a request to interview a prisoner, the request must be forwarded to the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Services for approval.