29A Requirements of Ombudsman to be complied with within certain period

(1)

Subject to this section, where, during the course of an investigation, under section 28, of any decision of any department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, an Ombudsman, pursuant to any power conferred on that Ombudsman by section 19 of the Ombudsmen Act 1975, requires that department or Minister of the Crown or organisation to furnish or produce to that Ombudsman any information or document or paper or thing which relates to that investigation, that department, Minister of the Crown, or organisation shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, and in no case later than 20 working days after the day on which that requirement is received by that department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, comply with that requirement.

(2)

Where any requirement to which subsection (1) applies is made to any department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, the chief executive of that department or an officer or employee of that department authorised by that chief executive or that Minister of the Crown or that organisation may extend the time limit set out in subsection (1) in respect of that requirement if—

(a)

the requirement relates to, or necessitates a search through, a large quantity of information or a large number of documents or papers or things, and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the department or the Minister of the Crown or the organisation; or

(b)

consultations necessary before the requirement can be complied with are such that the requirement cannot reasonably be complied with within the original time limit; or

(c)

the complexity of the issues raised by the requirement are such that that requirement cannot reasonably be complied with within the original time limit.

(3)

Any extension under subsection (2) shall be for a reasonable period of time having regard to the circumstances.

(4)

The extension shall be effected by giving or posting notice of the extension to the Ombudsman within 20 working days after the day on which the requirement is received.

(5)

The notice effecting the extension shall—

(a)

specify the period of the extension; and

(b)

give the reasons for the extension; and

(c)

contain such other information as is necessary.

(6)

If any department or Minister of the Crown or organisation fails, within the time limit fixed by subsection (1) (or, where that time limit has been extended under subsection (2), within that time limit as so extended) to comply with any requirement to which subsection (1) applies, the Ombudsman may report such failure to the Prime Minister, and may thereafter make such report to the House of Representatives on the matter as the Ombudsman thinks fit.

(7)

Notwithstanding anything in this section, an Ombudsman shall not, in any report made under subsection (6), make any comment that is adverse to any person unless the person has first been given an opportunity to be heard.

Section 29A: inserted, on 1 April 1987, by section 17(1) of the Official Information Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 8).

Section 29A(2): amended, on 1 April 1988, pursuant to section 90(d) of the State Sector Act 1988 (1988 No 20).