What is official information?
Official information includes material held in any format, such as:
• written documents, reports, memoranda, letters, notes and emails (n.b. this includes draft documents and hand written notes)
• non-written documentary information, such as material stored on or generated by computers, including databases, video or tape recordings
• information known to an agency but not yet recorded, in writing or otherwise (including knowledge of a particular matter held by an officer, employee or member of an agency in his/her official capacity)
• documents and manuals setting out decision-making policies, principles, rules or guidelines.
Applying the LGOIMA
The council must hold the information for the LGOIMA to apply. It does not matter where it originated or where it is currently located, as long as it is held by the council. For example, a third party may have created the information and sent it to the council, or it may be held in an employee’s memory.
The LGOIMA applies to information already held. Therefore, the council is not obliged to form an opinion or create new information in order to answer a request; however it can create new information if it chooses to.
Information held by elected members, officers and employees in their official, rather than personal, capacities is deemed to be held by the council . However, information held in a personal capacity can become official information if it is used subsequently for official purposes. Auckland Council may contract private individuals, companies or other organisations to carry out work on its behalf. Similarly, information held by these individuals is also deemed to be held by the council if it is held in an official capacity .