The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 has three key purposes. They are:
1. to progressively increase the availability of official information held by local authorities and promote the open and public transaction of business at meetings. This is to enable more effective public participation in decision-making and promote the accountability of elected members and officials
2. to provide people with proper access to official information relating to them
3. to protect official information and the deliberations of in a way that is consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy .
Any individual or group  may make a request for official information. This can be made to anyone in the council and does not need to refer to the LGOIMA. The LGOIMA contains rules for handling requests and provides a right to complain to the Ombudsman in certain situations.
The principle of availability
Official information should be made available unless one or more of the grounds for withholding (which are listed in LGOIMA) applies . This is the ‘principle of availability’ and should always be kept in mind when considering how best to respond to a request.
The LGOIMA also contains provisions dedicated to the conduct of council meetings. With some exceptions, Part 7 requires that:
- meetings are publicly notified
- agendas, reports and minutes are publicly available
- meetings are open to the public unless there is good reason for excluding them.
- members of the public can ask the Ombudsman to investigate if dissatisfied with the council’s conduct of meetings.