Privacy Commissioner surveying NGOs on requirement for individual client level data

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The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is conducting an inquiry into the Government asking NGOs for individual client-level data as a condition of funding.

They have created an online survey and want to hear from NGOs with clients who will be affected.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner says:

"In 2016 the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) began asking NGOs for 'individual client-level data' as a condition of funding. This means NGOs must provide personal client information (name, date of birth, primary ethnicity, iwi, gender, geographic area and dependants’ names and dates of birth) or they will not be funded for that client. Previously NGOs provided information on the services they had delivered, such as the number of clients served, rather than information about individual clients.

The Privacy Commissioner is conducting an inquiry into this matter and we want to hear from NGOs that have clients who will be affected. It would help us if your NGO would complete this short, anonymous survey for us by 15 February 2017. We will use the information to feed into our report."

The short survey is anonymous and can be taken online.

NGOs can also submit their views by email to

The survey link can be forwarded on to other NGOs.

Background information

See these previous NZFVC news stories:

Government continues work on integrated data and "social investment"

ComVoices paper highlights issues with govt requiring individual client level data

MSD to require individual client level data from community agencies

Select media

Rape Crisis will risk funding to keep data private, Radio NZ, 07.03.2017

New government policy a 'lose-lose situation' for Women's Refuge, staff say, The Timaru Herald, 06.03.2017

Privacy matters for everyone – here’s why, Green Party Blog, 05.03.2017

MSD’s client data collection is a breach of privacy, Press Release: New Zealand Association of Counsellors, Scoop, 03.03.2017

Govt on shaky ground over data-for-funding contracts, lawyers say, Radio NZ, 03.03.2017

Privacy Commission investigates data-for-funding proposal, Radio NZ, 02.03.2017