Government consultation on use of data and social wellbeing strategy

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Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced the Government is seeking feedback on its proposed approach to "investing for social wellbeing," and a policy for the protection and use of personal information.

From May to August 2018, the Social Investment Agency (SIA) will be talking with non-government organisations (NGOs), government agencies and people who use social sector services at public hui around the country. 

Specifically, the SIA will be asking about:

"1. The Government's proposed approach to investing for social wellbeing

2. The protection and use of personal information in the social sector"

An initial list of hui is on the SIA website. More hui will be added to the list as they are scheduled.

Feedback from these hui will inform the Government’s approach to "investing in social wellbeing" and a draft policy for the social sector about using and protecting the personal information of people who use social services. The draft policy is expected to be available near the end of 2018 and finalised in 2019.

Ms Sepuloni said:

“We will be working with the social sector to develop a single shared set of rules and tools for the use and protection of personal information in the social sector. This Government firmly believes in consulting people about decisions that impact them. There is more data available than there has ever been before, but there is confusion about when it is appropriate to collect and share that data."

You can find more information on the SIA website.

Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) has welcomed the news and released a briefing paper. The paper, Government Consultation Forums - Investing in Social Wellbeing Data Protection and Use - SPPA Briefing Paper (2018) provides background information. The paper then outlines SSPA's position on each issue and suggests questions for providers to consider.

The Privacy Commissioner also welcomed the news saying it is a "good first step towards regaining the trust of vulnerable communities and the social sectors which work with them." The Privacy Commissioner was critical of the previous Government's approach to data collection as "excessive and inconsistent with the privacy principles" in a report after a 2017 inquiry.

Background information

Ms Sepuloni announced earlier in 2018 that this Government would not continue with the plan to collect individual client level data (ICLD) from NGOs. The previous Government had announced a new requirement for social service NGOs to provide ICLD in order to receive funding. A number of organisations and the Privacy Commissioner had raised serious concerns about the approach. For background information on ICLD and the previous Government's "social investment" strategy, see our previous news stories:

Individual client data, social investment, Whānau Ora & more - new government policy directions

MSD releases documents related to requiring individual client level data

Related news

New Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics framework

The Ministry for Social Development has designed a new Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics framework (PHRaE). Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni said this is "a set of tools that users of information can utilise to ensure privacy, human rights and ethics have been considered from the design and development stage of an initiative." 

Ms Sepuloni said:

"The PHRaE helps those designing services to question whether it is ‘right’ to use information just because there is access to it. Answering these questions can be complex and challenging but it is essential. In many cases information shared with MSD can be deeply personal and sometimes disclosed in situations of particular vulnerability. I want to see a culture at MSD where people are treated with dignity and respect and this has to extend to how we collect and use people’s information."

The Minister said the PHRaE has been developed for use by MSD but over time could be used across government.

New report from the Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission has published a new report. Privacy, Data and Technology: Human Rights Challenges in the Digital Age (2018) provides an overview of domestic and international human rights principles that relate to advances in digital technology. It also talks about safeguards and emerging trends, including the use of "big data" and the social investment approach.

Other news

The Government is currently consulting on the Privacy Bill. Submissions are open until 24 May 2018. The Ministry of Justice has prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement, Additional decisions for the Privacy Bill.

It is Privacy Week in New Zealand, 7-11 May 2018. The Privacy Commission held a Privacy Forum on 9 May 2018.

Earlier in 2018, Treasury published a series of discussion papers to promote and support conversations about wellbeing measures for Aotearoa New Zealand.

In Australia, new Victorian legislation will create a child information sharing scheme that gives multiple agencies access to information to help keep children safe. The Children Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2018 is one of the many outcomes from the Victorian family violence reforms.

Update: Stats NZ is inviting public feedback on the development of well-being indicators called Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand.

Selected media

'Social investment' and Government's data chop-shop to remain under Labour, Stuff, 22.06.2018

Data exchange could move power to communities, Waatea News, 01.06.2018

South Auckland hosts the first data and social wellbeing hui, Beehive Press Release, 31.05.2018

Government to undertake urgent algorithm stocktake, Beehive Press Release, 23.05.2018

New series explores how to foster wellbeing for Kiwis, Press Release: Deloitte, Scoop, 14.05.2018

Social investment will lead to more Māori in youth court, The Spinoff, 12.05.2018

NZ govt tackles the rise of algorithms: Privacy Forum kicks off with discussion about AI, Computerworld NZ, 09.05.2018

Risks to human rights inherent in technological advances, Press Release: Human Rights Commission, Scoop, 09.05.2018

Govt not trusted with NZers' personal data - Minister, Radio NZ, 08.05.2018

Sepuloni rethinks social investment approach, Waatea News, 08.05.2018

Government to revise NGO data sharing policy, Herald, 07.05.2018

Govt calls for public's views on social services, Radio NZ, 07.05.2018

'It was a failure': Government to review NGO data sharing, Newshub, 07.05.2018

Govt sharpens social investment focus on wellbeing, BusinessDesk, Scoop, 07.05.2018

Data working group will do little to help NZers, Press Release: New Zealand National Party, Scoop, 07.05.2018

NZ needs Govt data-mining watchdog, experts say, Herald, 22.04.2018

Privacy Bill to protect and promote privacy risks, Beehive press release, 11.04.2018

The launch of ‘Social Investment- A New Zealand Policy Experiment’, Beehive press release, 22.02.2018

Treasury lifts lid on wellbeing work, Newsroom, 22.02.2018

New Government puts Social Investment approach for vulnerable Kiwis under review, Stuff, 08.11.2017

Controversial data-for-funding plan scrapped, Radio NZ, 07.11.2017