SIA work: social wellbeing, use of data, analysing the impact of social services

Image: Pexels

From May to August 2018, the Social Investment Agency (SIA) ran a consultation on "investing for social wellbeing" and the protection and use of data.

The engagement process included 83 hui and two surveys with responses from a range of groups including service users, service providers and government agencies. 

The SIA has published a final report: Findings of the ‘Your voice, your data, your say’ engagement on social wellbeing and the protection and use of data (2018). The SIA has also published a brief 2-page quick guide to the findings and a summary document, From listening to learning (2018) which explains the feedback process and analysis.

Five themes were identified from the overall analysis:

  • Establish a different kind of relationship across the [social] sector
  • Enable locally-led solutions to deliver services that work
  • Develop funding and contracting models that promote innovative practice
  • Build the skills, experience and capacity of the workforce to implement a wellbeing approach
  • Ensure sharing data, information and insights is a two-way street for all those involved.

The report summarises findings from each main participant group: service users (including disabled people), regional service providers, Māori, Pacific peoples, and government and other national organisations.

Feedback and findings from the consultation will inform the Government's approach to investing in social wellbeing. The SIA timeline indicates that an approach to investing for social wellbeing will be presented to Cabinet in early 2019 and the final approach will be published in mid 2019.

The SIA will also use the findings in developing a Data Protection and Use Policy. This policy will be a "combination of principles, protocols, guidance, and potentially digital tools to enable everyone to easily understand what's appropriate, what's not, and how to do things safely when personal information has a role to play." In 2019, a draft policy will be presented to Cabinet and a public consultation will take place.

Background information

For more information about the consultation and wider government work in this area, see our previous news story Government consultation on use of data and social wellbeing strategy.

The previous National Government had announced a new requirement for social service providers to provide individual client level data to government in order to receive funding. In 2018, new Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced that the Coalition Government would not continue with this plan.

Related news

The SIA is also developing a new approach to analyse the impact of social services on the wellbeing of New Zealanders. They have developed an approach and a model to measure wellbeing, consistent with the model proposed by the Treasury to measure wellbeing within the Living Standards Framework. The approach is explained in the working paper, Are we making a difference in the lives of New Zealanders – how will we know? A wellbeing measurement approach for investing for social wellbeing in New Zealand (2018). SIA is still refining the approach but have applied it to social housing using Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) data. The SIA welcomes feedback on this approach, or interest in working with the SIA to apply the approach to your work: contact info@sia.govt.nz.

Statistics NZ has published a report summarising findings from a cross-government review of how government uses algorithms

Treasury has published the Living Standards Framework Dashboard. The Dashboard is designed to provide indicators of current wellbeing across 12 domains and around future wellbeing framed by natural capital, human capital, social capital and financial and physical capital. See the Treasury media release for more information.

Related research

The article Surveys, social licence and the Integrated Data Infrastructure (Gulliver, Jonas, Fanslow, McIntosh & Waayer, 2018) has recently been published in Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work. The study asked participants for their views on the Integrated Data Infrastructure. The conclusion is summarised as: "While there is the potential for social licence to be granted for the IDI, an on-going, transparent engagement process is required to maintain trust with agencies and researchers. As an over-represented population within government agency data, active, honest engagement is required with Māori, as are safeguards to reduce risks of further stigmatisation and marginalisation."

Related media

How fair is an algorithm? A comment on the algorithm assessment report, Opinion: Emily Keddell, Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand Blog, 07.12.2018

Flipping our algorithmic assumptions, Digitalimpact.org, 19.11.2018

How Government algorithms are judging you, Newsroom, 19.11.2018

Government agencies are using algorithms to help make decisions, Stuff, 25.10.2018