The government wants to develop a new way of working with communities to support New Zealanders to live the lives they aspire to, and build people’s wellbeing (the investing for social wellbeing approach). The government is also developing a policy to provide clear guidance on how personal information can and can't be used in the social sector (the Data Protection and Use Policy).

Hon Carmel Sepuloni, the Minister for Social Development, wanted to know what you think about these topics, so she asked the Social Investment Agency to talk with people who use, provide or work with social services.

We asked you to tell us what you think about:

  • the Government’s investing for social wellbeing approach (which is about how government works with communities to support people to live the lives they aspire to)
  • the protection and use of information by the social sector.

This report summarises what you told us.

During the engagement process, you talked and we listened

Over 14 weeks, we held 83 hui in 27 locations across New Zealand. We talked to people who use social services, Māori and iwi groups, Pacific peoples, disabled people, service providers, government agencies, district health boards, local government, philanthropists and academics. In total, 1,047 people attended the hui.

During the 14 weeks, we also conducted two surveys – one on investing for social wellbeing and one on the Data Protection and Use Policy. Each survey had questions for service users and questions for service providers, government agencies and others.

We received a total of 801 responses to the surveys. There were 605 responses on investing for social wellbeing and 196 responses on the Data Protection and Use Policy. For both surveys, around a quarter of responses came from service users and three quarters were from others (such as service providers and government agencies).

Through the engagement, we sought to understand what the social sector and the wider public believe is needed to:

  • adopt and implement an investing for social wellbeing approach
  • develop a set of rules and tools to provide a common understanding of how to protect and use information in the social sector.

Investing for social wellbeing

The investing for social wellbeing approach is based on understanding that people lead diverse lives with different needs. By better understanding these needs we can improve the choices that are made to build individual, whānau and community wellbeing. 

The approach focuses on:

  1. Putting people at the centre of what we do
  2. Making better use of a wide range of evidence, including data and analytics, as well as peoples' stories and lived experiences
  3. Engaging and working in strong partnerships and building trust
  4. Providing clear goals and robust measurement.

Data Protection and Use Policy

New Zealanders need confidence that their privacy will be protected, and their safety and wellbeing is maintained when dealing with government and organisations within the social sector.

Currently, there are a wide range of laws, guidelines and codes of practice that inform how and when personal information is collected, used and shared in the social sector. They can be hard to navigate, which can cause confusion about what is and isn’t appropriate with respect to using peoples’ personal information.

We are developing a policy that we see as being a collection of principles, rules, guidance and tools to enable everyone to easily understand what's appropriate, what's not, how to do things safely with personal information, and how to work with data. We are calling this the Data Protection and Use Policy. It’s important to know that this policy will not change legislation.

What Happens Next?

What you told us will inform the Government’s approach to building wellbeing. We will let you know more once the Government has considered its approach.

Your feedback will also inform a draft Data Protection and Use Policy. We are already working with non-government organisations (NGOs) and government agencies to develop options for ‘rules and tools’ to enable improved protection and use of data across the sector. We plan to take these options to Cabinet in early 2019, and to follow this with a public consultation process. We will publish the final policy, when ready, online.

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