Analytics and evidence

Improving social services with better decision-making begins by analysing available data about people’s lives and wellbeing.

We want to empower social service providers and government agencies to understand, decide on and do more of what really works, for better lives.

Community Insights Tool

The need to have social and demographic data about communities increased following the adverse weather events that impacted communities across the North Island in early 2023.

Following these events and to support communities as they recover, we have developed a data explorer(external link) to bring a range of information together for decision-makers.  This explorer is not intended to provide all the answers – but we hope it will help us to ask better questions.

Given the importance of understanding wellbeing alongside the impact of recent weather events, we have also partnered with Dragonfly Data Science to understand – from satellite data – the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle for the East Coast.  You can explore the Dragonfly Flood Impact map here, or you will find a link to it contained within the explorer.

We would love your feedback on the explorer – particularly how you’ve used it and what additional data you’d like to see curated for community use.  Questions, comments and feedback can be sent here.

(external link)

Analytics support decision-making

Analytics provides one type of evidence to support better decision-making. Analytics is the use of computer skills and statistics to draw conclusions from data. We combine analytics with qualitative data, science and people’s lived experience.

Social sector analytics can help social service providers and government agencies improve evidence informed decision making, service delivery measurement, and develop and enhance innovative social services.

Our tools for technical users

We've produced analytical tools and reusable code for technical users who have access to Stats NZ's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). Code, assembly and visualisation tools and user guidance is publicly available on GitHub — an open source, collaborative software development platform and repository.

Available resources include:





IDI measures

IDI definitions library(external link)


Definitions of events and measures in the IDI from our research projects. Compatible with the Dataset Assembly Tool. Gathered together for ease of reuse.

Dataset assembly

Dataset Assembly Tool(external link)

Method and code

Standard tool and process for assembling a range of measures together into a single dataset ready for analysis.

People’s life experience

 Representative timeline modelling(external link)

Method and code

Constructing cross-sector representative timelines of people's life experience

People’s life experience

 Representative timeline visualisation(external link)

Run code

Interactive timeline visualisation tool for exploring journey timelines

Wellbeing impacts evaluation

 Benefit to employment transition(external link)

Method and code

Using linked administrative and survey data to evaluate the wellbeing impacts of transitioning from benefit to employment

Wellbeing impacts evaluation

 Social housing(external link)

Method and code

Using linked administrative and survey data to evaluate the wellbeing impacts of social housing

Visit the Social Wellbeing Agency Github(external link) or the Social Investment Agency Github(external link) (archived material).

Our work with Informatics for Social Services & Wellbeing 

We work with Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland on the Te Rourou Tātaritanga Informatics for Social Services & Wellbeing(external link) programme. The programme aims to improve the way New Zealand stores, shares and accesses data to help produce better policy and enhance the delivery of social services.

The programme works to:

  • Improve data standards
  • Promote Māori data sovereignty
  • Develop systems to support access
  • Evaluate synthesising of datasets
  • Explore security and privacy implications
  • Develop machine learning and AI methods 

We are contributing to systems to support data access, and helping to foster a community of practice across the government sector. We also deliver a symposium annually, to share the ground-breaking things people are doing with data and look for future opportunities in the applied data system. The most recent symposium was held in March 2023. You can read the 2023's presentations here(external link).

This work aligns with the Agency's 2021-2023 Strategy by supporting government agencies to improve their data capability and lead advice across the sector.