Getting Started

This area of the Toolkit provides some resources that will help plan where, and how, to apply the Policy in the context of your organisation.

A good starting point is to understand that the collection and use of people's information tends to follow a similar pattern, which we've referred to as the 'Information Lifecycle'. By understanding this, and thinking about using the Policy within the key steps in this lifecycle, it's easier to translate the good practice advice of the Policy into clear steps that each person involved in the lifecycle can take care of:

Information Lifecycle – From Planning to Sharing

Across the social sector data and information that is from or about service users, whānau and, communities is used for various reasons, in different ways, by many organisations.

There are some common steps that typically apply to the collection and use of data or information, regardless of who is using it or the kind of work they do. Sometimes these steps are quite formal and detailed, other times it’s less so.

The starting point is often a decision, or plan, to collect or use some information. The “ending” is when some kind of conclusion is drawn, insight found, advice given, or a decision is made or action taken. Potentially the knowledge is then shared with others.  

The points below outline those common steps and key things to think about at each stage.

Collecting or using people’s information (whether it can identify them or not), has 4 main steps:

Step 1: Plan

Deciding what data and information to use and why.

  1. Is the purpose and planned outcome clearly going to support improved wellbeing for New Zealanders?
  2. How can you involve service users in planning?
  3. How can you involve other professionals, community representatives, and organisations in the planning?
  4. What checks and balances do you need to follow to make sure using this data or information, in this way, for this reason is a fair and reasonable thing to do in the social sector?

Step 2: Collect

Asking for, finding, or getting access to the data and information.

  1. What's the minimum data or information you need?
  2. Do you need a new collection or is there already data you can use?
  3. Do service users know why their information is needed and how it will be used?
  4. Do service users have as many choices as possible about how their information is used and who sees it?
  5. Does anyone who collects information for you, or shares the information you use, know what will be done with it and why?
  6. Are you making sure service users can easily access and ask for corrections to their data and information?

Step 3: Use

Analysing, making sense of, exploring,  understanding the data and information.

  1. How can you involve service users in using, making sense of, or understanding their data and information?
  2. How can you involve other professionals, community representatives, agencies etc. in using, making sense of, or understanding data and information?
  3. Are there safeguards against data and information being misinterpreted, or used in a way that might reinforce prejudice or bias, especially sensitive information or information that has cultural value?

Step 4: Conclude and Share

Making decisions or recommendations, forming conclusions or developing insights. Sharing the insights or analysis.

  1. Have you achieved the outcome you planned that will support improved wellbeing for New Zealanders?
  2. Have you agreed what will be shared back with those who provided information or data so they can benefit from it, such as: insights or conclusions, explanations of how the information was used, or access to your analysis or non-personal data sets?
  3. Has it been made clear to service users how the collection or use of their data or information will help them or people in similar situations to them?