Policy Lifecycle

Good policy is evidence based and informed by a sound understanding of the context of issues and potential solutions.

Data and information from, or about, service users, whānau and communities is a key tool in developing good policy.

This 1-page tool shows how key ideas in the Data Protection and Use Policy fit with a typical policy development process:

Policy Development Lifecycle

Good policy is evidence based and informed by a sound understanding of the context of issues and potential solutions. Data and information from, or about, service users, whānau and communities is a key tool in developing good policy.

There are some high level, general steps in the policy cycle where data or information is used, or where it is collected. These are outlined below with some ideas about how to apply the Policy Principles: He tāngata, Manaakitanga, Mana whakahaere, Kaitiakitanga and Mahitahitanga. See the full Principles here.

Keep in mind that people often think of information they have supplied, or that is about them, as personal, even when it has been de-identified or anonymised and is being used in a non-personal form. Whenever your work is about people, then being clear about purpose, supporting transparency and choice, enabling people to access their information, and sharing the value of the insights developed using people’s information, are key parts of good practice.

Policy development

The high-level steps involved in policy development are:

  • Identify an opportunity or issue.
  • Understand or analyse the opportunity or issue.
  • Develop policy options.
  • Assess and recommend a policy response.

Some examples of where collecting or using data and information to help develop the policy are:

  • Evaluations about the effectiveness of services and interventions.
  • Qualitative information from stakeholder workshops/ interviews/co-design sessions
  • Data about people’s engagement in services, programmes or interventions.
  • Data for modelling demand or costs.
  • Census data about different groups of people
  • Statistical analysis around an issue or topic.
  • Research findings about a topic or issue.
  • Qualitative information about people’s experiences, needs and circumstances – user experience information.

Policy implementation

The high-level steps involved in policy implementation are:

  • Implement the policy.
  • Monitor and evaluate the policy and its outcomes.

Some examples of where policy implementation may require data or information to be collected are:

  • Qualitative information about people’s experiences of the policy.
  • Data about the characteristics of people who engage with the service or programme delivered under the policy, or are affected by the policy.
  • Data on the cost, reach, size, scale of the policy as implemented.
  • Information about how a service or programme is delivered under the policy.

Using the principles

Keep focused on He tāngata – be clear how any use of people’s data or information to inform policy development will benefit service users, whānau or communities.

Understand why the information was collected, what people were told about how it would be used, and any implications for using it in this policy analysis – this is part of Manaakitanga and your role as Kaitiaki.

Commit to Mana whakahaere - make sure you are transparent about the use of the data and information, and whenever possible check that people are ok with their information being used in this way. Talk to representative service users, service user groups, and those who work closely with them, to get an understanding of what they might think.

Mahitahitanga - collaborate and work with others (different professionals, organisations, cultural advisors, community representatives) and service users to decide what data or information, and approach to analysing it,  will be helpful to understand this topic, issue, or question. Test your assumptions and interpretations with them, include them in analysis, ask for them to review your work. Appreciate the knowledge and skills that others can bring to understanding data and information.

Mahitahitanga - Work with others, including service users to decide what data or information is fair, reasonable and respectful to collect and use for implementing and monitoring.

Support Kaupapa Māori, ‘for Pacific by Pacific’, or the ownership of analysis and research by those who it’s about. Recognise the importance of “nothing about us without us” – Manaakitanga.  

As a Kaitiaki (steward) check any data collection or use is ethical and legal. Get advice from a privacy officer or an ethics board (though this is just one point of view on what “ethical” looks like).

Design the approach to allow people as much choice as possible about the use of their data and information even if it doesn’t identify them. This is Mana whakahaere.

Make sure anyone who collects information or data understands why they are doing so and how it benefits people or communities. They can then uphold Mana whakahaere and be transparent with people about collection.

Mahitahitanga – grow the social sector’s collective knowledge by safely and appropriately sharing what's been learned. Explain and present findings in different ways to engage different people, including service users.