Data Protection and Use Policy (DPUP) – Social Wellbeing Agency

Social Wellbeing Agency

Learn how the Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) co-created a policy using a community-focused approach to ensure people’s data and information is collected, stored, accessed and shared in a respectful, trusted, and transparent way.

Problem

SWA didn’t know what the views on data were of the communities it serves. Therefore, they didn't know what was the right thing to do when collecting or using people’s data and information.

Solution

SWA developed a citizen engagement approach to co-create a policy describing what "doing the right thing" looks like when using data, with four key guidelines.

Observations and lessons learnt

Collaboration with the public and non-government entities

BETTER POLICY FROM COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION

Ultimately, SWA co-created a policy that wouldn’t have had the depth of content without the community-focused approach. They didn’t produce what they thought they would, but it reflects the discourse, and inevitably, the people support it.

DRAFT SHARED WITH THE COMMUNITY SAW INCREASED TRUST

SWA were conscious of faithfully translating ideas and aware of possible biases in writing. They took the draft back to the community before taking it to Cabinet (with Ministerial pre-approval for this process). They asked, "Have we heard you correctly? Does this reflect your Ideas? Does it have integrity with the process we followed?" This was the community-first approach.

PUBLISH THE ENGAGEMENT FINDINGS AS WELL AS THE POLICY

The Minister also agreed to publish the engagement findings. This ensured there was an undoctored record of what they heard, and removed the possibility of the government retrospectively managing what was said. This is a powerful document in its own right.

Innovative know-how

ENSURE THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND GOVERNANCE

An independently appointed Ministerial Working Group was set up. They trusted in the team and were committed to the objectives. This meant the right people with diverse perspectives could help navigate the problem space and ensure clarity of vision. Within the team, they needed expertise in the strategic and operational execution of this type of engagement. This engagement was led by a strategic engagement expert with Te Tiriti negotiation experience, thus familiar with long, nuanced discussions.

MINISTER BUY-IN TO IMPLEMENT

Others looking to adopt this approach are sometimes hesitant because of the possibility of having to negotiate the consequences with ministers, i.e. recommendations won’t always be implemented. Advocates of this approach would say doing something representative and truthful is the only chance of producing legitimate outcomes and an act of true public service. They were upfront with the Minister about the realities of this approach, who fully understood and agreed.

Processes and adaptability

We needed to shift from being goal-centric to an act of public service.

ENGAGEMENT NEEDS SPACE, NOT MANAGEMENT

At first, they planned the engagement approach around scenarios. They quickly learnt it was misleading, over-managed and inherently biased and didn’t focus on what people were interested in. Both the team and the Ministerial Working Group didn’t like the workshop format, so they carefully assessed whether we were going to achieve what was required, then adapted. The approach became simply to learn what’s reasonable, and what’s not. It wasn’t about managing the dialogue, instead giving people the opportunity to speak as they saw fit. You need to be well-informed and know the background and history of what’s been said prior in order to fuel the conversation.

It’s really unnerving to have to release control, which you are taught to have in your career. It was upside down from everything I thought I knew. The objective is not to control but to give the speaking stick to others.

FORGOING CONTROL PRODUCES THE RIGHT WORK

It can be awkward between yourself and stakeholders to grapple with the objective of not controlling the outcome. The team is there to deliver a service to people who care greatly about what you’re doing, not trying to steer with preconceived ideas of outcomes. If you’re genuinely working together, this is how it has to be.

You need to give people just enough shape to start talking.

CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLE

The world is messy, and people usually understand you won’t solve all their problems. Within your control is the ability to listen faithfully and serve up what’s said in a way that others can digest. Listening is crucially important for people to feel heard.

THE LOGISTICS ARE NOT COMPLICATED, RATHER HARD

Others looking to adopt this approach to policy development in their projects feel uncomfortable because of the lengthy logistical process. Who should be invited? Where should it be hosted? What’s the right number of attendees to ensure all voices are heard? What percentage of the invited will come? These are simply questions to answer, not reasons to give up.

Collaboration with other government organisations

SHARE YOUR APPROACH, NOT JUST THE POLICY

The team continues to share their approach with many government organisations working on projects from the Child Wellbeing Strategy to the Digital Trust Framework. They are also preparing a long-form case study for the Government Chief Privacy Officer and an accompanying checklist.

INSIGHTS CAN INFORM NEW WORK STREAMS

The Social Sector Commissioning project was born out of these insights, highlighting additional issues that needed to be solved. They have since invited a subset of NGOs and providers to extensive all-day workshops to dive deeper into shared ideas and issues and create recommendations. MSD has said this work has already changed the way they commission services.

2018

EARLY 2018

Public engagement hui

53 hui with 1047 participants in 27 locations.

LATE 2018

Report published

"What you told us...Findings of the ‘Your voice, your data, your say’ engagement on social wellbeing" (the engagement hui).

2019

EARLY 2019

Policy draft

Engagement incorporated into policy draft. The team went back to the wider community to show where they got to before they went to Cabinet.

JUN 2019

Amendments

Policy finished with amendments from the community.

JUL 2019

Endorsement

Cabinet endorsement.

NOV 2019

Implementation

Implementation with a small foundational group of government agencies and NGOs.

2020

JAN 2020

Insights

MSD Social Sector Commissioning project born out of DPUP hui insights.

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