Business people taking notes.

Research access to Ministry of Social Development information


MSD receives many requests for access to clients, staff or information (both historical and current) for research purposes. While we encourage good quality research and evaluation we also have a statutory duty of care to our clients and staff, and responsibilities about the personal information we hold. We carefully consider and control the impact of research access on our operations.

The Research Access Co-ordinator is the contact for any external access enquiries and manages the process that evaluates all applications for research access.

Formal application for research access must be submitted by those seeking:

  • to contact with MSD clients or staff, current or past
  • to access to any personal information about clients or staff, current or past.

Aggregate or non-personal information requests about MSD activity do not need an application.

Who can apply?

  • MSD staff undertaking research for a university course or as part of sabbatical leave
  • Tertiary institution staff
  • Post-graduate students
  • Researchers employed by government agencies (other than MSD)
  • Commercial research companies
  • Individual contractors or consultants
  • Research fellows
  • Visiting scholars.

MSD staff who are undertaking a project that is part of the work programme do not need to apply.

Contact the Research Access Co-ordinator if you have already started your research.

How to apply

  1. Read the Information memo
  2. Complete the Application form
  3. Submit the completed form to the Research Access Co-ordinator or post it to the address below.

All mail should be sent to:

Research Access Coordinator
Insights MSD
Ministry of Social Development National Office
PO Box 1556
Wellington 6140

The approval process

The approval process takes about six weeks after all documentation is received. Some applications may take longer.

All requests for research access are primarily considered in terms of the potential impact on clients, staff and effective operations. We also consider the possible value of the research to MSD and the likely quality of the proposed research given the proposed design, methodology and researcher experience. We will assess whether your proposed research demonstrates an understanding of the sensitivity of the access, and whether you adequately address issues of privacy, security of data, consent and impact issues.

If your application is successful and you pass a Police vetting check we will send you a formal approval letter and confidentiality agreement outlining the conditions of access. You will need to sign and return the confidentiality form to us before you will be allowed access to any MSD data.