Building our data, analytics and insights capability  - Annual Report 2019 - 2020

Better insights, better decisions, better lives

Our Insights team delivers several types of data and analytics that help us achieve our purpose by aiding effective decision-making, focusing resources on the right investments, and understanding and evaluating performance.

We generate a variety of products and insights to support key frontline operations (such as case manager and service centre reporting and client service matching), performance measurement, external performance reporting, ministerial servicing, responses to official information requests, research and evaluation, policy advice, data feeds to partners, and Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure.

We provide tools to improve the effectiveness of frontline decision-making and services to clients. We have developed and improved smart tools that help our case managers in their discussions with clients about employment aspirations and skill gaps, as well as in recommending services that may help them meet their employment goals.

This year we produced a best practice guide for the development of operational algorithms, in line with the Statistics New Zealand Algorithm Charter. The guide enables us to maximise the value of our analytics while appropriately managing risks and harms.

We have developed a tool that expands the reach of the Youth Service to include people who have not had contact with a youth service coach or are unaware of what the Service can offer them. In collaboration with Youth Service providers, we have improved the way we identify young people who are at greater risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) after they leave school. Providers use the information they get from this model to help support decisions about which young people to prioritise into the Service.

We have developed products to provide benefit reporting directly to iwi. These will help iwi to understand data in the context of their rohe, and will support local decision-making.

Our evaluation programme has helped improve our understanding of the impacts of our services and programmes on clients’ lives and how to support evidence-based policy and service design.

We have taken steps to incorporate kaupapa Māori approaches into our research and evaluation work programme. We have adopted the Whānau Rangatiratanga Framework, which was developed as part of the Families and Whānau Wellbeing work programme, to take a Māori world view. Within our research and evaluation work we use the He Awa Whiria/Braided Rivers approach as a way of reconciling western science and kaupapa Māori approaches, creating a constructive ‘space’ in which the two approaches can co-exist.

We created a new research library on our website, with an improved search function and intuitive design, to make our research and other publications much more accessible to the public. We also published our back catalogue, providing a wealth of information to the public.

Developing more timely and robust labour market intelligence

We are experiencing a greater need for timely and robust labour market intelligence to inform our policy and delivery efforts to support New Zealanders into work. In response to this demand we have redeveloped our benefit reporting platforms, and we are working closely with other agencies to bring together data and analysis on labour market supply and demand, which is particularly critical in economically uncertain times.

Our data and analysis have proven critical for supporting the all-of-government response to COVID-19, and we continue to make available more fine-grained regional and demographic information and analysis of benefit system flows to support that work. This includes supporting cross-government scenario and modelling efforts.

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