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Using personal information responsibly

The Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics Framework

The Ministry of Social Development uses personal information to provide and evaluate the effectiveness of services and to ensure that clients receive those services which are most appropriate to them.

The Ministry developed the Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics Framework – the PHRaE – to identify and address risks associated with the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, and to ensure that we use that information in a responsible, transparent, and trustworthy way.

The PHRaE focuses on legislative and ethical considerations relating to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. This includes the application of the Privacy Act 2020 and it’s 13 information privacy principles, specific legislative provisions under which the Ministry may collect, use or disclose personal information, and the discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act 1993. It also incorporates guidance relating to Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi, the Data Protection and Use Policy, and the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand.

The PHRaE makes sure we:

  • protect and value people’s privacy,
  • recognise human rights and treat people fairly, and
  • helps us take an ethical approach in everything we do with personal information.

The PHRaE operates alongside initiatives as they develop any proposed use of data and information through a Privacy by Design approach. This helps ensure that privacy, human rights, and ethical risks are identified early so they can be addressed by modifications to design or implementation, or by decisions to stop development of a proposed use if risks cannot be sufficiently addressed or mitigated.

What does the PHRaE cover?

The Ministry believes that using personal information in a safe and respectful way, will achieve better outcomes for the owners of the information. The Ministry is committed to respecting privacy, human rights, and ethical interests. The PHRaE is a key element in the Ministry’s efforts to meet that commitment and only collect, use, and disclose what is reasonably necessary.

The PHRaE covers several key areas to ensure we do this in the right way. These include:

  • understanding likely benefits and possible adverse consequences,
  • openness, transparency, access, data accuracy and correction,
  • the Crown’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi,
  • why we use personal information,
  • using personal information that we already hold,
  • how and from who will new information be collected,
  • how information will be kept safe,
  • use of operational analytics and automated business rules,
  • human rights, ethics, discrimination, and bias, and
  • sharing of information outside of the Ministry.

The PHRaE works with the Ministry’s Research and Ethics Panel to assess proposed uses of personal information for research and evaluation purposes.

The PHRaE works with the MSD's Model Development Lifecycle to help manage new and emerging uses of data in an operational setting (operational algorithms).

MSD’s client facing privacy notice

We use people’s personal information in almost everything we do as a Ministry. As an organisation we have made a commitment to our clients to respect their privacy and to be clear about how we use and share their information.

We have developed a client facing Privacy Notice to tell them about what we do with their personal information. See the Privacy Notice on the Work and Income website. The notice includes a case study about our use of predictive modelling which was created using MSD’s Model Development Lifecycle.

Automated Decision Making

MSD aims be a trusted and proactive organisation. We connect clients to all the support and services that are right for them, and improve the social and economic wellbeing of New Zealanders.

The use of automated decision-making helps us to deliver efficient services to the New Zealand public. For example, Work and Income use automated decision making for child support payments.

We have developed an Automated Decision-Making (ADM) Standard to govern the development of any process that uses automated rules-based decision-making.

The ADM Standard was developed to ensure that when we implement an automated decision-making process:

  • there are sufficient safeguards suited to the particular circumstances, and
  • we can show that the relevant law and facts were taken into account.
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