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MSD to Require Individual Client Level Data from Community Agencies

October 13, 2016 at 5:11 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has stated that future contracts will require community agencies to provide individual client level data.

The recently published MSD Community Investment Strategy Update 2016 states "Starting from July 2016, we will begin collecting individual client level data (client level data) from providers. We will do this progressively over the year, so that we are collecting client level data from all providers by July 2017." (page 15)

The update outlines what information MSD will require, stating "Client level data minimum requirements are as follows:

  • Client: Name, address, gender, date of birth, primary ethnicity, Iwi.
  • Dependents: Name, date of birth, relationship to client.
  • Service Level: Information Programme/service name, start date and end date."

Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer of the NZ Council of Christian Social Services, first noticed the changes in the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the new MSD budgeting programme, Building Financial Capability.

Mr. McGlinchey raised concerns that these requirements will negatively impact clients' access to services: "This collection of individual level data is a new contractual requirement that has the potential to move community social services from being able to work with anyone with needs in their communities, to only being able to work with those willing to have their personal details shared with government." He also questioned whether there had been any consultation regarding the change or review of the potential impacts: "I am not aware of any conversations with communities or with community-based social services on introducing this change. Neither have I seen any assessment of the potential impact of these new requirements on families and individuals who seek support. I would have thought that such a significant change would be thoroughly consulted on and researched prior to being implemented on an across-system level to all services, all providers and all clients."

The MSD Community Investment Strategy update states "The dates and opportunities for stakeholder engagement will be set out in a stakeholder engagement plan, which will be published on MSD’s website in September 2016." (Page 9)

Social Services Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) has said they are interested in hearing from providers who have provisions in their contracts like this or other concerns - contact SSPA

Similar concerns about client confidentiality and privacy were raised when the Ministry of Social Development requested that Relationships Aotearoa hand over their client files when the service was closed in 2015.

New MSD programme to develop model for transitioning to results-based contracting

MSD has also announced the Acceleration for Results programme. MSD will work with the Ākina Foundation to "... to co-design an effective way to transition current contracted providers to using results-based contracting models which support the outcomes of the Community Investment Strategy." The Ākina Foundation works to grow social enterprise across New Zealand. MSD is currently looking for seven providers to participate in the programme in stage one from November 2016 to June 2017.

The programme is specifically looking for providers delivering services to families that aim to:

  • "prevent the occurrence of child maltreatment
  • increase children’s physical and mental health and development and/or
  • increase resiliency in families/ whānau."

Registrations of Interest (ROI) for joining the programme in Stage One are open from 7-24 October 2016 on the GETS website. Information is also available on the Ākina website.

Category: Legislation