SIA newsletter: May 2018

Welcome to the Social Investment Agency’s newsletter. We have been working hard behind the scenes and now’s a great opportunity to keep you informed with what we’ve working on and where you can find out more information.

Our key focus has been working with the new Government to define their take on social investment.  As part of this the Cabinet Paper Towards Investing for Social Wellbeing was recently considered and can be found here, the paper describes the features of an Investing for Social Wellbeing approach and recommends that we go and discuss these features with the wider social sector.

We are now turning our focus to engaging with social sector NGO’s and service users on these the features of the Investing for Social Wellbeing approach and what the key elements that will be needed in a Data Protection and Use Policy for the social sector. I really encourage you to read the Cabinet Paper and where it’s possible participate in the engagement process; we really want as much input as we can.

In the meantime there has been a lot of work going on – the data exchange is now in production phase two and we are increasing the number of use cases to really test the way it works for the social sector, the Place Based Initiatives have been extended, we have further developed our analysis of the impacts of social housing and a lot of work has been going into developing our how to guides. 

There’s plenty more work underway and I look forward to working with you throughout 2018.



Your voice, your data, your say on investing for social wellbeing

The Social Investment Agency is leading an engagement process to inform the development of the Government’s approach to investing for social wellbeing and also the Data Protection and Use Policy (DPUP). This will involve online surveys and 140 workshops in 28 locations throughout New Zealand. Participants will include; people with disabilities, iwi and Pacific peoples; NGOs service providers; and government agencies and their frontline staff.

Check out more information on our website:

SI Book Launch

Minister launches social investment book

In February Minister Carmel Sepuloni spoke at the launch of a book which promotes analysis, critique, and discussion of the fundamental concepts that underpin social investment. Social Investment - A New Zealand Policy Experiment is a compilation of articles written by 28 diverse thought-leaders critically discussing both the potential and limitations of social investment in New Zealand.

Minister Sepuloni recognised the contribution this book makes to public engagement and the Government’s thinking on social investment. The book challenges ideas about the moral and ethical positions on the use of data, professional judgement, and the diverse social and cultural contexts of people’s lives.

The book is available here(external link).

The Ministers media release can be viewed here(external link).

Data Exchange

The Data Exchange allows the sharing of data between organisations in a way that is highly secure and safe.  The technology facilitates easier sharing of information across organisations resulting in people receiving services in a more accessible and timely way that reflect their individual needs.  Additionally, the safe and easy transfer of information enables more timely access to insights about how to give people the best support at the best time in a way that makes sense to them.

The first 'live' transfer of data across the Data Exchange was successfully tested in December 2016, when anonymised data was transferred between the Ministry of Social Development and the Methodist Mission Southern .

This confirmed the minimum viable feature set of the exchange to stand-up the core technology, privacy and data sharing components of future versions. We are now working with a wide range of organisations to connect them to the exchange for a range of uses, with a number of government agencies and NGO's already successfully connected and suggesting more ways in which they can use this "pipe" to help them be more effective. The technology is now being rolled out with interested parties as part of a 3 year project ending in October 2020.

Find out more here.

Our latest 'How-to' guides

The latest additions to our 'How to' guides are based on what we have learned from our analytical test cases. They include technical documentation for the analytical tools we’ve developed.

We’re publishing this material publicly so that information about how we use data, and the value we derive from it, is easily accessible to anyone. We are publishing as we go so that others may learn from and improve on our work.

Checkt them out here:

  • An introduction to social investment analytics
  • Beginner’s guide to the IDI
  • Social Investment Analytical Layer Code user guide
  • Social Investment Data Foundation Code user guide
  • Working principles for social investment analytics

The SIA now manages The Hub

We’re excited to now be managing The Hub.(external link)

Developed by Superu, The Hub is a one-stop-shop for New Zealand social science government research related to education, health and wellbeing, crime and justice, economy, families, children and young people. With over 6000 publications, this is a valuable resource for anyone seeking evidence about the social sector in New Zealand. 

Dedicated resource (Sanna) has joined us from Superu to maintain The Hub and grow its use as a go-to source of government social sector research.

Just email if you have any questions.

Government Analytics Network (GAN)

The Social Investment Agency has provided resourcing to set up the government analytics network (GAN). The GAN is a cross-government initiative with Stats New Zealand, Ministry of Social Development, Justice and Customs NZ involved in the initial setup.
The GAN started in August 2017 to realise opportunities of rapidly evolving data and technologies to enable better decision making across the machinery of government; and to help government strengthen its ability to generate and use evidence through supporting a sustainable network of analysts. The network is made up of professionals working with data in public service agencies, Crown entities, Crown Research Institutes, local authorities, District Health Boards, and other parts of the wider state sector.

The aim of the GAN is to:

  • connect analysts to share knowledge and resolve challenge
  • integrate and promote state-of-the-art analytical practice in New Zealand
  • develop and promote data analytics as a profession in government through
    • developing analytical capability by providing resources top current and future practitioners
    • providing professional support

The GAN has gathered over 270 members across 40 agencies in a few months.  To date it has held quarterly meetings and workshops on things like architecture and maturing government data analytics, and published two newsletters. More activities are planned.

If you wish to be on the GAN database just contact us on

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