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A draft data stewardship framework for NZ

A data stewardship framework enables government to better manage and use the data it holds on behalf of New Zealanders.

Well-managed data underpinned by trust

Data stewardship is the careful and responsible collection, management, and use of data.
Data has the power to improve lives. Because government stewards and uses data on behalf of New Zealanders, it has a duty to ensure data is managed as a valuable asset and used ethically.

When used securely – protecting privacy and confidentiality – and with New Zealand’s trust, data can provide rich insights about us and our communities to inform decision-making, improve services, and drive innovation.

The Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) is building the foundation – the stewardship framework – to enable government to better manage and safely access New Zealand’s data.

Draft data stewardship framework and toolkit [PDF 217KB]
Government Chief Data Steward

Developing a data stewardship framework

The GCDS provides leadership of government-held data and is responsible for enabling greater data use. The GCDS partners with New Zealand data leaders to develop and implement the stewardship framework to enable government to maintain a sustainable data system.

The New Zealand data leaders include the Chief Archivist, Government Chief Digital Officer, Government Chief Information and Security Officer, Government Chief Privacy Officer, Government chief executives, Government Statistician, Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Iwi Leaders Forum, sector leads, and Te Mana Raraunga.

The Information Group provides governance for the data stewardship framework. The Information Group:

  • leads the information management strategy for the public sector
  • identifies opportunities to unlock and use government information
  • provides advice on data challenges
  • provides governance for all-of-government data initiatives.

Information Group

Development approach

To develop and implement the framework Stats NZ will:

  • collaborate to achieve common interests and benefits
  • reuse by adopting and adapting the good practices developed by agencies
  • encourage innovation so agencies can implement stewardship in ways that work for them
  • maintain trust through transparency and engagement
  • think long-term to ensure the framework remains fit-for-purpose
  • use relevant international standards and practices.

Draft data stewardship framework elements

The framework provides a structure and common language for organising and describing the different elements of effective data stewardship. The aim is to establish goals, boundaries, and principles rather than rigid processes, to allow agencies to implement stewardship in ways that work for them.

There are 8 key elements required for effective data stewardship:

  • Strategy and culture – a strategy that provides a shared vision and clear direction, and a data culture that enables strategy implementation and sustains good data stewardship practice.
  • Rules and settings – legislation, policies, principles, and sanctions providing boundaries and guiding how the data system should operate.
  • Roles, responsibilities, accountabilities – governance structures, role definitions and expectations, and leadership.
  • Common standards – consistent ways of describing and recording data to make sharing, comparing, and re-using data more efficient.
  • Data capability and quality – tools, processes, designs, metadata structures, and platforms for managing, storing, describing, and sharing data.
  • People capability and literacy – skills, knowledge, and services for accessing, managing, analysing, and communicating data and insights.
  • Influence and advocacy – effective relationships and networks to endorse, promote, and support good data practice.
  • Monitoring and assurance – assessing environmental trends and developments, measuring stewardship performance, and adapting the stewardship framework to respond to changing circumstances or new information.

New Zealand's data stewardship is multi-layered

Everyone has a part to play to ensure New Zealand’s data is managed and used responsibly.

New Zealand’s data system is multi-layered, so the stewardship of data is also multi-layered.

  • Data system – the most expansive layer – includes the people and organisations that collect, manage, and use data. Effective system stewardship will sustain a data system that protects privacy and confidentiality, maintains trust, and maximises the value of data.
  • Organisations – effective data stewardship will ensure the data an organisation collects, stores, uses, and releases will be well managed, ethically used, and safely shared.
  • Datasets and individuals – effective stewardship will ensure individuals have the appropriate capabilities to carefully and responsibly manage and use datasets.

Data stewardship toolkit

The toolkit will enable the data stewardship framework to be implemented. It will provide the resources, tools, guidance and advice, services, communities of practice, and expertise to help people and organisations to steward data effectively.

Stats NZ will collaborate across government to develop the toolkit, leveraging expertise and the good practices already in use in many agencies.

Draft data stewardship toolkit

Tell us what you think

Help us refine the data stewardship framework.

  • Is there anything you expected to be included in the framework that isn’t? If so, what were those things?
  • Which parts of the framework need more explanation or a better definition?
  • What else is needed to help describe what data stewardship is?
  • What else would you like to know?

Email your feedback to

Content last reviewed 18 September 2020.