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The process for selecting and mandating standards

This page outlines the process for mandating data standards, including the proposed topics and candidates, why it was changed, compliance with the existing standards and how you can engage.

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What is the process for mandating data standards?

The mandating process is separate to any technical review of the base standards.

An important part of the mandating process is helping government agencies adopt the standards.

The steps in the process are:

1. Identify topic

The Information Group (IG) identifies and prioritises topics for standardisation.

2. Identify candidate

Stats NZ requests information from the Mandated Standards Implementation and Review Committee (IRC). This information determines which standard to mandate. From then on, Stats NZ refers to the selected standard as a "candidate".

3. Checkpoint

In a separate process, the technical content of the base standard is reviewed and further engagement or consultation is conducted. If further work is needed, Stats NZ will engage with Māori.

4. Endorse and mandate

The IRC recommends the standard to be endorsed for mandate. The IG endorse the standard and the Government Chief Data Steward mandates the standard.

5. Review and retire

Stats NZ complete an evaluation of their engagement with Māori during the process. After one year, Stats NZ report the progress to IG. Stats NZ performs scheduled reviews of the suitability, and retire mandated standards if needed.

This flow diagram describes the five stages of the new process. Each stage is also described above. The diagram also includes a support and engage element relevant to all stages, in which the GCDS supports the entire process.

Groups involved in mandating standards

Information Group (IG)

The IG is a cross-agency group chaired by leaders in the Public Service. The group aims to increase the effectiveness of the Public Service by strengthening the leadership of the government data system.

Their role is to think about whether a standard should be mandated across Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies from a system perspective. The GCDS considers the views of the IG when deciding whether to mandate a standard.

The Information Group
The IG’s Terms of Reference

Mandated Standards Implementation and Review Committee (IRC)

The IRC is a sub-group of the IG which has both core and advisory members. IG considers the views of the organisations represented in the IRC before deciding to endorse a standard.

Core members are representatives from the Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies who must adopt the standard. They have two roles:

  1. provide information about how a government organisation collects and uses data on the proposed topic
  2. come up with a plan to implement the standard if it is mandated.

Advisory membership is by invitation. Advisory members think about the impact that a mandated standard will have on the organisation or group they represent.

What topics currently have a mandated standard?

Currently there are three mandated standards (previously called Data Content Requirements or DCRs). These are:

  • date of birth
  • person name
  • street address.

For more information, have a look at the Mandated Standards Register, and for help with implementing these standards, contact

What are the current topics proposed?

The current topics identified by the system leaders (IG) to be mandated standards are:

  • gender and sex
  • ethnicity
  • iwi affiliation
  • Māori descent
  • Māori business.

What are the current candidates proposed?

Currently, no candidates have been selected. This page will be updated once a candidate(s) has been identified from the first five topics. Another way to get up-to-date information on this is through the Data and Digital Standards newsletter.

To sign up to the newsletter, email

How can you engage with the process?

Stats NZ works with people across government to design, develop and implement mandated standards. During this process, there are many opportunities for you to engage. You can:

  • join the Data and Digital Standards CoP
  • check for updates and announcements
  • talk to your IRC contact if you are a Public Service Departments or Departmental Agency employee.

To join the Data and Digital Standards Community of Practice, contact

Why was the process changed?

Mandated standards used to be called Data Content Requirements, or DCRs. When Stats NZ assessed the process for the first three mandated standards, we noticed that it was difficult for government organisations to implement the standards.

The new process aims to resolve this issue and improve efficiency by working with organisations to encourage engagement and support implementation. It is also streamlined, with fewer layers of decision making.

Do you still have to meet the previous Data Content Requirements?

Yes. Although the process has changed, Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies still need to comply with the existing mandated data standards (previously known as Data Content Requirements or DCRs). Other organisations or groups don't have to meet the standards, but it is recommended as best practice.

If you are unsure whether the mandate applies to your organisation, or want help implementing mandated standards, email

Contact us

If you’d like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback on this page, email

Content last reviewed 22 April 2021.

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