Using your information

Learn about how we use your information.

When we identify you

We need to identify you when we make decisions about you. This is so we can help you. For example, we'll need your name and date of birth to know who you are so we can give you a benefit.

We try not to identify you when we use your information to:

  • look at how we operate
  • design new services or tools.

This means we remove information, such as name and date of birth, before we use it for these reasons.

We use your information to:

  • Make decisions about you

    We use your information to:

    • work out what help we can give you
    • work out your benefit payments
    • work out what services will help you the most, including new services we're testing or trialling
    • confirm you qualify for the support you get.

    In some cases, we may use your information to:

    • help you in an emergency, eg a flood or earthquake.
    • make sure people don't misuse the welfare system, eg, it helps us to manage debt and detect fraud
    • keep us all safe when we're working together, eg, if you're aggressive to our staff or others, we may not let you into our site.

    We use your information to make better decisions about:

    • whether you need extra support from us
    • how we can match our case managers' workload to clients who need that extra support.

    To do this, we sometimes use our statistical predictive modelling tools.

    Watch our videos to learn about how we use these tools.

  • Look at how we operate

    How we operate as a Ministry

    We use information to help us operate as a Ministry. This means we can make sure our systems run smoothly. We do this by:

    • getting reports on how our benefit system is performing
    • regularly reviewing the way we operate.

    For example, we use information to make sure we have enough appointments available for clients. We also use information to make sure our case managers can meet demand.

    How well our services work for you

    We also use information to make sure our services help you. We do this by:

    • reviewing the services we give you
    • working with our providers to make sure their service is right for you.

    We could do this in a general way, where we look at patterns or trends. Or we could have specific targets or outcomes we want to look at.

    For example, we could trial a service with some clients to see if it's working well. We would then check this against other services to see what's most helpful.

    Being transparent as a Ministry

    We use information to show we're being transparent to the public. We do this by releasing regular reports on our performance, eg:

    • Benefit factsheets
    • Housing quarterly reports
    • StudyLink statistics.

    These reports go on the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) website.

    We also use information to show we're meeting our obligations to the Government. These include:

    • spending money in an effective and efficient way
    • making progress on goals they have set for us.

    We give the Government regular reports to show we're meeting our obligations.

  • Design new services or tools

    Work out what to design

    We use information to work out what kind of new services to design and who to design them for. For example, our information may tell us there are a lot of clients in Auckland that need help in a specific way.

    We also use information to do research to help us to:

    • better understand what our clients need now and in the future
    • get evidence to support our decision to trial something new.

    Design and test

    We use information to design new services or tools, and test them. For example, we use information to:

    • design a new tool, such as myMSD or the eligibility guide, and test it. This helps us decide if the tool works in the best way for you.
    • design and trial a new service and test it. This helps us decide if we should continue, change or stop the trial.