A Path to Social Licence: Guidelines for Trusted Data Use

When people trust that their data will be used as they have agreed, and accept that enough value will be created, they are likely to be more comfortable with its use. This acceptance is referred to as a social licence.

The Data Futures Partnership was tasked by the Government to develop guidelines that public and private organisations can use to develop “social licence” for data use. These guidelines are informed by our engagement with thousands of New Zealanders.

For more information please visit TrustedData.co.nz(external link)

You can download A Path to Social Licence: Guidelines for Trusted Data Use, and let us know what you think, here.(external link)

Our research(external link) and a background document with practical advice and examples is also available.

The Guidelines focus on eight key questions that organisations can answer to explain how they collect and use data, to better build trust with clients and the wider community.

To develop the Guidelines, the Partnership engaged with thousands of New Zealanders to understand how they feel about their data being used and shared in different situations. The Guidelines reflect what people said through a series of workshops, hui, and online sessions.

The Guidelines aim to enable organisations to maximise the value of data through building the trust of their clients and developing wider community acceptance. New Zealand organisations using the Guidelines will be able to follow advice about how to use, and communicate about data in a trusted way.

The answers to the eight key questions will help people decide whether there is enough Value, Protection and Choice for them to feel comfortable with the data use.

Comfort around data use is situation specific. Organisations, particularly when the data use is novel or affects vulnerable groups, must set out to build social licence to proceed. This may involve a process of engagement to build social licence. This goes wider than those asked to provide data. It must also involve the wider community.

How personal data is used is not always clear to New Zealanders. This is particularly important for any sensitive data, such as information about health, disabilities or ethnicity. Where an organisation wishes to use data for something particularly novel or in a way that will affect vulnerable people, they need to engage with the wider community to build social licence. 

By embracing the Guidelines and ‘doing data’ in a transparent way, organisations can add real value, improve customer loyalty and lift data quality. As more companies do this, New Zealand’s overall business reputation will also improve.

The Data Futures Partnership is working with organisations, in the public and private sectors, to test and revise the Guidelines.


Our Data Our Way

The guidelines are built on the views of New Zealanders. We had conversations with people across the country – not just those who work on these issues every day.

Through these conversations, the Partnership set out to understand how people feel about their data being used and shared in different situations.

The Partnership commissioned Toi Aria (Massey University) to run Our Data, Our Way - a public engagement programme involving thousands of New Zealanders. You can read the final engagement report here [PDF, 13 MB].

As part of this engagement activity, the Partnership also commissioned Tūhono Trust to engage specifically with Māori. The final report, Sharing Information for Wellbeing, is available here [PDF, 19 MB]