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Co-designing requirements across government

As the functional lead for data, the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) is working across government to co-design, develop, and implement short data content requirements, tapping into specialised expertise.

Co-design process

Every 90 days, an all of government Community of Practice (CoP) made up of representatives from over 30 government organisations are invited to a workshop to identify new requirements that need to be developed.

Stats NZ then works with subject matter experts from organisations to create short-form requirements. Where possible, existing standards that work well for a particular sector will be used as the basis for an all-of-government requirement.

A 6-stage process ensures requirements are, and remain, fit for purpose.

  1. Identify – the cross-government community of practice (CoP) identifies new data content requirements that need to be developed.
  2. Draft – working groups from the CoP draft the data content requirements.
  3. Review – the Challenge Review Committee ensures each data content requirement makes sense and is easy to use.
  4. Approve – the Approval Board reviews the process that has taken place, and endorses each data content requirement.
  5. Mandate – the GCDS signs off approved requirements and makes them freely available on
  6. Support and monitor – Stats NZ works with government organisations to support their implementation of the requirements. An on-going support and maintenance programme ensures requirements remain fit for purpose.

Identifying and drafting requirements

The CoP meets to discuss and prioritise the data concepts that have been collected from across government. Prioritisation is based on the expected benefit to the data system.

After prioritisation we ask for volunteers from the CoP to form working groups to work on the top priority data concepts. Each working group discusses and evaluates existing base standards for their concept. Once they agree on a specific base standard they, supported by Stats NZ, draft the data content requirement for their concept.

Each data content requirement aims to provide a short summary of the chosen existing or base standard. It should include only the key information that users will need and then point to the full base standard for further information.

At any one time we may have up to 3 working groups active on 3 different concepts.

Reviewing, approving, and mandating requirements

Once a data content requirement has been drafted by a working group and Stats NZ, it goes through a review and approval process.


Once the draft data content requirement for a concept has been written, it is published online on the register of government data content requirements and people have the opportunity to comment or provide feedback.

Register of government data content requirements

At the same time Stats NZ sends it to the Challenge Review Committee, a technical review committee made up of 21 organisations from across the New Zealand government.

The Challenge Review Committee has 6 weeks to review the data content requirement then provide written feedback to Stats NZ.

During the consultation we ask the 21 organisations on the Challenge Review Committee to respond with a clear 'endorse/do not endorse' for each data content requirement. We also state that if they do not respond by the close of submission date, we will assume they have no feedback and endorse the requirement.

Stats NZ collaborates with the original working group or key expert for each data content requirement to ensure that all feedback is addressed. Once we have achieved majority support from the Challenge Review Committee for each requirement, we prepare the requirement to be presented to the Approval Board.

Approval and mandating

The Approval Board, made up of 15 government organisations, is introduced to the reviewed requirement through an introductory report and initial face-to-face meeting. They are then given 4 weeks to consider the report and the standards.

If the proposed data content requirement, and process to date, gain majority support from the Approval Board, the requirement will go to the Government Chief Data Steward for their sign-off and to be mandated.

An on-going support and maintenance programme ensures requirements remain fit for purpose.

Co-designing requirements across government
Government Chief Data Steward

Guiding principles

To be eligible for implementation, new requirements must meet 5 guiding principles:

  • Quality – supports the collection of consistently high-quality data.
  • One size fits all – has wide application and suitability.
  • Alignment to base standard – aligns to related base standards or guidance.
  • Easy to follow – is easy to follow and comprehend.
  • Fit for purpose – summarises the features needed to collect the data.

Contact us

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

Content last reviewed 11 January 2021.