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Co-designing standards 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 standards, tapping into specialised expertise.

Every 90 days representatives from all government agencies (the community of practice) are invited to a workshop to identify new standards that need to be developed.

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

Co-design process

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

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

Identifying and drafting standards

Reviewing, approving, and mandating standards

Guiding principles

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

  • Quality – supports the collection of consistently high-quality data.
  • One size fits all – has wide application and suitability.
  • Full alignment to full standard – aligns to related 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 would like to know more, please email


Last updated 5 December 2019