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Charter implementation plan

In July 2020, the ‘Algorithm charter for Aotearoa New Zealand’ was released with the intention of increasing public confidence and visibility on the use of algorithms within the public sector.

The charter was independently reviewed after one year, and the review found almost universal support for the charter amongst the government agencies and subject matter experts who participated in the review. It also found that agencies have made some progress in implementing the charter commitments, but additional support is needed. The review report included 24 practical considerations for making improvements going forward.

Algorithm charter for Aotearoa New Zealand

One year review [HTML]

We are taking a phased approach to implementing the review’s considerations:

  • Phase 1 – Strengthen guidance and best practice
  • Phase 2 – Transparency and engagement
  • Phase 3 – Oversight and governance.

Phase 1 – Strengthen guidance and best practice

This phase focuses on supporting government agencies to develop, use, and maintain algorithms in a safe and ethical way. Key areas of work in phase 1 include:

  • conducting a gap analysis of existing government risk assessment tools and processes.
  • developing an algorithm threshold assessment questionnaire to understand the risk profile of an algorithm
  • developing an algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) questionnaire for high-risk algorithms and a supporting guide to help users identify appropriate mitigations
  • establishing a community of practice or network to facilitate knowledge and information sharing between signatories
  • prioritising the considerations and revising the implementation plan.

Algorithm Threshold Assessment Questionnaire - [DOCX 58KB]
Algorithm Impact Assessment Questionnaire - [DOCX 87KB]
AIA User Guide - [PDF 1.1MB]
AIA User Guide - HTML
AIA Report Template - [DOCX 381KB]
Algorithm charter community of practice

Phase 2 – Transparency and engagement

Phase 2 will focus on authentic, high-quality engagement to provide greater visibility and transparency. Key areas of work in phase 2 may include:

  • marketing and communicating to ensure improved transparency of the charter and the agency practices that give effect to the charter commitments
  • providing practical advice on engaging with iwi and Māori on data and algorithms to implement the partnership commitment in the charter
  • investigating novel forms of citizen participation.

Phase 3 – Oversight and governance

Phase 3 will focus on oversight, governance, monitoring, and assurance. Initiatives in this phase may result in significant changes so time is needed to clearly identify the needs, benefits, and resource implications. Key areas of work in phase 3 may include:

  • conducting non-binding audits of the charter
  • creating a charter oversight body
  • publishing a register of Public Service algorithms
  • exploring a stronger regulatory approach to encourage compliance
  • establishing data governance and monitoring of data that is built into algorithmic systems.

Contributing to Open Government Partnership

Initiatives in phases 1 and 2 also contribute to Commitment 8 in New Zealand’s fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. Within this commitment we will deliver the following milestones:

  • establish a community of practice or network to share knowledge and best practice, and build capability across signatories of the charter, by June 2023.
  • work with stakeholders to prioritise recommendations from the charter’s one year review and design an implementation plan for the high priority recommendations, by December 2023.
  • provide tools, guidance, and other supports to signatories to help them meet the transparency and accountability objectives of the charter, by December 2024.

New Zealand’s fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 

Content last reviewed 21 December 2023.