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Mandated data standards

This page describes mandated data standards, their importance, the current mandated standards, the topics proposed for future mandate, the process, and who mandates them.

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What are mandated data standards?

Data standards establish a consistent way for collecting, formatting, recording, and/or storing information. Mandated data standards must be used by Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies when collecting and sharing data on a particular topic.

The Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) has the power to make standards mandatory. This does not mean that agencies must collect information on a mandated topic. It means that, if they collect or share information on a topic related to a mandated standard, they must use the standard.

Government Chief Data Steward

Why are they important?

Given the vast amounts of data that is collected across government every day, sometimes the same data is captured and recorded in different formats. Having consistent standards eliminates this problem, and allows government to more effectively share data, across existing privacy and security settings.

Consistent standards are important for effectively managing data and means the New Zealand data system can:

  • maximise the value of data
  • create a more complete view to inform government policy and investment decisions
  • enable more efficient information sharing between agencies (within existing privacy and security settings), saving both time and money.

Without mandated standards, any existing problems with data collection and information sharing across government will continue and get worse over time. 

What topics currently have a mandated standard?

Currently there are three mandated standards (previously called Data Content Requirements or DCRs). These are:

  • date of birth
  • person name
  • street address.

For more information, have a look at the Mandated Standards Register, and for help with implementing these standards, contact

Mandated standards register

What topics will be mandated in future?

The current topics identified by the system leaders in the Information Group (IG) to be mandated standards are:

  • gender and sex
  • ethnicity
  • iwi affiliation
  • Māori descent
  • Māori business.

Information Group

How are topics selected?

Topics are selected based on the needs of the data system. A list of topics is gathered from a variety of sources including:

  • iwi / Māori sources
  • discussions within the standards community
  • upcoming work in the data system 
  • other government and data system priorities.

The Data and Digital Standards Community of Practice 

Māori will have the opportunity to request being consulted before presenting these topics to the Information Group (IG). The IG then choose the topics that would most benefit the government data system.

The process for selecting and mandating data standards

If you would like to suggest topics to be considered in the mandating process, contact

Who mandates them?

The authority to set mandated standards for use across government lies with the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS). This power was established by a cabinet paper in October 2018.

The cabinet paper establishing authority

Contact us

If you'd like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback on this page, email

Content last reviewed 22 April 2021. 

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