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The process for selecting and mandating standards

This page outlines the process for mandating data standards, including the groups involved in mandating standards, the proposed topics and candidates, how you can engage with the process, why it was changed, and compliance with the previous standards.

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What is the process for mandating data standards?

The mandating process is separate to any technical review of the base standards.

An important part of the mandating process is helping government agencies adopt the standards.

The steps in the process are:

1. Identify topic

The data system leaders in the Information Group (IG) identify and prioritise topics for standardisation.

2. Identify candidate

Stats NZ requests information from the Mandated Standards Implementation and Review Committee (IRC). This information determines which standard to mandate. From then on, Stats NZ refers to the selected standard as a 'candidate'. Stats NZ will engage with Māori to agree the level of involvement in mandating the standard.

3. Checkpoint

In a separate process, the technical content of the base standard is reviewed and further engagement is conducted if needed. If further work is needed, Stats NZ will engage with Māori to agree the level of involvement in developing the standard.

4. Endorse and mandate

The IRC recommends the standard to be endorsed for mandate. The IG endorse the standard and the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) mandates the standard.

5. Review and retire

Stats NZ completes an evaluation of their engagement with Māori during the process. After one year, Stats NZ reports the implementation progress to the IG. Stats NZ performs scheduled reviews of the suitability, and retires mandated standards if needed.


Groups involved in mandating standards

Information Group (IG)

The IG is a cross-agency group chaired by data system leaders in the Public Service. The group aims to increase the effectiveness of the Public Service by strengthening the leadership of the government data system.

Their role in this process is to think about whether a standard should be mandated across Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies from a system perspective. The GCDS considers the views of the IG when deciding whether to mandate a standard.

The Information Group
The IG’s terms of reference

Mandated Standards Implementation and Review Committee (IRC)

The IRC is a sub-group of the IG which has both core and advisory members.

Core members are representatives from the Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies who must adopt the standard. They have two roles:

  1. provide information about how a government organisation collects and uses data on the proposed topic
  2. come up with a plan to implement the standard if it is mandated.

Advisory membership is by invitation. Advisory members think about the impact that a mandated standard will have on the organisation or group they represent.

The IG considers the views of the organisations represented in the IRC before deciding to endorse a standard.

Mandated Standards Implementation and Review Committee

IRC terms of reference [HTML]

IRC terms of reference [PDF 87KB]

What topics currently have a mandated standard?

Currently there are 4 mandated standards. These are:

  • date of birth
  • person name
  • street address
  • gender and sex.

For more information, have a look at the Register of mandated data standards, and for help with implementing these standards, contact

Register of mandated data standards

What are the current topics proposed?

The current topics identified by the data system leaders in the IG to be mandated standards are:

  • ethnicity
  • iwi affiliation
  • Māori descent
  • Māori business.

What are the current candidates proposed?

Currently, no candidates have been selected. This page will be updated once a candidate(s) has been identified from the current topics. Another way to get up-to-date information on this is through the Data and digital standards community of practice (CoP) newsletter.

To sign up to the newsletter, email

How can you engage with the process?

Stats NZ works with people across government to design, develop, and implement mandated standards. During this process, there are many opportunities for you to engage. You can:

  • join the Data and Digital Standards CoP
  • check for updates and announcements
  • talk to your IRC contact if you are a Public Service Department or Departmental Agency employee
  • contact

To join the Data and digital standards CoP, contact

Why was the process changed?

Mandated standards used to be called data content requirements, or DCRs. When Stats NZ assessed the process for the first 3 mandated standards (date of birth, person name, and street address), we noticed that it was difficult for government organisations to implement the standards.

Mandated data standards

The new process aims to resolve this issue and improve efficiency by working with organisations to encourage engagement and support implementation. It is also streamlined, with fewer layers of decision making.

Do you still have to meet the previous data content requirements?

Yes. Although the process has changed, Public Service Departments and Departmental Agencies still need to comply with the first 3 mandated data standards (previously known as data content requirements or DCRs). Other organisations or groups don't have to meet the standards, but it is recommended as best practice.

If you are unsure whether the mandate applies to your organisation, or want help implementing mandated standards, email

Contact us

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

Content last reviewed 14 February 2022.

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