Sharing information about children
On 14 July 2022 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was officially designated as a Child Welfare and Protection Agency (CWPA) under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
This means that our people now have the ability to voluntarily request and disclose personal information with other CWPAs for specified purposes relating to the safety and wellbeing of any child or young person. The provisions that enable this are often called the ‘voluntary information sharing provisions’.
MBIE is 1 of 4 newly designated agencies. The others are Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand Customs Service, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Other CWPAs include government agencies, for example Oranga Tamariki and NZ Police and non-government organisations such as recognised Iwi authorities and health practitioners.
A driver behind the new designations is to enable better information sharing, including two-way dialogue, on child protection issues that emerge within and across New Zealand’s borders that contain an international element. MBIE has a role in areas where these issues can arise:
- child trafficking and smuggling
- modern slavery
- commercial sexual exploitation of children, including through digital forums
- children being moved across borders under fraudulent identities
- unaccompanied and separated migrant children living in New Zealand.
The MBIE business units expected to utilise the voluntary information sharing provisions include Immigration New Zealand, Employment Services and the Labour Inspectorate. These teams require personal information from other agencies to provide services and support to families and young people. They will be able to engage more freely with other CWPAs when appropriate for purposes relating to the safety and wellbeing of those children and young people under the Oranga Tamariki Act, as well as continuing to report if they suspect harm or neglect as they always have.
Information requested or disclosed under the provisions in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 will enable groups within MBIE to provide good public services while keeping the child’s well-being and best interests at the forefront. CWPAs are required to consult with a child or young person who information sharing relates to where practicable and appropriate and consider their views when deciding to share information.
MBIE has put safeguards in place to ensure the correct use and disclosure of personal information under the Act. When using the information sharing provisions teams will maintain the requirements of the Privacy Act 2020 regarding how to collect, store and use personal information. We’ll soon be making guidance available on our use of the voluntary information sharing provisions, including more detail on our safeguards that ensure the voluntary provisions are being used appropriately, and the purposes for which information will be shared. These Guidelines will set out the requirements for what kinds of information should be shared, and for what purposes, plus the process to follow under the voluntary provisions. Business units within MBIE who do not receive or have a need for information regarding a child or young person’s wellbeing and safety will not be able to use the provisions as their work does not meet the criteria for sharing information under the provisions in the Act.
Read about MBIE’s Child Protection policy:
Read more about the Oranga Tamariki Guidelines
Information sharing(external link) — Oranga Tamariki
Read a complete list of all CWPAs that can request or share information under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989: