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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/information-sharing/how-to-share-information/disclosing-information/
Printed: 20/10/2019
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Last updated: 01/07/2019

Disclosing information

Any decision to disclose information should be done to help support and protect tamariki or rangatahi, or assist their family/whānau to help tamariki or rangatahi as early as possible.

Why we should disclose information

Information should be disclosed to:

  • ensure that people working with tamariki, rangatahi and their family/whānau have a good understanding of what is happening for them
  • understand the strengths and challenges faced by tamariki, rangatahi and their family/whānau
  • contribute to risk assessments and safety planning
  • provide responsive and effective services for tamariki, rangatahi and their family/whānau
  • achieve better outcomes for tamariki, rangatahi and their family/whānau, including strengthening mana tamaiti, whanaungatanga and whakapapa.

Further advice

Email: Information_Privacy@ot.govt.nz

Disclosing information under sections 66A and 66C of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

Section 66A

Section 66A enables Oranga Tamariki and the Police to disclose information that has been obtained through a section 66 request. The information can only be disclosed for the purpose of:

  • preventing or reducing risk to te tamaiti or rangatahi being subject to harm, ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation
  • making or contributing to an assessment of risk or need
  • making, contributing to or monitoring support plans in relation to plans and activities of Oranga Tamariki
  • preparing, implementing or reviewing prevention plans or strategies issued by Oranga Tamariki
  • arranging, providing or reviewing services facilitated by Oranga Tamariki for te tamaiti or rangatahi or their family/whānau 
  • carrying out any functions in relation to family group conferences, tamariki and rangatahi in care, or other functions relating to the care and protection under part 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act. There are some restrictions to disclosing information obtained under section 66(1). 

In this section, 'in care' means those remanded in the custody of the chief executive under section 173, 174 or 175(1A)(a) of the Criminal Proceedings Act 2011.

 If you're considering disclosing information under this section of the Act:

  • consider any restrictions to disclosure that may apply
  • be clear about who you are disclosing information to and why you are disclosing it
  • share in a way that is most likely to keep the information safe and secure.

Restrictions to disclosing

Section 66C

Section 66C gives child welfare and protection agencies (including Oranga Tamariki) and independent persons the ability to disclose information either proactively or on request to another child welfare agency or independent person.

Relevant information can only be disclosed to fulfil any of the following purposes:

  • preventing or reducing risk to te tamaiti or rangatahi being subject to harm, ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation
  • making or contributing to an assessment of risk or need
  • making, contributing to or monitoring support plans in relation to plans and activities of Oranga Tamariki
  • preparing, implementing or reviewing prevention plans or strategies issued by Oranga Tamariki
  • arranging, providing or reviewing services facilitated by Oranga Tamariki for te tamaiti, rangatahi or their family/whānau 
  • carrying out any functions in relation to a family group conferences, tamariki or rangatahi in care, or other functions relating to the care and protection under part 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

Anyone disclosing information under this section of the Act must consult te tamaiti or their representative where practicable or appropriate.In situations where a youth justice coordinator or social worker believes that te tamaiti or rangatahi they are working with may benefit from other care, protection or wellbeing services, they can consider using the section 66C provisions to:

  • put services in place to support tamariki or rangatahi wellbeing – this may be outside of the formal youth justice family group conference plan in accordance with section 208(3)(a) and (b)
  • put services in place to support family/whānau, hapū and iwi.

When considering disclosing information under this section of the Act:

  • establish if the individual or agency is entitled under the Act to receive information
  • take into account the requirements around consulting with te tamaiti or their representative
  • be clear about the purpose for disclosing the information
  • consider any timeframes that are indicated
  • share in a way that is most likely to keep the information safe and secure.

Consulting with te tamaiti about disclosing their information under section 66C

Process for disclosing information using sections 66 and 66C (PDF 84 KB)

What we can disclose

Information can only be disclosed for the purposes set out in the information sharing provisions of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 or the Family Violence Act 2018. Each situation will be different so we will need to determine what information is needed to achieve the specific purpose and situation.

But most of the time, information will be about:

  • tamariki or rangatahi themselves and we must talk with them about sharing this in most cases 
  • their parents or caregivers 
  • people in their wider family/whānau or who they live with
  • people who tamariki or rangatahi already have a relationship with.

The provisions don’t list the kinds of information that can be disclosed because each situation is different. But we shouldn’t share everything we know by default — rather focus on what is relevant and required to achieve the purpose of sharing.

Relevant information can be things like:

  • details about who works with tamariki, rangatahi or family/whānau (like schools or doctors) and why
  • details about the home environment
  • descriptions about tamariki, rangatahi and family/whānau needs, aspirations, strengths, what’s working well (physical or mental health, education, behaviour, social connections)
  • an outline of challenges or concerns family/whānau are facing (like financial pressure, housing difficulties, family violence concerns or alcohol and drug issues)
  • information about who or what has helped tamariki, rangatahi or family/whānau in the past or what challenges and concerns there have been in the past for tamariki, rangatahi or people around them.

 When preparing to disclose information, consider:

  • why you are disclosing the information
  • what information is needed for the purpose specified
  • if disclosing information proactively as part of a referral for services, or to support what others are doing with te tamaiti and family/whānau, what those agencies and individuals will need to undertake that mahi
  • what kind of support and help we, tamariki, rangatahi and the family/whānau think is needed and who can provide this
  • what the potential impacts of disclosing the information are and how can we mitigate these.

We must make sure that any information we are disclosing is:

  • relevant to, or related to, addressing or supporting the safety or wellbeing of tamariki or rangatahi (the information sharing provision requires this)
  • as accurate as we can make it and not misleading, so we need to be clear about what’s fact, what’s our professional view, what is someone else’s point of view and what is a worry or concern that hasn’t been confirmed yet
  • as complete as we can make it (for example, including contextual information to help with understanding) — however, balance this with only sharing the minimum necessary to achieve the purpose of sharing
  • up to date — this can include historical or past information if it helps to understand the current concerns or worries.

Information privacy principles — part 2 of Privacy Act 1993

Restrictions to disclosing

We can't disclose information gathered as part of a section 66(1) request if we know, believe or find that the person giving the information did so in breach of their duty of confidence under the rules of the profession they practise in and the person the information is about didn’t give consent to the information being shared.

There are restrictions on sharing information collected under section 66(1). You can't share information if:

  • you know or subsequently learn that information was disclosed in breach of a person duty of confidence under the rules of their profession, and
  • the person who the information is about didn’t give consent to the information being shared.

Who we can disclose information to

With some restrictions, we can disclose information under sections 66A and 66C of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 to any child welfare and protection agencies or independent persons if the information will be used for specific purposes laid out in those sections of the Act.

We must check that the person or agency who has requested information, or who we are proposing to share information with, is covered under the information sharing provisions.

Supporting definitions — information sharing

Consulting with te tamaiti about disclosing their information under section 66C

Disclosing information safely

Disclosing information to others needs to be done in a way that makes the transfer of information as secure as possible. Consider the following when you're disclosing information:

  • Verify that the person you propose to disclose information to is covered under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
  • Consider the security of the method you are using to disclose information.
  • Consider the most appropriate way to share the information — particularly sensitive information may be best shared at a meeting.
  • Only send information to email addresses connected to child welfare and protection agencies or independent persons as defined in section 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
  • Don't leave hard copies of information in public spaces or where they can be seen or accessed.
  • When sharing hard copies of information remind recipients of the importance of keeping the information safe.

Further information

Email: Information_Privacy@ot.govt.nz

What to do when we receive a request for information

If we're asked for information, the requester can expect us to:

  • carefully consider the request for information — including whether the request is in line with the information sharing provisions of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
  • focus on proactively sharing with the wellbeing and best interests of tamariki or rangatahi central to decisions
  • get back to the requester in the agreed timeframe, or contact the requester to discuss a timeframe we can meet
  • let the requester know why we will not share the information if that is our decision, including if we don’t believe it meets the purposes and reasons for sharing information under the provisions.

Consider the following when we receive a request for information:

  • Disclose information to support mahi related to te tamaiti. We don’t have to wait to share information until we are asked. We can proactively disclose information if we believe this will assist or improve the wellbeing of te tamaiti.
  • Ensure that information we are considering disclosing is in line with the provisions of the Act and is accurate, relevant and as up to date as possible.
  • Consider how sharing information will help to build positive cultural connections and support mana tamaiti.

If you believe that you have disclosed information in error

You should:

  • ask the recipient to delete or destroy the material and get written confirmation that this has occurred
  • record the details of what occurred in CYRAS with the written confirmation
  • contact the information privacy team at their email address. They can record the privacy breach and advise if further steps need to be taken.

Email: Information_Privacy@ot.govt.nz

Disclosing information and the Family Violence Act 2018

The Family Violence Act 2018 identifies a list of specified government family violence agencies for which new information sharing powers and responsibilities apply, including Oranga Tamariki. This means that we can disclose information about a victim or perpetrator of family violence to agencies specified in that Act for all or any of the following purposes:

  • to make, or contribute to, a family violence risk or need assessment
  • to make, or contribute to the making or carrying out of, a decision or plan that is related, or that arises from or responds to, family violence
  • to help ensure that a victim is protected from family violence.