Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/policy/sharing-information/
Printed: 01/10/2022
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Last updated: 27/07/2022

Sharing information

Sharing information is a key part of a practitioner’s role when working with tamariki and rangatahi and their whānau or family to ensure we're keeping tamariki and rangatahi safe. We respect the mana and dignity of the people the information is about.

Updates made to this policy

A section has been added about proactive disclosure of information, and a bullet list has been added to cover when section 66B prevents us from disclosing information. Other additions cover the need to consider whether the person concerned knows about the information we hold about them and how this might affect our consultation with them, and disclosing information in relation to youth justice proceedings.

When this policy doesn't apply

This policy does not apply to requests for information that we receive under the Official Information Act 1982 or when an individual requests their own information under the Privacy Act 2020 — Privacy and Official Information (POI) requests.

Staff resource: Customer information requests group

Things to consider when sharing information

Information sharing can occur at any stage of our involvement with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family. When gathering or disclosing information, we must:

  • keep the oranga (wellbeing, safety and best interests) of tamariki or rangatahi and their whānau or family at the centre of what we do
  • ensure the voice of te tamaiti or rangatahi is included — their aspirations, strengths and needs, and views
  • collect information directly from the person concerned where practicable and appropriate
  • share information in line with the provisions of the Act we are sharing under
  • only share relevant information and the minimum necessary to achieve the purpose
  • ensure information is disclosed free from bias and includes careful analysis
  • share information with the knowledge of the people concerned wherever it is appropriate and practicable to do so
  • consider whether the person concerned knows about the information we hold about them and how this might affect our consultation with them
  • share in good faith and in line with our delegated authority
  • share in a timely manner
  • record information sharing activities clearly.

Wherever possible, we will use the provisions of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 to share information.

Consult with your supervisor, manager and legal team as appropriate if you are unsure.

Sharing information in good faith | orangatamariki.govt.nz (PDF 76 KB)

When we request information from others

Sections 66 and section 66C of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 enable us to request information that relates to a tamaiti or rangatahi in order to promote the oranga (wellbeing) of te tamaiti or rangatahi, and their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family group in order to fulfil the purposes of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 which includes:

  • supporting and protecting tamariki and rangatahi to:
    • prevent them from suffering harm (including harm to their development or wellbeing), abuse, neglect, ill treatment or deprivation
    • prevent or respond to offending or reoffending
  • assisting families, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups to:
    • prevent tamariki and rangatahi from suffering harm, abuse, neglect, ill treatment or deprivation, or responding to these
    • prevent tamariki and rangatahi from offending or reoffending, or responding to this
  • assisting families, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups, at the earliest opportunity, to fulfil their responsibility to meet the needs of their tamariki and rangatahi (including their development needs, and the need for a safe, stable and loving home)
  • ensuring that tamariki and rangatahi in care have safe, stable and loving homes and get support to address their needs
  • providing a practical commitment to the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi)
  • recognising mana tamaiti, whakapapa and the practice of whanaungatanga for tamariki and rangatahi
  • maintaining and strengthening the relationship between tamariki and rangatahi and their families, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups and siblings
  • responding to alleged offending and offending by tamariki and rangatahi in a way that:
    • promotes their rights and best interests and acknowledges their needs
    • prevents or reduces offending or future offending
    • recognises the rights and interests of victims
    • supports tamariki and rangatahi to accept responsibility for and address their behaviour.

Requesting information

Sharing information about tamariki and rangatahi

Deciding when to use section 66 or section 66C

Before deciding whether to use section 66 or section 66C of the Oranga Tamariki Act, we must consider:

  • the impact on current or future working relationships between the professional and te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family
  • discussing our request with the professional to agree the best approach
  • how the information will be used and the restrictions on disclosure of information obtained under section 66 — refer Restrictions on disclosure of information obtained under section 66 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
  • the obligation placed on the discloser to consult with te tamaiti or rangatahi before information about them is shared under section 66C.

Consulting about information sharing

Information to provide when making a request

When requesting information, we must state:

  • the name and sufficient information about te tamaiti or rangatahi (or other individual) who is the subject of the request to ensure accurate identification of the person concerned
  • the legislative provision we are requesting the information under
  • the specific information we require
  • what our involvement with te tamaiti or rangatahi is and why we are requesting this information today
  • how the request for information relates to the oranga (wellbeing, safety or best interests) of te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • whether te tamaiti, rangatahi or person concerned is aware of the request being made
  • whether there are safety risks associated with consultation with the person concerned about what information will be shared
  • contact details for te tamaiti or rangatahi or their representative if a request is being made for information about te tamaiti or rangatahi under section 66C and the information sharing relates to information about te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • when the information is needed
  • our contact details.

Family Violence Act 2018

We must consider sharing information with a family violence agency or social service practitioner when we receive a request for information under the Family Violence Act 2018.

Before sharing, we must believe that the information will help the family violence agency or social service practitioner to:

  • ensure that a victim is protected from family violence
  • make or contribute to a family violence risk or needs assessment
  • make or contribute to making or carrying out a decision or plan related to family violence.

Privacy Act 2020

We can still rely on the Privacy Act to share information if the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 or the Family Violence Act 2018 does not cover the disclosure we wish to make – for example, when working with young adults. Use these provisions in consultation with your manager, supervisor and legal advisor.

We may also receive a request for information to be disclosed under the Privacy Act. These requests should be managed in consultation with your manager, supervisor and legal advisor.

Staff resource: Information privacy principles

Transition to adulthood — Preparation, assessment and planning

Transition to adulthood — Advice and assistance

Responding to a request to disclose information

When responding to a request to disclose information we must:

  • identify which legislation the request is being made under
  • confirm the identity of the requestor
  • identify if the requestor has the ability to make a request under that legislation
  • consider all information
  • identify whether we have any relevant information about te tamaiti, rangatahi or other person concerned
  • ensure that the information we are considering disclosing is in alignment with the legislative purposes for releasing the information
  • use our professional judgement to decide what information should be shared
  • respond to requests with urgency
  • ensure the information given is accurate and free from bias
  • identify if there are other possible sources of information
  • consult with te tamaiti, rangatahi or person the information relates to if practicable or appropriate
  • consider whether the person concerned knows about the information we hold about them and how this might affect our consultation with them.

Proactive disclosure of information

We can share information without receiving a request for information if we believe disclosure would benefit the oranga (wellbeing) and interests of a tamaiti or rangatahi.

If we hold information that might be relevant to others to support the oranga (wellbeing or safety) of tamariki and rangatahi, we must:

  • identify which legislation we will make the disclosure under
  • confirm that the agency or person we want disclose to is covered by the legislation
  • identify the relevant information about te tamaiti, rangatahi or other person concerned
  • ensure that the information we are considering disclosing aligns with the legislative purposes for releasing the information
  • use our professional judgement to decide what information should be disclosed
  • ensure the information given is accurate and free from bias
  • consult with te tamaiti, rangatahi or person the information relates to if practicable or appropriate
  • consider whether the person concerned knows about the information we hold about them and how this might affect our consultation with them.