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 (replacing the Privacy Act 1993 on 1 December 2020) — Privacy and Official Information (POI) requests.
Things to consider when sharing information
Information sharing can occur at any stage of your involvement with te tamaiti and their whānau. When gathering or disclosing information we must:
- keep the safety, wellbeing and best interests of tamariki and their whānau at the centre of what we do
- ensure the voice of te tamaiti 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
- share in good faith and in line with your 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.
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 in order to promote the wellbeing of te tamaiti, and their families, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family groups in order to fulfil the purposes of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 which includes:
- supporting and protecting tamariki 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 from suffering harm, abuse, neglect, ill treatment or deprivation, or responding to these
- prevent tamariki 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 (including their development needs, and the need for a safe, stable and loving home)
- ensuring that tamariki 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
- recognising mana tamaiti, whakapapa and the practice of whanaungatanga for tamariki
- maintaining and strengthening the relationship between tamariki and their families, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups and siblings
- responding to alleged offending and offending by tamariki 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
- holds tamariki to account and encourage them to accept responsibility for their behaviour.
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 the whānau
- discussing your 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 before information about them is shared under section 66C.
Information to provide when making a request
When requesting information we must state:
- the name and sufficient information about te tamaiti (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 is and why we are requesting this information today
- how the request for information relates to the safety, wellbeing or best interest of te tamaiti
- whether te tamaiti 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 their representative if a request is being made for information about te tamaiti under section 66C and the information sharing relates to information about te tamaiti
- when the information is needed
- your 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 (replacing the Privacy Act 1993 on 1 December 2020)
You 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 you wish to make, for example when working with young adults. Use these provisions in consultation with your manager, supervisor and legal advisor.
You 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.
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 or person concerned
- ensure that the information you are considering disclosing is in alignment with the legislative purposes for releasing the information
- use your 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 or person the information relates to if practicable or appropriate.