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Gov should defer collecting personal data for social services

Media Release 15 March 2017

Government should defer collecting personal data for all social services

ComVoices welcomes the announcement today that the sexual violence service providers have been exempted from providing MSD with identifiable data on clients for a year.

ComVoices chair, Brenda Pilott, said that it was welcome news that the government was listening to the concerns from service providers and others and has identified “specific and additional considerations” that apply in this sector.

“However, the government is wrong to think that such considerations are limited to sexual violence services. Many clients of social services have concerns about safety and confidentiality. Services such as problem gambling and other forms of addiction, mental health, suicide prevention, family violence all deal with sensitive information on vulnerable clients and this makes providing identifiable personal information to government agencies problematic at best and risky at worst”, said Brenda Pilott.

ComVoices wrote last week to the Prime Minister and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley asking for a halt to the MSD timeframe which intends to impose contract requirements to provide personal data from 1 July 2017.

Brenda Pilott said: “We asked ministers to pause and allow government and providers to work through the issues that are of concern. This decision on sexual violence services shows this is possible and we are calling on the government to widen this to all social services.”

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations.

ComVoices.org.nz

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