Information and data management

All government websites and content need to be fit for purpose and demonstrate consistency with government strategies and policies. They must also comply with mandatory standards and legislation.

This guide has been developed to support an online information and data management framework for agencies to use and adapt to develop good practices. It should be applied to new and existing content, sites and services online, to help you meet a baseline of good practice online.

How to apply these guidelines

There is increasing variation in what we consider a ‘website’ these days. It can range from static informational sites to collections of content including calculators, training tools and interactive guides, to fully transactional systems dealing with people’s personal information. Consequently there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to information and data management online — good practice depends on the nature of the material you’re dealing with.

These guidelines provide practical advice for web owners and web managers on the key elements they need to consider in order to effectively manage government online information and data.

You should use them as a minimum baseline of points for consideration when developing or evaluating strategies for managing the lifecycle of online content and services. They should be used to inform risk assessment and management strategies for compliance with mandatory standards and legislation.

Website owners and managers should engage specialist advice from records or information management teams — or external resources as appropriate — where they do not have the expertise to evaluate these guidelines.

Principles of good information and data management

Records management principles and goals, and the New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles are directly relevant to online information. They should be applied to all government online records.

When combined with requirements for protecting people’s privacy and managing security online, they support characteristics that help people have confidence in government online information and have trust in their interactions with government in an online environment.

NZ Data and Information Management Principles

The Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, approved by Cabinet in August 2011, is supported by the accompanying Data and Information Management Principles.

The Principles require that the data and information government holds on behalf of the public must be open, trusted and authoritative, well managed, readily available, without charge where possible, and reusable, both legally and technically. Personal and classified data and information must be protected.

More detail on the Principles can be found on the ICT.govt.nz website.

Web information as a public record

The Public Records Act 2005 makes all central and local government organisations responsible for creating and maintaining full and accurate records of their activities. This includes activities undertaken on their behalf by independent contractors.

Records:

  • provide documentation, or evidence, of activities
  • include both original sources of information and copies of information
  • come in a variety of media/formats such as paper, electronic (analogue or digital), and can be documents, letters, emails, digital images, sound recordings, or web pages.

Online government information is a public record. Material we publish or services we provide online support the public’s interactions with government. It is critical that all government websites demonstrate minimum standards of good practice in managing information and data online.

These requirements and principles, combined with requirements for protecting people’s privacy and managing security online, support characteristics that help people have confidence in government online information and have trust in their interactions with government in an online environment.

Characteristic Helps people to have…
Authenticity …confidence they are genuinely dealing with government information and services.
Integrity …trust that information they receive or submit is protected from inappropriate modification, and that it is complete, accurate and trustworthy.
Reliability …certainty that they can rely on the information provided to inform their decision-making, and their interactions with government are accurate for their circumstances.
Usability …ready access to information or services, regardless of their choice of technology, their ability, or their knowledge of government.
Privacy …confidence that their personal information is secure, and kept private, in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles.
Security …assurance that their interactions with government are protected from disclosure to or compromise by unauthorised parties.

Evaluating your content and services against these guidelines will help you have confidence that you are demonstrating good practice by taking practical measures to reinforce these characteristics when managing information and data online, and well placed to comply with mandatory standards and legislation.

To assist you, these guidelines cover the following topics in the content lifecycle:

The content on these pages is summarised in this downloadable wall-chart for quick reference (MS Word, 100kB).

More information