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DPUP — purpose statement examples 

A purpose statement explains why you need to collect or use someone’s information. They’re a key building block for a number of things, such as privacy statements, privacy impact assessments and consent forms.

Not every purpose statement will look the same. What’s in it will depend on what the intended outcome is, what the purpose is, what information is needed and the circumstances of its collection.

There are times when it’s not possible to be 100% specific about some of these things. This might be reasonable or it might be a sign that more thinking needs to happen.

These example purpose statements are fictitious but give an idea of how defining and explaining purpose and the related issues can come together.

Example 1 — government agency purpose statement for a research project

The words in brackets show where the different aspects of a purpose statement are covered.

The project aims to understand the circumstances of people who live in unhealthy homes in Town 2 and what makes it hard for them to access healthy homes. (What is the purpose) This learning will be used by decision makers in Government Agency X who work on housing policy. (What is the purpose) Healthy homes mean less illness and stress for New Zealanders. If we have a better understanding of people’s circumstances and the barriers they face, then we can design programmes that improve access to healthier homes. (Why the purpose is important — the outcome or goal)

The information being used for this research is from people on Government Agency X’s social housing list and who Service Provider Y helps with housing issues. (Who the information is about)

The information that will identify people:

  • Who they are: name, date of birth, Agency number. (What is needed for the purpose) This will be matched with:
    • Ministry W’s information to get accurate information about financial support people have got for housing (Data matching)
    • Ministry of Health information to find out if anyone has had health issues common in unhealthy houses (Data matching)
    • What support services or supports each person or household accessed in the last 3 years. (What is needed for the purpose)

The information that will not identify people is (What is needed):

  • People's views and experiences of living in an unhealthy home, how they’ve tried to access other housing and what that was like. (What is needed)
  • Information about the physical houses and locations (such as size, heating, issues with mould, unsafe structures, access to public transport). (What is needed)
  • Not street names or actual addresses. (What will not be used)

A small team of data analysts at Government Agency X, Ministry W and Ministry of Health will see information that identifies people so they can do the matching. A larger team of researchers and policy staff will see the information that does not identify people. The overall findings will be used across all the agencies and made public. When this happens there will be no way to know who the people were. (Who will see it)

People can choose to provide information about their experiences, but they do not have to. (The choices people have)

People who work with Service Provider Y can choose if any of their information is passed to Government Agency X. (The choices people have)

People on Government Agency X's waitlist do not have a choice about their information being used this way. This is because it is important to understand more about this issue so good decisions can be made about the choices people have. (The choices people have)

The Social Security Act and Privacy Act both allow information to be used this way. (What laws allow this)

Example 2 — outline of a data sharing purpose statement for sharing data between social services and a government agency

This example outlines the purpose statement for requiring data to be shared between Government Agency A and City Centre Social Services (CCSS) to Government Agency A. This data is about the delivery of the 'Best foot forward' parenting programme. It is less of a statement and more of an outline because it attaches a full list of the exact data needed.

In this example it’s likely CCSS would use the same information for its own internal purposes (like staying in touch with participants and managing the delivery of the programme by staff). As they get ready to deliver the programme and collect the information, they would develop their own purpose statement in addition to this, or that incorporates these purposes. Keep in mind that participants should know both CCSS's and Government Agency A’s purpose.

This example is in a table as this format best suits the information, for example this is how contracting agreements are often presented.

Table 1: Example 2

Data will be shared between Government Agency A and City Centre Social Services.
Data sharing relates to The delivery of the ‘Best foot forward’ parenting programme.
The reasons for data sharing (What is the purpose and why the purpose matters)
  • Help Government Agency A understand the programme's reach across the country, what the participants' circumstances are and how the programme is helping as part of being accountable for the funding.
  • Help Government Agency A provide advice on possible changes to the programme or similar programmes (including possible expansion or ending of programmes, development of additional parts to the programme, changes to funding requirements and workforce implications or needs).
  • Provide lessons and ideas for the development of other social services so they can be useful and meaningful.
  • Provide information to report to government or other key stakeholders on the overall delivery of social services across New Zealand to make sure New Zealanders are receiving the best support possible.
Data access (Who will see it)

At Government Agency A, staff working in the following roles will have access to the data but will not have access to any information that does or could identify service users:

  • relationship manager who works with CCSS
  • data analysts and researchers
  • operational support staff involved in managing the overall funding and delivery of the 'Best foot forward' programme nationwide
  • policy analysts.

Access to any advice, insights or programme evaluation results in general may be more widely available. Any information that identifies CCSS directly will be discussed with them first.

What data is required (What is needed)

Data about enrolment, delivery and completion of the course. This includes information about the people who enrol and about CCSS activities. Details are outlined in the 'Quarterly reporting requirements'.

All information provided to Government Agency A should be anonymous — please do not provide any information that could identify people.

Participants’ choices (Choices)

Participants should be told what information about them is provided that relates to the quarterly reporting requirements. However, it is not a choice.

As well as the data, CCSS is encouraged to provide short case examples or stories about the delivery of the programme, what participants think of it, how it has helped them, and so on. This should be anonymous. However, participants should be asked for their permission, encouraged to be involved in creating the case studies and given an understanding of how doing so may help people in similar circumstances.

Possible additional data or information sharing (What is needed)

Government Agency A may develop a proposal for analysis, research or evaluation of the programme that needs more information than is outlined in the quarterly reporting requirements.

If that happens, CCSS will be involved in deciding what information is needed, how to collect it, who from and what choices participants will have about that.

Quarterly reporting requirements (What is needed)

Course enrolment data required:

  • number of new adult participants in the adults programme
  • number of children or young people cared for by new adult participants
  • number of new children / young people enrolled in the children's programme
  • referral sources for new participants and number of referrals per source
  • reasons for referral
  • gender of participants
  • relationship status of adult participants
  • custody / care arrangements of adult / child or young person.

Course delivery data required:

  • number of adult group sessions
  • number of adult one-to-one sessions
  • number of child or young person group sessions
  • number of home visit sessions
  • number of referrals made to Oranga Tamariki (count each referral even if they involve the same child or young person)
  • number of children referrals to Oranga Tamariki (count each child once if referred multiple times)
  • number of referrals made to other social agencies
  • number of referrals made to health services
  • number of referrals made to education services.

Course completion data required:

  • number of adults, children and young people who completed the programme
  • number of adults, children and young people who left before completion
  • number of adults, child or young people who reported they achieved their self-chosen goals either fully, partly or not at all
  • number of adults, children or young people who achieved the facilitator-assessed learnings fully, partly or not at all.

Example 3 — purpose statement about using data and information for delivery support

This purpose statement is about the use of data and information for delivery support for women who experienced family harm. It is written with the service user as the audience.

This is the information about you we record, why we record it and who sees it. (What is the purpose, Who will see it and Choices)

  • Your name, phone number and address. This is so we can contact you. We can’t enrol you in our service if we do not have this information.
    • Staff who manage appointments and the staff who run the programmes see this.
    • A short description of your experiences of family harm, if you’ve had support from other organisations and the ways you take care of yourself.
  • This is so the people who work with you can understand enough to help you.
    • You can choose how much to tell us — but the more we understand the better we can help you.
    • Staff who run the programmes and the supervisor who looks after them see this information.
    • A short note after every one-to-one session that says what you talked about and what we’ve agreed.
    • You can choose how much to talk about in these sessions — but the more we know the better we can help you.
  • Staff who run the programmes and the supervisor who looks after them see this information.
    • You can see what we write and can ask us to change it if you think it’s wrong.
    • What is the purpose and what it is used for

We use information about the people we work with like you, without your name or anything that identifies you, to help us understand: (What is the purpose and what it is used for)

  • how our service is going, how many people it is helping or how it could help other people
  • what training staff might need to do their job better
  • what other money or resources we need or what other services or organisations we should work with so we can help people better.

We summarise information about people we work with, without names or anything that can show who they are, to tell other organisations: (What is the purpose and what is used)

  • how many people have worked with us, if they found it helpful and how, why people come to us for help
  • the kind of support people in our community need and if they can get it.

This is because want to encourage government and other groups to do more and to support us with funding or resources.

Other organisations will never see copies of your notes and never know who you are. (Who sees it) If you do not agree we will only count you as a person who has accessed our services and provide no other information.(Choices)

Your other choices about your information: (Choices)

  • You can choose if we give another service any information that shows who you are. But if we think you or children you’re looking after will be hurt we might let the police or Oranga Tamariki know even if you do not want us to. This is because your safety and children’s safety is very important. Whenever we can, we will talk with you about this first.
  • The law (the Privacy Act 2020) says that collecting and using your information in this way is okay. The Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines also tell us about when or how we should share information about people with other organisations. (What laws allow this)
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