The SSC produces an annual report from the collection for Cabinet consideration, including statistical analysis and commentary. A version of this report is made publicly available. Regular reports are produced from the collection for the purposes of monitoring EEO progress and personnel management. Reports are also produced to provide information for comparison, for instance, with other public sector jurisdictions.
The SSC also produces a set of reports for departments on the department's own data, and with that provides a set of reports on the public service as a whole. These reports are made available to the department via a secure Internet site, and central agency staff also have access via their Intranets (specific terms and conditions of use apply - see Appendix 4).
From time to time, the SSC also produces other reports. These may form part of advice to Ministers or be intended for publication, and look at trends in HR management across the Public Service. Reports containing department-specific data are available to the department concerned and central agency staff.
The SSC has developed a tool for users to run customised queries of the database, without giving them access to unit record data. This tool is available to SSC staff through the SSC Intranet, and to other users through the Internet. Users in departments can run queries relating to their department and to the Public Service as a whole. Other users (such as researchers) can run queries about the Public Service but not about individual departments. A small number of Treasury staff have access to the DataSlicer tool, on the understanding that SSC is to be consulted before use or release of any information gathered through that tool.
All reports generated from the HR Capability survey are subject to statistical limits that ensure no individual person or organisation can inadvertently be identified from the figures produced. We have developed these limits in consultation with Statistics NZ.
All external requests for information held by the SSC (including information obtained from departments) are covered by the Official Information Act 1982, regardless of the form of the request. All reports that could identify neither a person nor an individual department will be released in response to an official information request.
The SSC is required by the Official Information Act 1982 (section 14) to transfer requests that relate more closely to the functions of another department to the department, unless the department requests the SSC to respond on its behalf. The SSC's view is that all requests for departmental data from the HRC survey would meet this criterion.
From time to time, there may be requests for information on individual departments that could be more efficiently responded to by SSC, on behalf of departments. Where these occur, the SSC will advise departments of the request and offer to provide a response. If departments prefer to respond themselves, the request will be referred on.
The Official Information Act does not compel the SSC to release data on individuals. Section 9 (2) of the Official Information Act provides that personal information relating to an individual may be withheld to:
(a) Protect the privacy of natural persons, including that of deceased natural persons.
From time to time SSC may be requested to provide information to Select Committees. Select Committees have wide powers. A Select Committee may direct that any person be summoned to produce papers and records in that person's possession, custody or control, that are relevant to the committee's proceedings (Standing Order 198(2)). In this respect the SSC is no different to any person or organisation in either the public or private sectors and is obliged to comply with such a request.
In complying with any requests from Select Committees the SSC will advise any departments about whom information is to be released. Where practical, the SSC will incorporate any comment or contextual information that the department wishes to provide as part of the response.
The Cabinet Office Manual 2001 notes that there may be a good reason to prevent information from release to a Select Committee and that a useful test to apply is the criteria in the Official Information Act. While this does not prevent the release of information on departments, section 9(2) of that Act (noted above) allows for information that could identify individuals to be withheld.
Where Parliamentary Questions or Ministerials relate to individual departments (other than SSC) they will be referred to the Minister responsible for that department (under Standing Order 369 and clause 2.26 of the Cabinet Office Manual 2001).
The SSC provides advice to Ministers on matters concerning departments. This advice may be supported by data obtained from the HRC survey. SSC policy is that departments are consulted in the development of this advice and are provided with copies of any advice given. The exception is where there is a specific request from a Minister for the advice to be confidential.
Occasionally SSC will refer to data on a third department when providing advice on a department. Where this occurs the reference to the third department will be removed (and the removal marked) from any copies supplied to the department with whom the advice is concerned.
The SSC will provide any information on departments that is requested by the Minister of State Services and will normally consult the departments concerned before providing this advice. If the request comes from a Minister other than the Minister of State Services, the SSC will refer the request to the Minister responsible for that portfolio (under clause 2.161 of the Cabinet Office Manual 2001).