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Commitment 8 progress report: June to December 2018

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2018-2020

Progress report for: June 2018 – December 2018

Commitment 8 progress report: June to December 2018


Commitment 8: Review of government use of algorithms

Lead agency: Stats NZ (working with Government Chief Digital Officer, Department of Internal Affairs)

Objective: To increase the transparency and accountability of how government uses algorithms.

Ambition: To ensure New Zealanders are informed and have confidence in how the government uses algorithms – automatic decision-making processes used by computer programmes – to identify patterns in data.

OGP values: Transparency, Accountability



Milestone 1

Complete an initial review of existing operational algorithms and their use across a range of government agencies

Start/End dates: 1 June 2018 to 31 October 2018

Progress: Completed

Milestone 2

Consider next steps for all-of-government assurance related to the use of algorithms in collaboration with Civil Society representatives

Start/End dates: 31 October 2018 to 28 February 2019

Progress: Underway

Milestone 3

Update this commitment (and its milestones) to reflect progress made in previous milestones

Start/End dates: 1 March 2019 to 31 March 2019


What we have been doing

  • We reviewed the development and use of algorithms in 14 government agencies, focusing on operational algorithms – those that result in or materially inform decision which impact significantly on individuals or groups. We looked at how these agencies are using algorithms to support their work, how these have been developed, and the safeguards that are in place.
  • A report presenting the initial findings of the review was published on 25 October 2018.
  • We are working on how to progress a response to the recommendations made in the Algorithm Assessment Report.

How we are including diverse voices

  • How we progress a response to the recommendations and our next steps includes developing an engagement plan to seek input from diverse communities.

How we are keeping diverse communities informed

  • This will be part of the engagement plan currently being developed.

What’s next?

  • Updating this commitment and its milestones, in March.
  • Publishing and implementing our engagement plan.

Links – Evidence of progress and milestones achieved

Algorithm assessment report

Algorithm assessment agency submissions

Report provides valuable insights into algorithm use (blogpost)