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Research access to Ministry of Social Development information


MSD receives many requests for access to clients, staff or information (both historical and current) for research purposes. While we encourage good quality research and evaluation we also have a statutory duty of care to our clients and staff, and responsibilities about the personal information we hold. We carefully consider and control the impact of research access on our operations.

The Research Access Coordinator is the contact for any external access enquiries and manages the process that evaluates all applications for research access.

Formal application for research access must be submitted by those seeking:

  • to contact MSD clients or staff, current or past
  • access to any personal information about clients or staff, current or past.

Aggregate or non-personal information requests about MSD activity do not need an application. For MSD aggregate or non-personal information requests go to MSD’s online enquiry form and select "Other enquiries".

Change to Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children

Research access applications for Oranga Tamariki should continue to be submitted to the Research Access Coordinator. These will then be referred on for consideration by the appropriate Ministry. In due course, Oranga Tamariki will establish separate research access arrangements.

Aggregate or non-personal information requests about Oranga Tamariki activity do not need an application. Oranga Tamariki aggregate or non-personal information requests should be directed to the Oranga Tamariki general enquiries email.

Who can apply?

  • MSD/Oranga Tamariki staff undertaking research for a university course or as part of sabbatical leave
  • Tertiary institution staff
  • Post-graduate students
  • Researchers employed by government agencies (other than MSD/Oranga Tamariki)
  • Commercial research companies
  • Individual contractors or consultants
  • Research fellows
  • Visiting scholars.

MSD staff undertaking a project that is part of the work programme do not need to apply.

Contact the Research Access Coordinator if you have already started your research.

How to apply

  1. Contact the Research Access Coordinator
  2. Enquire about the process and / or request the appropriate application materials
  3. Complete the Application form and return them by email to the Research Access Coordinator or post it to the address below.

Mail should be sent to the relevant Ministry:

Ministry of Social Development
Research Access Coordinator
Research and Evaluation Unit
Ministry of Social Development
PO Box 1556
Wellington 6140

Oranga Tamariki
Research Access Coordinator
Research and Evaluation Unit
Oranga Tamariki
PO Box 546
Wellington 6140

The approval process

The approval process takes about eight weeks after all documentation is received. Some applications may take longer.

All requests for research access are primarily considered in terms of the potential impact on clients, staff and effective operations. We also consider the possible value of the research to MSD/Oranga Tamariki and the likely quality of the proposed research given the proposed design, methodology and researcher experience. We will assess whether your proposed research demonstrates an understanding of the sensitivity of the access, and whether you adequately address issues of privacy, security of data, consent and impact issues.

If your application is successful and you pass a Police safety check we will send you a formal approval letter and confidentiality agreement outlining the conditions of access. You will need to sign and return the confidentiality form to us before you will be allowed access to any MSD/Oranga Tamariki information.

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