Summary: DDEWG meeting 21 March 2022

Date: 21 March 2022

Time: 9.30am-12.30pm

Venue: Online via Teams


 Government agencies:

  • Office for Disability Issues: Brian Coffey (chair), Dr Catherine Brennan, Sarah Fuhrer and Shama Kukkady
  • Stats NZ: Robbie Blakelock, Katy Auberson, Sophie Flynn
  • Ministry of Health: Dr Adam Dalgleish and Bridget Murphy
  • Oranga Tamariki: Elodie Green and James McIlraith
  • Social Wellbeing Agency: Craig Wright
  • NZTA: Samantha Eastman
  • ACC: Tina Cronshaw
  • Health Quality and Safety Commission: Karen Schwoerer
  • Education Review Office: Mei Lin Harley
  • Waitemata DHB: Wesley Pigg

 Independent agencies:

  • Human Rights Commission: Frances Anderson and Kerri Kruse

  • Office of the Ombudsman: Andrew McCaw

 Disabled People’s Organisations Coalition:

  • Jonathan Godfrey
  • Tristram Ingham 

 New Zealand Disability Support Network:

  •  Monica Munro


  • Stats NZ: Dr Claire Bretherton
  • Ministry of Social Development: Anne Hawker
  • Health Quality and Safety Commission: Richard Hamblin
  • Donald Beasley Institute: Brigit Mirfin-Veitch

1. Welcome, introducing new members and approve December meeting summary & papers for uploading to Office for Disability Issues website


2. Revision of workstreams

Paper 1 – Review of DDEWG meeting minutes                          

Prior to DDEWG meeting, leaders of the workstreams met to discuss progress so far and future of workstreams.

Key points:

  1. DDEWG members agreed to keep the existing structure of 4 workstreams: Research; Access to Disability Data (previously known as Access to government Data and IDI); Engagement and Communications (which also encompasses the previous Resources workstream); Reporting.
  2. The topics of intra-disability equity and intersectionality do not have a clearly laid out position in the four workstreams (for example, te ao Māori understanding of disability). The possibility of creating a new workstream was discussed, but the group also discussed the scope of DDEWG.

When DDEWG was set-up in 2015, the purpose of the group was to provide high-level oversight and strategic direction for disability data efforts. Lately it has transformed into being a support network, providing advice to data users & researchers.  The purpose and long-term future of this working group needs to be decided upon when ODI, Stats NZ and MSD leads are present. 

  1. With no clear-cut work programme, the Research workstream is currently on hold while it’s future is being decided on. It was suggested the Research workstream could be responsible for creating a repository of existing research – however, this might fit better in the Resource workstream.

Members of DDEWG reached out to universities 5 years ago to gather their research and they weren’t particularly responsive. ODI will take responsibility for research repository, and it will be hosted on the ODI website. 

3. Update on engagement and capability building workstream

Paper 2 – Administrative data report back

In situations where only one identity question is possible, “Are you a disabled person?” is still the preferred question. But limiting to one question will reduce the amount of people who resonate or identify. A more inclusive set of questions (for example, including “Are you a person with disabilities?”) means more people will self-identify.

Disabled people were consulted in May 2021 and said the priority of this work must be ensuring people can access the services they need; identity data collection is secondary.

It was suggested that the length of the current question set needs to be shortened. 20+ questions is too long to ask in many settings.

DDEWG needs to come up with pragmatic advice to pass on to agencies; advice that is dependent on context.

It is likely that a universally applicable template cannot be created. Instead DDEWG will provide advice and from this, agencies will need to develop something that works for them.

4. Update on access to government data and IDI workstream                                    

Oral item - update on the outcome’s framework.    

ODI has completed a stocktake on what data is already publicly available for the eight areas of the Outcomes Framework. The results of this stocktake are being published on the ODI website. Publishing has begun (one area published so far).                                                                                     

5. Update on resources workstream

Oral item – update on the resources project with Synergia.

ODI has contracted Synergia (contract almost completed) to create a webpage that will hold a depository of resources. This will be hosted within ODI’s website. The webpage will hold a collection of information and good examples of disability data from government agencies and NGOs.

The webpage is divided into three sections: survey data, admin data, and research & evidence. Within each of these three sections, there will be both examples and guidance resources.

The webpage will need to be maintained as-and-when new data & evidence is made available. Maintenance plans TBC.

6. Social Wellbeing Agency update disability data definition and COVID-19 vaccination coverage

Oral item

The Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) have updated the disability data definition in the IDI to better capture 5–11-year-olds as the WGSS is not very sensitive to children with disability, particularly under the age of 9 years. They are using the updated definition to calculate COVID vaccination coverage for disabled and non-disabled children aged 5-11 years by ethnic group.

For children aged 5-11, vaccination rates tended to be higher for disabled children. For MELAA and Asian, the rates were similar for disabled and non-disabled children. For Māori and Pacific (and to a lesser extent, European) vaccination coverage was higher for disabled children. But Māori and Pasifica rates were much lower than the rates of over ethnic groups.

So while equity was present for disabled children within their own ethnic groups, Māori and Pacific disabled children had lower vaccination rates than the overall average.

By region – vaccination equity (or better) occurs across all regions except for the Capital and Coast DHB where non-disabled children had a slightly higher vaccination rate than disabled children. However, Capital and Coast still had among the highest vaccination rates in the country for both disabled and non-disabled children. 

7. Update on PPNHI Project and other disability data work by MoH

Oral item

An update on the PPNHI project, discussion of the Waitangi Tribunal treaty breach finding in relation to disability data across government and a discussion about data on disabled tamariki me rangatahi.                                

8. Update on Evaluation of education provision for disabled learners (Education Review Office)

Paper 3 - Evaluation of Quality of Education Provision for Disabled learners in schools and early learning (conducted by ERO in partnership with ODI and HRC)

So far nearly 500 parents have contributed, nearly 100 principals and 600 teachers have contributed to the evaluation. The pandemic has negatively affected response rates.

There has been some push-back on the terminology “disabled learner” with some schools refusing to pass on the survey with this language.

In addition to decile rating, analysis will be done by region and school size (number of pupils).

Evaluations for this project are continuing.

9. Additional member updates

Stats NZ have drafted out the content for the 2023 Disability Survey. Stats NZ will share draft content with DDEWG members soon. 

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