ELI privacy information

This page outlines the obligations and legal requirements for organisations to manage and protect the information collected, accessed and submitted through ELI. Links to the relevant legislation described in these paragraphs can be found at the bottom of each paragraph. 

Privacy Act 2020

The Privacy Act 2020 aims to promote and protect individual privacy and requires careful treatment of all personal information. This law applies to the Early Learning Information (ELI) system. 

Privacy Act 2020  NZ Legislation(external link)

The Ministry has the authority to assign National Student Numbers under Schedule 24 of the Education and Training Act 2020. Principle 13 of the Privacy Act 2020 prevents the National Student Number (NSN), or other numbers such as the National Health Index number, or tax number, becoming a single national number.

Education and Training Act 2020, Schedule 24  NZ Legislation(external link)

Section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020 gives the Ministry the authority to set funding conditions. These conditions are communicated to early learning services through the ECE Funding Handbook.
Section 619 of the Education and Training Act 2020 authorises the Ministry to collect information for the purposes of administering the Education and Training Act 2020.

The Ministry collects information from early learning services to enable the Secretary for Education or the Minister of Education to exercise their powers or carry out their responsibilities under the Education and Training Act 2020, and as permitted by Privacy Principles 10 and 11. 

Education and Training Act 2020 Section 548 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Education and Training Act 2020 Section 619 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles Office of the Privacy Commissioner(external link)

Use of National Student Numbers

In accordance with Schedule 24 of the Education and Training Act 2020, we will will use National Student Numbers for:

  • monitoring and ensuring student enrolment and attendance
  • encouraging attendance at early childhood services
  • ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing
  • statistical purposes
  • research purposes
  • ensuring student’s educational records are accurately maintained.

Protecting the privacy of individuals

With the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, we conducted a full privacy impact assessment for the ELI system.

  • Extensive security testing on the ELI system is regularly undertaken by the Ministry.
  • All ELI data is encrypted as it is sent to the Ministry.
  • ELI stores all data securely with the 'in confidence' security classification to New Zealand Government standards.

All activity on the National Student Index is monitored and recorded by the Ministry. The Ministry's Code of Conduct sets out the requirements for its staff. The Ministry's Code of Conduct states misuse or disclosure of official information, which includes all personal information, could result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. Early learning services must not search for children who are not enrolled in the service they are employed by. 

We strongly advise early learning services put in place appropriate processes to ensure that the privacy of information for enrolled children is maintained. Early learning services must ensure they meet their responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020.

Access to ELI data

Early learning services should limit ELI access to authorised users to submit accurate information to the Ministry, and to meet obligations for the careful treatment of personal information under the Privacy Act 2020.

Early learning services are responsible for ensuring that information collected about individuals is kept private in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020. This includes information like names, date of birth and addresses. Early learning services should keep evidence showing they have sighted a child's official identification document but are discouraged from keeping copies.

Photocopying proof of identity – Office of the Privacy Commissioner(external link)

Authorised users at early learning services are required to use a logon and password to access ELI and can only access data related to their own service.

Authorised users refer to:

  • The Service Provider Contact or delegated representative(s) for the purpose of submitting data to the Ministry.

  • Ministry data analysts or delegated representatives for business purposes, such as the purpose of educational research, statistics, monitoring, funding, reporting to Government and the public, and resourcing.

Under the Privacy Act 2020, each parent has the right to ask for a copy of any personal information the Ministry holds about their tamaiti | child, and to ask for it to be corrected if they think it is wrong. If parents want a copy of their tamaiti | child information, or to have it corrected, they can contact their early learning service or the Ministry at eli.queries@education.govt.nz.

ELI principles of use

The Ministry worked with the ECE Sector Advisory Group to develop seven principles of use for ELI. These describe shared responsibilities, access to data, timeliness, ability to correct errors, and obligations of the Privacy Act 2020.

You can view and download the principles of use document.

To find out more information about the Privacy Act and how to comply, you can view the act on the NZ Legislation website.

Privacy Act 2020 – NZ Legislation(external link)

The Privacy Commissioner website contains a quick tour of the 13 privacy principles that govern how you should collect, handle and use personal information.

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