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Executive summary

This paper accompanies the release of an online interactive tool called Insights (see insights.apps.treasury.govt.nz). Insights uses anonymous data from Statistics NZ's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and presents it in an accessible way, allowing users to visualise integrated government data at a detailed geographical level. This paper summarises the content of the different parts of the Insights tool, describes the approach taken, outlines high level findings, and illustrates how the tool can be used to develop insights at a local level.

Insights provides evidence to inform policies and services, with the current content focussed on at-risk children and youth. It replaces the Social Investment Insights (SII) tool, which was launched in February 2016, and provides updated information on children and youth at risk of poor outcomes, new content, and new ways to visualise and map the data presented.

The information previously provided by the SII tool on children and youth at risk of poor outcomes has been updated to 2015. The definition of the study population has been refined. Some measures have been improved, and new ways of visualising the results have been developed. The new results presented in Insights are broadly consistent with those presented in the SII tool.

Insights also presents new information on young people's activities and outcomes as they transition to adulthood, such as their rates of participation in employment, education and training. These outcomes can be graphed according to whether a young person was identified as being at-risk at age 15, and can be analysed at a detailed geographical level within broad age groups. Risk measures at age 15 are shown to be predictive of poorer future outcomes through to age 24, while the extent of this varies somewhat across New Zealand.

Finally, Insights includes some new experimental results on the extent to which educational and employment services are accessed by children and youth at risk. Almost all services targeted at improving educational and employment outcomes are disproportionately likely to be accessed by children and youth who are considered to be at risk, consistent with the intent of these services. Nevertheless, the coverage of services varies across New Zealand, with more analysis needed to understand this in the context of specific services.

The range of services currently included in Insights is limited. Future work will seek to include a more complete set of service information such as health and social services.

While the results highlight the power of using integrated administrative data in new and innovative ways, some of the methods are exploratory in nature. Caution should be taken in interpreting the results of any detailed analysis undertaken using Insights. Population coverage errors, linkage errors and biases present mean that detailed results should not be viewed as necessarily being highly accurate.

The Treasury will continue to develop Insights over time, extending the content of the information it contains about children and youth, improving the way data can be visualised, and incorporating new areas of analysis.

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