What has changed in the July 2022 Classification System policy?

What has changed in the July 2022 Classification System policy?

The Classification System policy has been strengthened to drive wider systems and culture change across government in support of achieving the objectives for the classification system.​

The areas that have been strengthened in the policy:  ​

  • Introduced policy principles and expected behaviours in line with current legislation​
  • Greater emphasis on enabling secure sharing of information and systematic declassification.​
  • Strengthened and clarified existing requirements under each of the principles.​
  • Simplified / updated requirements and guidance to resolve gaps in content and to better integrate with modern ICT systems and practices. ​

What about simplification of the System? Why didn’t you simplify the System? Are you planning to? 

  • ​The 2022 changes did not simplify the classification system as recommended by the IGIS in their 2018 review of the classification system. The structure and levels of classification have not changed.
  • We recognize that simplifying the System was identified as a high priority by all of the agencies involved in the review project in 2019 and 2020. That review found that simplifying the system will require significant resources across government to undertake. We did not receive approval from Cabinet to commit those resources at this time.  ​
  • We will let these current changes run for a couple years and reassess how important simplification of the System still is for all of us after these changes are substantially embedded across Government.​

What has not changed as a result of the 2022 policy?​

  • The structure, levels and definitions of the Classification System – the ones approved by Cabinet in 2000 still apply today.  However, we have added simple guidance and more examples to make it easier for agencies to understand them and apply them more consistently.​
  • PSR mandatory requirements – though PSR CMM and self assessment has introduced some specific measures for Classification System performance​.
  • Secure handling requirements have largely not changed​.
  • Legislative requirements are unchanged. The policy has more closely aligned with the requirements under current law (OIA, Privacy Act, Public Records Act). We received substantial support from the Offices of the Ombudsman, Chief Archivist, and Privacy Commissioner to ensure the revised policy supports the current legislation and existing guidance provided by those offices.

 What new has been delivered?