Data Governance Guidelines


These guidelines apply to institutional data of the University as defined in the policy and all staff members and students of the University.


These guidelines support the Data Governance Policy and related Data Governance Procedures.

The guidelines examine how the principles may be applied to specific data governance situations. They provide frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and illustrative examples to assist staff and students in identifying how to respond to data governance issues.


The University is working to strengthen understanding and improve clarity of the governance and management of institutional information.

The guiding principles for data governance are outlined in the Data Governance Policy. The guidelines and examples in this document support the implementation of data governance across the University.

Frequently asked questions

What is data governance at the University?

Data governance are the activities that focus on improving data quality, protecting access to data, establishing business definitions, maintaining metadata and documenting data policies.

Who owns the data at the University?

Data are owned by the University. No individual, department, division, school or group “owns” data at the University. Specific units bear some responsibility for certain data.

For example: The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Operations) and Registrar is the Data Custodian for financial information at the University. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the data steward for the finance information. The CFO has operational level responsibility for the management of financial information. The CFO may delegate responsibility for specific financial information such as the General Ledger information to staff within Finance.

Is data quality part of data governance?

Data quality is part of data governance and will be managed to encourage the resolution of issues by data stewards but provides for escalation of unresolved issues.

For example: If inconsistencies in data or data elements are identified through, e.g. validation reports, the data quality issue should be raised with the data steward or their nominated delegate. If the issue is not able to be resolved using standard business processes, because for example there are conflicting uses of the data, the issue should be escalated to the Chief Digital Officer and the Director of Planning. If they are unable to resolve the issue they will escalate it to the Data Governance Committee.

What if the information that I require does not currently exist?

A decision must be made by the data steward (or nominated delegate) of the primary source of the information as to whether the value provided by the data warrants it being provided. The decision will depend on the nature of the request (e.g. an external requirement), availability of the data elements and the changes required to systems and business processes to make the data available.

Data governance - examples

The following examples illustrate the way in which the data governance policy will operate at the University.

Example 1: Information required does not currently exist

Question: Where do I get information about the courses staff teach?

Answer: Currently there is not an accurate primary source for information about the teachers associated with a course in the University’s systems. Information on teachers is used in several processes, e.g. examinations, timetabling and Learning Management System (Canvas), Course and Teaching Evaluations. However, there is not an agreed primary source of the information. Each process collects the information separately using slightly different definitions. This means that the information cannot be used for other purposes without intervention to address the accuracy of the data.

A primary source for teacher roles is to be identified and business processes to maintain reliable data to meet the various business needs should be established.

Example 2: Data governance of confidential data

Question: I want to include salary data in a report.

Answer: Individual salary data are highly sensitive and treated as confidential. Security based on approved access according to the role and organisational unit of those expected to access the report must be in place for all uses of salary data. Any use of salary data must be agreed with the data custodian (Director of HR). The application and design of the security for reports that include salary data must be discussed and agreed with the data custodian and data steward.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Data governance is a process and structure for formally defining and managing information as a resource. It is a business activity that determines and prioritizes the financial and other benefits data bring to the University as well as mitigating the business risk of poor data practices and quality.

Data access refers to software and activities related to storing, retrieving or acting on data housed in a database or other repository. Data access involves authorization to access different data repositories and can help distinguish abilities of administrators and users. For example, administrators may have the ability to remove, edit and add data, while general users may not have “read” rights.

Data quality refers to the state of completeness, validity, consistency, timeliness and accuracy that makes data appropriate for a specific use. It is a perception or an assessment of information's fitness to serve its purpose in a given context. Data quality is affected by the way data are entered, stored and managed.

Institutional data are data elements which satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • Relevant to planning, managing, operating, controlling, internal or external accountability or auditing of the University.
  • Created, received, maintained, or transmitted as a result of educational, clinical, or research activities. It is noted that only administrative data related to research activities are institutional data. Data generated as an outcome of academic research are not institutional data under the policy.
  • Generally referenced or required for use by more than one organisational unit.
  • Included in an official University academic or administrative report.
  • Data the University is legally or contractually obliged to hold.
  • Generated by a system or business user using any of the above data.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

University data warehouse (UDW) is the University’s data warehouse and the information is quality assured and can be trusted, unless it can be demonstrated otherwise.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: DVCO
Content manager: Director of Planning
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 19 Sept 2019
Review date: 19 Sept 2022