Terms of reference for the Health Information Standards Organisation

19 August 2013

This document

This document states the terms of reference for the Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO), expert advisory group for standards to the Ministry of Health.


HISO was first established in June 2003 as a ministerial advisory committee, following the WAVE Report (2001). Standards New Zealand had formerly been responsible for publishing health information standards.

With the Health Information Strategy for New Zealand 2005, HISO became the Health Information Strategy Action Committee (HISAC). HISAC’s standards subcommittee continued the HISO name.

From 2010 to 2016, HISO was positioned as the expert advisory group on standards to the National Health IT Board. HISO continues as the expert advisory group on standards to the Ministry of Health, under these terms of reference.

Role and responsibilities

The Ministry of Health is the governing body for health information standards in New Zealand.

HISO provides technical leadership and expert advice to the Ministry on the development and adoption of health information standards.

HISO works with other expert advisory groups to the Ministry, namely the Consumer Panel, Sector Architects Group and National Information Clinical Leadership Group.

HISO’s responsibilities are to:

  • provide advice on the development of health information standards that support the New Zealand Health Strategy.
  • identify relevant international standards and advise on their adoption
  • scope the development of new national standards
  • ensure that standards are developed in an open and consistent way
  • participate in the standards development lifecycle by reviewing draft specifications and considering public comment submissions
  • advise the Ministry on ratifying new standards and withdrawing old ones.

HISO supports He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy for the effective delivery of health and disability services to Māori.

HISO represents the interests of all New Zealanders as consumers of health services and stakeholders in the health system.


HISO is a committee of up to six ordinary members and a chairperson, including:

  • one integrated health care representative
  • one nursing representative
  • one health researcher
  • one representative of the Sector Architects Group
  • two health informatics professionals.

HISO may co-opt subject matter experts as temporary members of the committee for specific advice or to serve on working groups. Temporary members are subject to the same rules and provisions as ordinary members.

Members are expected to have knowledge and skills applicable to HISO’s work, and to be able to represent the views of their respective stakeholder groups.

Appointments are for an initial term of up to two years. Members can be reappointed for further terms of up to two years at a time.

Members are expected to exercise sound professional judgement in performing their work. Members should always act in good faith, impartially and with reasonable care.


The Ministry’s Chief Technology and Digital Services Officer (CTDSO) makes all appointments and reappointments to HISO, inviting nominations from selected organisations as necessary.

The CTDSO selects the HISO chairperson.

New appointees receive letters of appointment from the HISO chairperson and are required to acknowledge their acceptance in writing.

The CTDSO may, in consultation with the HISO chairperson, remove a HISO member. The member will receive a letter stating the reasons for the decision and the date of effect.

HISO members may tender their resignation at any time by writing to the chairperson.


HISO shall have regular quarterly meetings, either face-to-face or by teleconference or videoconference. The chairperson may call additional meetings as necessary. Usual meeting protocols shall be followed.

A quorum is half the current membership including the chairperson. Meetings may continue without a quorum provided no decisions are sought.

HISO shall use consensus decision making. The chairperson may call a simple majority vote on any unresolved issue.

HISO shall document the proceedings of every meeting, including the agenda, minutes and any papers. An executive summary of each meeting shall be produced to communicate key messages to stakeholders. Attendance, conflict of interest and action registers shall be maintained.

Work plan and reporting

HISO shall produce a quarterly work plan that is approved by the CTDSO.

HISO shall provide a quarterly performance report to the CTDSO.

HISO shall report on specific matters as required by the CTDSO.


HISO’s work is supported and resourced by the Ministry of Health’s Technology and Digital Services business unit.

The Ministry has financial authority over HISO. HISO has no power of its own to direct the work of health and disability sector organisations, employ staff, enter into contracts, make loans or commit expenditure.


The chairperson may declare certain documents or matters confidential. However, information before HISO shall not generally be treated as confidential.

HISO members shall not disclose to anyone any information declared confidential, except as allowed by these terms of reference or as required by law.

Members should publicly support any course of action agreed by HISO. If a member is unable to support a majority decision, it is that member’s responsibility not to comment publicly on it.


No member of HISO is legally responsible or liable for any act or omission of the Ministry of Health.
No member of HISO can be legally responsible or liable to the Ministry of Health for any act or omission of his or her own, provided the member has acted responsibly as required by these terms of reference.

Conflicts of interest

HISO members shall comply with the Ministry of Health’s Conflicts of Interest Policy. Members should avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest.
HISO members shall promptly declare to the chairperson any actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to a matter under consideration. Such declarations shall be recorded.
The HISO chairperson shall determine whether any conflicted member can continue to participate in discussions or voting on matters relating to the declared conflict.


Copyright over all HISO documents and other intellectual property is vested in the Crown, under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health.
Where a HISO member contributes material of their own to HISO documents, they may continue to reproduce that material in its original form.

Fees and expenses

Fees are paid for preparation, attendance and travel in relation to scheduled HISO meetings. Fees are not paid to salaried public servants.
Fees paid to members are determined in accordance with Cabinet Office Circular CO (12) 6:  Fees Framework for Members Appointed to Bodies in which the Crown has an Interest. HISO is classified among ‘All other Committees and Other Bodies’.

Fees payable to the chairperson per meeting are:

  • an attendance fee of $530 including GST for any meeting of between six and eight hours; for shorter meetings, a fee of $530/8 per hour
  • a meeting preparation fee of $265 including GST
  • a travel fee of $265 including GST for travel of more than three hours.

Fees payable to other members per meeting are:

  • a meeting attendance fee of $364 including GST for any meeting of between six and eight hours; for shorter meetings, a fee of $364/8 per hour
  • a meeting preparation fee of $182 including GST
  • a travel fee of $182 including GST for travel of more than three hours.

Fees are categorised as honoraria and as such are subject to withholding tax pursuant to Schedule 4 Part B of the Income Tax Act 2007 No 97.
The Ministry of Health reimburses members’ actual and reasonable costs in attending HISO meetings, in accordance with the Committee Payments Policy.
Accommodation and travel bookings relating to HISO business shall be organised by the Ministry.
HISO members shall submit a tax invoice with any expenses claim.


HISO members shall act constructively and in good faith to resolve any dispute.
Where a dispute cannot be resolved with best efforts, the Ministry of Health may bring in a mediator.

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