Digital Advisory Board - terms of reference


These terms of reference establish the Digital Advisory Board (DAB) and set out its role, functions, composition and administration arrangements.


The DAB is one of three technology-related boards established by the Ministry of Health. The others are the Physical Advisory Board and the Biological Advisory Board. These boards provide the Director General of Health with advice on emerging technology and how it will support the implementation of the New Zealand Health Strategy.

Role and functions

The role of the DAB is to:

  • link with the other advisory boards and health sector governance and advisory entities to share information about the future of digital, physical and biological technology
  • advise on digital initiatives in the context of the overall portfolio of investment to align them with a person-centred digital future (sustaining innovation)
  • encourage and promote disruptive innovation to support the New Zealand Health Strategy
  • support the Director General of Health to deliver a digitally-enabled health system as set out in the New Zealand Health Strategy and its five themes: people powered, closer to home, value and high performance, one team and smart system.

In doing this, the DAB will:

  • recognise the need for a bi-modal approach to IT delivery to ensure existing systems of record are maintained in parallel with digital transformation and that opportunity and risk is balanced
  • recognise both sustaining and disruptive innovations are necessary, and equally important, but that only disruptive innovation will deliver the digital future.

Apply the innovation principles:

  • Be systematic in identifying and sustaining innovation
  • Innovation is both conceptual and perceptual
  • Think big, start small
  • Engaged and committed leadership
  • Focus on the user
  • Be open, agile and data driven
  • Succeed through learning from failure
  • Use the Ministry’s integrated change framework
  • Recognise the criteria for successful disruptive innovation: an unmet need or pain point, new (or a new application of) technology, a sustainable business model and a new value network
  • Recognise the need for leadership, strong sector engagement, supporting capability, knowledge of the innovation landscape and enabling infrastructure to successfully deliver digital transformation.

Composition of the Digital Advisory Board

Members are appointed by the Director General of Health and include:

  • people with commercial and/or organisational experience in digital innovation and disruptive change
  • those with experience of digital innovation and change in integrated clinical or service delivery in the public health sector
  • the Ministry’s Chief Technology and Digital Services Officer (ex-officio)
  • a Chair (appointed by the Director General of Health for a 12-month term on a rotating basis).

In making themselves available for appointment, members should ensure there is no conflict of interest which would preclude their appointment.


The DAB terms of reference will be reviewed each year alongside the Ministry’s annual stocktake of Ministerial and Ministry committees.

Technology and Digital Services will provide the secretariat function for the DAB.

The secretariat will maintain an interests register, listing members’ interests relevant to the DAB’s business. Declaration and discussion of conflicts of interest should be a standing item on each meeting’s agenda, and actions arising out of this should be recorded in the minutes.

Meetings, including agenda material and minutes, are confidential.  Members must ensure the confidentiality of DAB business is maintained. Release of correspondence or papers can only be made with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

The DAB will meet monthly with video and teleconference facilities made available as required.

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