Privacy Policy (reviewed 2/19)

  1. Purpose

To provide an effective and high-quality service and to maintain appropriate accountability, Self Help Queensland must collect, store and sometimes share relevant personal information about our employees and those who use our service. The policy also addresses the rules concerning disclosure of information, the rights of employees and those who use our service to access and correct information held about them and the period of time such information may be retained by the organisation.

Our employees and those who access our services have legislated rights to privacy. It is essential that Self Help Queensland protects and upholds these rights, and also that we act correctly in those circumstances where the right to privacy may be overridden by other considerations.

To uphold the rights of clients to privacy, everyone who access our service needs an appropriate level of understanding about how we meet our legal obligations.

This policy ensures the rules relating to privacy are applied consistently across Self Help Queensland’s services.

Definition

Personal Information – means information or an opinion whether true or untrue, and whether recorded in material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion.

Health Information – information or opinion about:

  • The health or disability of an individual

  • An individual’s expressed wishes about the future provision of health services to him or her

  • A health service provided or to be provided to an individual

Sensitive Information- means information or an opinion about an individual’s

  • Racial or ethnic origin

  • Political opinions

  • Religious beliefs or affiliations

  • Philosophical beliefs

  • Membership of trade or professional associations

  • Sexual practices or preferences

  • Criminal record

2 Scope

This policy will apply to Management Committee, employees, volunteers and all who undertake activities at Self Help Queensland.

  1. Policy

The intent of state and federal privacy legislation is to protect an individual’s rights to privacy in relation to collection, use, access, retention, correction and disclosure of personal information held by their employer and/or service provider.

Self Help Queensland is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of our employees and those who use our service to privacy in the way we collect, store and use information about them, their needs and the service it provides to them. We want our employees and clients to have confidence that the organisation takes these responsibilities seriously.

It is important that all employees make reasonable efforts to ensure that information on files is accurate, up to date, complete and not misleading before relying on the information.

4 Procedure

The Coordinator has responsibility for compliance with privacy matters in the first instance. Management Committee members, employees, volunteers and those who use our service should refer privacy concerns or issues to the Coordinator in writing.

Self Help Queensland manages its obligations in relation to protecting the privacy of employees, volunteers and those who use our services by making sure that it meets the requirements of the privacy principles contained in the relevant legislation.

4.1 Collection of Information

An amount of information may be collected about employees, volunteers, individuals and consumer groups. Specifically, collection and storage of information is made:

  • As part of their employment with the organisation as an employee, contractor or volunteer;

  • With regard to the provision of services offered by Self Help Queensland;

  • For funding purposes.

Self Help Queensland will only collect personal information, normally with consent, except in exceptional circumstances including but not limited to:

  • Emergencies, as required by law;

  • In circumstances relating to legal or equitable claims.

The following will be met in the collection of personal or health information necessary for one of its management or service activities for an employee, volunteer, individual or consumer group;

  • Self Help Queensland will collect information only if it is necessary;

  • Information will be collected with an individual’s expressed or implied consent that is not unreasonably intrusive;

  • Where practicable individuals will be informed how information will be handled;

  • Information will be collected lawfully and fairly;

  • Self Help Queensland will ensure where possible that individuals and consumer groups are aware of who is collecting the information, the fact that the individual and/or consumer group is able to gain access to the information gathered and the purposes for which the information will be used.

    1. Use and disclosure

Self Help Queensland will not use or disclose personal information about an individual or consumer group for a purpose other than the primary purpose of collection unless:

  • The secondary purpose is related to the primary purpose;

  • The individual or consumer group would reasonably expect the organisation to use or disclose the information for the secondary purpose;

  • The individual or consumer group has consented to the use or disclosure;

  • It is impracticable for the organisation to seek the individual or consumer group’s consent before that particular use;

  • If the information is health information and the use or disclosure is necessary for research, or the compilation or analysis of statistics, relevant to public health or public safety:

  • If we reasonably believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent;

  • a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health or safety; or

  • a serious threat to public health or public safety;

  • We have reason to suspect that unlawful activity has been, is being or may be engaged in, and uses or discloses the personal information as a necessary part of its investigation of the matter or in reporting its concerns to relevant persons or authorities;

  • We reasonably believe that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary for one or more of the following by or on behalf of an enforcement body:

  • the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law;

  • the enforcement of laws relating to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;

  • the prevention, detection, investigation or remedying of seriously improper conduct or prescribed conduct;

  • the preparation for, or conduct of, proceedings before any court or tribunal, or implementation of the orders of a court or tribunal.

  • We may provide information about an individual to a person who is legally responsible for the individual if the individual

  • is physically or legally incapable of giving consent to the disclosure;

  • physically cannot communicate consent to the disclosure.

De-identified information and statistics may be used for reporting purposes such as acquittals to government and other funding bodies.

    1. Security

Self Help Queensland will take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Personal files will be protected against loss, unauthorised access or disclosure or other misuse and will be secured in locked cabinets, and where possible in a locked office out of hours. Access to files will be only available only to delegated authorities, for example those dealing with HR or Payroll activities or service staff providing information, education and other such support to individuals or consumer groups of Self Help Queensland.

Electronic files (such as personal records and payroll records) are only accessible to authorised users.

    1. Openness

Self Help Queensland’s policies on the management of personal information are available to anyone who asks for it.

On request, by an individual or consumer group, Self Help Queensland will take reasonable steps to let the person know, generally, what sort of personal information it holds, for what purposes, and how it collects, holds, uses and discloses that information.

4.5 Access & Correction

Employees, volunteers, Individuals and consumer groups have the right to access, and request correction of, any personal information held about them by Self Help Queensland except in the following cases;

  • Personal information other than health information providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any individual;

  • Providing access would have an unreasonable impact upon the privacy of other individuals;

  • The request for access is deemed frivolous or vexatious;

  • The information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between the organisation and the individual, and the information would not be accessible by the process of discovery in those proceedings;

  • Providing access would reveal the intentions of the organisation in relation to negotiations with the individual in such a way as to prejudice those negotiations;

  • Providing access would be unlawful;

  • Providing access would be likely to prejudice:

  • the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law;

  • the enforcement of laws relating to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;

  • the prevention, detection, investigation or remedying of seriously improper conduct or prescribed conduct;

  • the preparation for, or conduct of, proceedings before any court or tribunal, or implementation of its orders;

  • by or on behalf of an enforcement body;

  • an enforcement body performing a lawful security function asks the organisation not to provide access to the information on the basis that providing access would be likely to cause damage to the security of Australia.

Self Help Queensland is not required to provide access to information where providing access would reveal evaluative information generated within the organisation in connection with a commercially sensitive decision-making process. The organisation may give an individual an explanation for the commercially sensitive decision rather than direct access to the information.

Where Self Help Queensland holds personal information about an individual and the individual is able to establish that the information is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, we will take reasonable steps to correct the information.

Employees, volunteers, individuals and consumer groups seeking access to their personal file information must request access in writing.

In all instances Self Help Queensland will provide written reasons for denial of access or a refusal to correct personal information held on employees, volunteers, individuals or consumer groups.

4.6 Anonymity

Wherever it is lawful and practicable, Self Help Queensland recognises that individuals must have the option of not identifying themselves when entering into transactions with an organisation.

4.7 Transfer of Information Overseas

In the unlikely situation where there is a transfer of personal information overseas or across borders, Self Help Queensland will apply and adhere to the principles of the Privacy Act pertaining to the transfer of personal information.

4.8 Sensitive information

Self Help Queensland will not collect sensitive information about an individual unless:

  • The individual or consumer group has consented;

  • The collection is required by law;

  • The collection is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any individual or consumer group;

  • Where the individual whom the information concerns;

  • is physically or legally incapable of giving consent to the collection;

  • physically cannot communicate consent to the collection;

4.9 Employee, Volunteer & Service User Responsibilities

Employees, volunteers, individuals and consumer groups have a responsibility to ensure that their personal details (e.g. address, contact numbers, emergency contact) remain up to date by advising when changes occur.

4.10 Destruction or De-identifying Information

Self Help Queensland will take reasonable steps to securely destroy or permanently de-identify personal information if it is no longer needed for any purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed.

Self Help Queensland will retain information gathered from employees or volunteers for a period of seven (7) years on termination of their employment from the organisation.

4.11 Respect of Privacy

Self Help Queensland makes provision for private interview space when interviewing employees, volunteers and/or clients or talking with them about matters of a sensitive or personal nature.

5 Related Policies, Procedures and Associated Documents

Policy context: This policy relates to:

Standard/Indicator/Category

Department of Community Standard 4 – Privacy & Confidentiality

Associated Polices & Documents

Client records

Confidentiality

Self Help Queensland Constitution

Legislation or other requirements

Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) Chapter 2, part 2 and 3.

Associations Incorporated Act 1981 (Qld)

Relevant Associated Forms

Your Rights and Responsibilities Info Sheet

Collection of Information and Consent form

Guidelines for Advocates

Nomination of support Person/Advocate form

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