ARMOW is committed to protecting and upholding the right to privacy of clients, staff, volunteers, Management Committee members and representatives of agencies we deal with. In particular ARMOW is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of our clients to privacy in the way we collect, store and use information about them, their needs and the services we provide to them.
ARMOW requires staff, volunteers and Management Committee members to be consistent and careful in the way they manage what is written and said about individuals and how they decide who can see or hear this information.
ARMOW is subject to legislation applying to the organisation and/or its client group. The organisation will follow the guidelines of the Australian Privacy Principles in its information management practices.
ARMOW will ensure that:
- it meets its legal and ethical obligations as an employer and service provider in relation to protecting the privacy of clients and organisational personnel.
- clients are provided with information about their rights regarding privacy.
- clients and organisational personnel are provided with privacy when they are being interviewed or discussing matters of a personal or sensitive nature.
- all staff, Management Committee members and volunteers understand what is required in meeting these obligations.
This policy conforms to the Federal Privacy Act (1988) and the Australian Privacy Principles which govern the collection, use and storage of personal information.
This policy will apply to all records, whether hard copy or electronic, containing personal information about individuals, and to interviews or discussions of a sensitive personal nature.
1.1 Dealing with personal information
In dealing with personal information, ARMOW staff will:
- ensure privacy for clients, staff, volunteers or Management Committee members when they are being interviewed or discussing matters of a personal or sensitive nature
- only collect and store personal information that is necessary for the functioning of the organisation and its activities
- use fair and lawful ways to collect personal information
- collect personal information only by consent from an individual
- ensure that people know what sort of personal information is held, what purposes it is held for and how it is collected, used, disclosed and who will have access to it
- ensure that personal information collected or disclosed is accurate, complete and up-to-date, and provide access to any individual to review information or correct wrong information about themselves
- take reasonable steps to protect all personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure
- destroy or permanently de-identify personal information no longer needed and/or after legal requirements for retaining documents have expired.
1.2 Responsibilities for managing privacy
All staff are responsible for the management of personal information to which they have access, and in the conduct of research, consultation or advocacy work.
The Management Committee is responsible for content in ARMOW publications, communications and web site and must ensure the following:
- appropriate consent is obtained for the inclusion of any personal information about any individual including ARMOW personnel
- information being provided by other agencies or external individuals conforms to privacy principles
- that the website contains a Privacy statement that makes clear the conditions of any collection of personal information from the public through their visit to the website.
The Coordinator is responsible for safeguarding personal information relating to ARMOW staff, Management Committee members, volunteers, contractors and ARMOW members.
1.3 The Privacy Contact Officer
The Privacy Contact Officer will be the Coordinator. The Coordinator will be responsible for:
- ensuring that clients and other relevant individuals are provided with information about their rights regarding privacy
- handling any queries or complaints about a privacy issue
1.4 Privacy information for clients
At initial assessment clients will be advised what information is being collected, how their privacy will be protected and their rights in relation to this information.
The collection of personal information will be limited to that which is required for the conduct of the project. Individual participants will not be identified.
2. Client’s Right to Access Information
Clients of ARMOW have a right to read any personal information kept about them. A request from a Client (or their advocate) to access information is referred to the Coordinator/Administration Officer who then arranges for the Client to view their information.
Access is provided to the Client within two weeks from the date of the request.
The Coordinator is available to assist the Client in understanding the information and to explain terminology or other assistance.
On advice from ARMOW legal representative, access to a Client’s record may be denied. This will be discussed with the Client/advocate should this situation arise.
3. Useful References, Forms, Templates and Checklists
- Australian Privacy Principles
- Federal Privacy Act (1988)