Project Youth values its Board of Management, staff, clients and community partners as important stakeholders in the organisation and the services it provide. Every effort will be made to ensure that the privacy of all individuals connected with the organisation is protected from misuse, loss, corruption or disclosure. Personal information will be managed confidentially and securely and destroyed appropriately when no longer required.
Project Youth will collect only relevant personal information for lawful purposes, directly related to the organisation’s operations and administration, and with the consent of the individual to whom the information relates. This information will be collected directly from the individual concerned, unless the individual has directed otherwise. Parents or guardians can give consent for the collection of information relating to minors.
Personal information will be stored securely, in locked, restricted access filing cabinets; in password and firewall protected, restricted access computers; secure web-based client management systems.
Project Youth will not disclose personal information about an individual unless the individual has consented to the disclosure, or the information is not sensitive information;
Project Youth believes 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;
Project Youth suspects that unlawful activity has been, is being or may be engaged in and disclosure of personal information is necessary as part of an investigation into the matter or else in reporting such concerns to an enforcement body;
the use or disclosure is required under law.
Project Youth will endeavour to ensure that personal information is correct, complete and up-to-date. On request by a person, Project Youth will let the person know, generally, what sort of personal information it holds, for what purposes, and how it collects, holds and discloses that information.
The person is entitled to update, correct or amend this information as necessary.
The individual must be provided with access to this information except when
access would pose a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any individual; or
providing access would have an unreasonable impact upon the privacy of other individuals;
the request is frivolous or vexatious; or
the information relates to an existing or anticipated legal proceedings between the organisation and the individual
providing access would be unlawful;
denying access is required or authorised by or under law; or
providing access would be likely to prejudice an investigation of possible unlawful activity;
If the individual and Project Youth disagree about the accuracy of the information, and the individual asks us to append a statement indicating this, we will take reasonable steps to do so.
In the event that Project Youth denies access or refuses to correct personal information, we will provide reasons for this course of action.
Project Youth will only use information collected about individuals for the purpose for which it was collected, for a directly related purpose, or for a purpose to which the individual has given consent.
The organisation can use information without an individual’s consent in order to deal with a serious and imminent threat to any person’s health or safety.
The NSW Government’s Keep Them Safe Legislation, specifically chapter 16A in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 allows Shire Wide staff to share client information - where information relates specifically to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person - with other mandatory reporters and non-government organisations (NGOs) and NSW Government agencies who are identified as prescribed bodies. (For the purposes of information exchange, NGOs will be considered prescribed bodies under section 248 and Chapter 16A.
A “prescribed body” is any organisation specified in section 248 (6), Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 or in Clause 7, Children and Young Persons (care and Protection) Regulation 2000). Prescribed bodies under the legislation are:
the NSW Police Force
a NSW government department or public authority
a government school or a registered non-government school or a TAFE
a public health organisation or a private hospital
a private fostering agency or a private adoption agency
a designated agency which is a department of the Public Service or an organisation that arranges out of home care
agencies that conduct residential child care centre or a child care service under the 1987 Act
any other organisations that have direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services, or law enforcement, wholly or partly to children.
the Family Court of Australia (for the purposes of section 248 but not Chapter 16A)
Centrelink (for the purposes of section 248 but not Chapter 16A)
the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Aboriginal Affairs (for the purposes of section 248 but not Chapter 16A).
The information must relate to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person, and may be shared if it relates to:
A child or young person’s history or circumstances
A parent or other family member
People having a significant or relevant relationship with a child or young person
Other agencies’ dealings with the child or young person, including past support or service arrangements.
Staff should remember that the needs and interests of children and young persons, and of their families, in receiving services relating to the care and protection of children or young people take precedence over the protection of confidentiality or of an individual’s privacy. This said it remains best practice to keep clients informed. This includes advising clients that their information may be provided to other organisations from the start of your relationship with them.
There are cases when it is not appropriate to inform a child or young person or their parent / carer that you will be sharing their information. These include:
where you believe it is likely to further jeopardise a child or young person’s safety, welfare or wellbeing
where you believe it would place you or another person at risk of harm
where you are unable to contact a parent and the matter is urgent
If you are not sure, speak to your direct supervisor. For more detailed information in relation to information exchange refer to “Long Fact Sheet for human services workers”
Staff should also note that there are circumstances when it is appropriate not to disclose information. These include:
the information requested does not relate to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person or class of children or young persons.
if it is believed that the disclosure of the information would prejudice an investigation of a possible breach of a law, care proceedings or a coronial inquest, endanger a person’s life, or is not in the public interest.
Staff should note that there are restrictions in place under the legislation to protect their identities and information in the event that they are required to make a report to the Community Services Helpline. A reporter’s details cannot be exchanged without your permission unless it is in connection with the investigation of a serious offence alleged to have been committed against a child or young person and where the disclosure is necessary to safeguard or promote the safety, welfare or wellbeing of any child or young person.
Staff should also note that “a person who acts in good faith to provide information in accordance with the legislation is not liable to any legal or disciplinary action and cannot be held to have breached any professional ethics, code or standards.”
If an individual believes that Project Youth has breached their privacy in relation to the personal information the organisation holds about them they may complain in writing to the Executive Officer who will investigate the matter.
If an individual believes that their physical privacy has been breached they may complain to Privacy NSW. Privacy NSW is the Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner. The aim of this body is to protect and promote privacy in NSW.
Refer to: http://www.keepthemsafe.nsw.gov.au for information on the Keep them Safe legislation.
Refer to: DOC 006 Exchange of Information under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
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