Privacy & Confidentiality Policy

CONTENTS

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Scope
  3. Strategies for Implementation
    • Information about families
    • Employee/educator and Centre management issues
    • Internet and social media
  4. Legislation and Considerations
  5. Sources and Related Policies

 

  1. POLICY STATEMENT

It is the Centre’s policy to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all personal and health related information for children, families, educators, staff, students, volunteers, visitors and management. The Centre will develop systems for the appropriate use, storage and disposal of records. Information is used only for the education and care of the enrolled child within the Centre, and only shared with relevant or authorised people as defined within authorisations of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. This policy has been developed with regard to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) (2014) and pursues the highest standard in the protection and preservation of privacy and confidentiality.

 

  1. SCOPE

The Centre wishes to ensure that all key stakeholders are aware of their obligations and rights in terms of personal and health related information and documentation. This Policy applies to the Committee of Management, Nominated Supervisor, Certified Supervisor, educators, staff, students, volunteers, families and visitors attending the Centre.

 

  1. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Information about families

  • Personal information will only be collected in so far as it relates to the Centre’s activities and functions, and in line with relevant legislation.
  • Collection of personal information will be lawful, fair, reasonable and unobtrusive.
  • Every enrolling family who provides personal information will be advised in the form of a Privacy Statement (Appendix A) the fact that they are able to gain access to their information; why the information is collected; the organisations to which the information my be disclosed; any law that requires the particular information to be collected; and the main consequences for not providing the required information.
  • Families will be notified of the time for which particular records are required to be retained under the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
  • Personal information will only be for its original collected purpose. Information kept will not be divulged or communicated, directly or indirectly, to anyone other than:
    • to prevent a health threat;
    • Medical and developmental information that is required to adequately provide education and care for the child;
    • The Department of Education and Communities or and authorised officer;
    • As permitted or required by and Act or Law.
  • The Centre will take steps to ensure the personal information collected, used or disclosed, is accurate, complete and up to date. Families will be required to update their enrolment details annually, or whenever they experience a change in circumstances. Computer records will be updated as soon as new information is provided.
  • Personal information will be kept in a secure and confidential way, and destroyed by shredding.
  • Individuals will be provided with access to their personal information and may request that their information be up-dated or changed where it is not current or correct.
  • Individuals wishing to access their personal information must make a written application to the nominated supervisor, who will arrange an appropriate time for this to occur. The nominated supervisor will protect the security of the information by checking the identity of the applicant. Information may be denied under the following conditions:
    • Access to information could compromise the privacy of another individual;
    • The request for information is frivolous or vexatious;
    • The information relates to legal issues, or there are legal reasons not to divulge the information such as in cases of custody and legal guardianship.
  • The nominated supervisor will deal with privacy complaints promptly and in a consistent manner, following the Centre’s Parent and Carers Feedback Policy. Where the aggrieved person is dissatisfied after going through the grievance process, they may appeal in writing to the Privacy Commissioner with the Office of the Australian Information Commission (oaic.gov.au).
  • Visual images of enrolled children will not be taken, recorded, removed from the service, or used for any purpose without the written consent of the parent/guardian, except where visual images are used within the Centre for monitoring the progress of an enrolled child, or visual images are taken by an authorised officer acting in the course of his/her duties, in which case only the parent/guardian and authorised staff will have access to the images.
  • Confidential conversations that educators have with family members, or the nominated supervisor has with the educators/staff members will be conducted in a quiet area away from other children, family members and staff.

Employee/educator and Centre management issues

  • Personnel forms and employee information will be stored securely.
  • Applicants, students or volunteers will be informed of their personal information is being kept, for what reason, for how long, and how it will be destroyed at the end of the time period.
  • Applicants will be asked for their consent before their references are checked. Unsuccessful applicants will be advised of when and how their personal information will be destroyed.
  • Information about educators and staff members will only be accessed by the nominated supervisor and individual staff member concerned.
  • Every staff member, educator and the nominated supervisor is provided with clear written guidelines detailing:
    • what information is to be kept confidential and why;
    • what confidential information they may have access to in order to fulfill their responsibilities and for this information may be accessed;
    • who has a legal right to know what information;
    • where and how the confidential information should be stored.
  • In keeping with the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Code of Ethics (2008), the Education and Care Services National Regulations and the Privacy Legislation, every staff member, educator, nominated supervisor, Committee of Management member are bound to respect the privacy rights of enrolled children and their families, educators and staff and their families and any other persons associated with the Centre.
  • Every staff member, educator, nominated supervisor, Committee of Management member is required to sign a Confidentiality Statement (Appendix B). as it relates to confidentiality of information.
  • No member of staff or educator may give information or evidence on matters relating to children and/or their families, either directly or indirectly, to anyone other than the responsible parent/guardian, unless prior written approval by the responsible parent/guardian is obtained. Exceptions may apply regarding information about children when subpoenaed to appear before a court of law. Notwithstanding these requirements, confidential information may be exchanged in the normal course of work with other staff members at the service and may be given to the nominated supervisor, when it is reasonably needed for the proper operation of the Centre and the wellbeing of users, educators and staff.
  • Educators and staff are aware of the need for sensitivity and confidentiality in handling information regarding child protection issues.
  • Reports, notes and observations about children must be accurate and free from biased comments and negative labeling of children.
  • Staff will protect the privacy and confidentiality of other staff members by not relating personal information about another staff member to anyone either within or outside the service.
  • Confidential information about staff members will only be accessed by the nominated supervisor and other staff member that requires access in order to fulfill their role e.g. administration assistant and individual staff member concerned. Some information pertaining to individual circumstances may be disclosed to the Committee of Management in certain instances.
  • Students and volunteers will not make staff, children or families at the service, an object for discussion outside of the service (e.g. college, school, home etc.), nor will they at any time use family names in recorded or tutorial information.
  • Students and volunteers will only use information gained from the Centre upon receiving written approval from the Centre to use and/or divulge such information and will never use or divulge the names of persons.
  • All matters discussed at Committee of Management meetings will be treated as confidential.

Internet and social media

  • It is not permitted to use photos of children, or any other information that may identify children or families on social media sites such as Facebook, unless families have provided specific permission for this to occur. This strategy for implementation applies to educators, other staff, committee of management, students, people on work experience, volunteers or any other person that may have access to children at the Centre.
  • All staff or committee of management members are not permitted to discuss the service or its staff on social media sites. Failure to adhere to this policy would be seen as unprofessional behaviour and would be subject to the relevant grievance procedure process.
  • The Centre will include information about social media policy in the Parent Handbook, educator/staff/student/volunteer/committee of management orientation procedures, and will include regular reminders about the policy in Centre newsletters. In addition to this all persons listed about will be required to sign a Confidentiality Statement, which includes a statement on use of photos and information on social media sites.
  • Visual images or personal information of enrolled children or families will not be published on the internet without the written consent of the parent/guardian.

4. LEGISLATION AND CONSIDERATIONS

The Centre, in it’s operation, must comply with current regulatory, statutory and legal requirements to ensure protection of privacy and confidentiality. Relevant legislation includes but is not limited to:

  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth.);
  • Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth.;
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW);
  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW);
  • Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW);
  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (Vic) – 3(3)(a); 172; 175; 197; 200; 206; 215 – 216; 263 -265;
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 – 181; 183;
  • National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care 2011 – Element 7.3.1.

 

5. SOURCES AND RELATED POLICIES

Sources

  • Department of the Officer of the Privacy Commissioner – www.oaic.gov.au
  • Early Childhood Australia – www.earlychildhoodaustralia. org.au
  • Children’s Services Central – www.cscentral.org.au
  • Community Child Care Co-operative Ltd (NSW) – www.ccccnsw.org.au

Centre Policies

  • Accident Policy
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Parent and Careers Feedback Policy
  • Performance and Grievance Procedures for Staff Policy

Policy adopted: 14 March 2016

Review: September 2017

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