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Privacy Policy

Overview

This policy describes how we protect and handle personal information, including sensitive information, in accordance with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

This policy explains:

  • why and how we collect personal information
  • the kinds of personal information we collect
  • how personal information is used
  • when and with whom we share personal information
  • how we keep personal information secure
  • how to access and seek to correct personal information, and
  • how to complain about our privacy practices.

In this policy, personal information and sensitive information has the meaning given to it in the Privacy Act, which is available on the Comlaw website.

Detailed information on privacy and the APPs is available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website.

This Privacy Policy is available to the public through our website.

Why do we collect personal information?

We collect personal information to perform our functions as set out in the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (the Aged Care Act) and the Complaints Principles 2015 (the Complaints Principles). These functions include the management and resolution of complaints that raise an issue about a service provider’s responsibilities under the Aged Care Act. Collection of personal and sensitive information is authorised, or is required in certain circumstances, by the Aged Care Act and the Complaints Principles.

More information about our functions is available on our website.

When and how do we collect personal information from you?

We collect personal information directly from you when you:

  • deal with us by telephone, letter, email or through our website, or
  • meet with us for a face-to-face interview, conciliation or site visit.

Personal information you give to us

We may collect personal information directly from you in the following instances:

  • if you are a complainant: when your complaint is submitted by letter, email, telephone or using the online complaint form on our website. We may also collect personal information directly from your written or oral correspondence about the complaint, including when you respond to written questions or meet with us face-to-face for an interview or conciliation.
  • if you are a service provider, a person receiving aged care (or their representative) or a related party such as a partner, carer or relative of the person receiving aged care: information may be collected from you by email, letter or telephone. We may also collect personal information when you respond to written questions, or meet with us face-to-face for an interview or conciliation.
  • if you are a staff member: we collect personal information directly from you when you apply for a position or as part of our management functions and activities.
  • if your personal information is to be used to promote the work and brand of the Complaints Commissioner: we will only collect your personal information with your consent.

When you provide us with personal information which is also sensitive information, you will be taken to have consented to our collection of your sensitive information. We will only collect sensitive personal information about you when the information is reasonably necessary, or directly related to, one or more of our functions.

For example, if you are a person receiving aged care, we will collect health information from you only if it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, the issues raised in the complaint.

Personal information we collect from third parties

In carrying out our functions, we may also collect your personal information from other parties related to the complaint, including:

  • the complainant
  • the person receiving aged care (or their representative)
  • if appropriate, a partner, carer or close relative of the person receiving aged care, and
  • if you are an employee: referees, other agencies or employees.

If we collect your personal information from other sources, we will seek your consent to collect the information unless:

  • we are required or authorised by or under an Australian law, such as the Aged Care Act or the Complaints Principles, to collect the information from someone other than you, or
  • it is impracticable or unreasonable to obtain the information directly from you.

We may also obtain your personal information from government bodies such as the Department of Health and Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, or from organisations such as the service provider. For example we may receive your personal information while managing and resolving your complaint:

  • in files and documents provided to us by another organisation or the provider, or
  • as part of an interview with relevant officers or staff of another organisation.

We only collect sensitive personal information with your consent or if the collection is required or authorised by or under an Australian law.

If we collect your personal information from another source, we will take reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure that you are notified:

  • that we collected your personal information from another source
  • what we will do with the information, and
  • of any other person or body with whom we may share or disclose the information.

What kind of personal information do we collect?

The types of personal information we collect will depend on the function or activity being undertaken. Examples of personal information that we collect include:

  • information about parties related to the complaint (except for people receiving aged care): name, email, telephone, address and any personal information that relates to the complaint (including health information)
  • people receiving aged care (and their representatives): name, email, telephone, address and any personal information that relates to the care provided that is the subject of the complaint (including health information)
  • staff information: details about our staff including name, phone numbers, emergency contact information, photos, job applications, details of training undertaken and any performance management information.
  • information used to promote the work and brand of the Complaints Commissioner: photographs, name, telephone, guardian’s name and contact details (if the person is a minor).

Examples of sensitive information we collect and hold include:

  • health information, including information or opinion about the health or disability of an individual, the provision of a health service, or the person’s wishes about the provision of a health service, and
  • required employment related information, including police checks, of our staff.

How we deal with unsolicited information

If you send us your personal information when we don’t ask for it (unsolicited personal information) we will determine whether or not the information is related to one or more of our functions. If the information is not relevant to what we do, we may destroy or de-identify the personal information if it is lawful and reasonable to do so.

Can you deal with us anonymously or using a pseudonym?

Where it is practicable, you may choose to remain anonymous or adopt a pseudonym when dealing with us. For example, you may choose to make a telephone enquiry using a pseudonym or complain anonymously about a service provider. However, if you choose to do so, the extent to which we are able to respond to your enquiry or process your complaint may be limited.

Alternatively, you may ask us to process your complaint confidentially. This means that we will know your identity but we will not provide it to the other parties to the complaint. We will comply with your request for confidentiality unless doing so will, or is likely to, place the safety, health or wellbeing of any person at risk. We will take reasonable steps to notify you before deciding not to comply with your request for confidentiality.

How do we use and disclose your personal information?

We use and disclose your personal information for the particular purpose for which it was collected. For example, personal information collected during a complaint process will be used to enable us to manage and resolve the complaint, or it may be disclosed to other parties as part of our feedback.

We may use your personal information for a purpose related to the original purpose of collection, where you could reasonably expect that your information would be used for this other purpose. For example, after we have finalised a complaint, we may send you a satisfaction survey to evaluate our performance and obtain your feedback about any ways in which we could improve our service.

Your personal information may also be disclosed to another organisation in accordance with Part 6.2 of the Aged Care Act or where otherwise permitted or required by law.

Referrals to other organisations are made where a concern raises issues that require, or may require, action by the other organisation. The types of entities we may share information with include the police and those that monitor health and aged care quality and professional standards, such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the Department of Health and state coroners and Health Complaints Entities.

We will not use your sensitive personal information for another purpose unless it is directly related to our functions.

Do we send your personal information overseas?

We do not usually send your personal information overseas. However, in limited circumstances, we may be required to disclose your personal information to a complainant or another party related to the complaint who is outside of Australia. If you subscribe to our email subscription service, we will provide your name and email address to MailChimp, a company based in the United States of America which we use to create, send and manage our email updates about new information posted on our website.

If we propose to disclose your personal information to an overseas recipient, we will take reasonable steps before disclosure to ensure that the overseas recipient will not breach the APPs. Otherwise, we will:

  • ensure the recipient of the information is subject to a law, or binding scheme, that has the effect of protecting information in a way that, overall, is at least substantially similar to the way in which the APPs protect the information, or
  • obtain your express consent to the disclosure after informing you that the APP relating to overseas disclosure will not apply to the disclosure.

How we keep your personal information secure?

We use many physical and electronic security measures to protect personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. For example, we restrict physical access to our office and areas housing personal information, use lockable cabinets, secure databases, permission restrictions and password protection.

Emails you send to us are screened by our email security systems and may be viewed by authorised information technology personnel for security purposes.

How do you access and correct your personal information?

You have a right to request access to your personal information we hold about you and to request the information be corrected in certain circumstances.

We will provide you with access to your personal information or take reasonable steps to correct your personal information to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant and not misleading, subject to any applicable exceptions under the Privacy Act.

To obtain access or seek correction of your personal information, you should make a request by:

Email
enquiries@agedcarecomplaints.gov.au

Post
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
Locked Bag 3
Collins Street East VIC 8003.

Your request should state that you are seeking access to, or correction of, personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act. You should also specify the information you are seeking access to or if you are seeking for it to be corrected, including the reasons why the information should be corrected. Your contact details including an email address or mailing address should be included so that we can respond to you.

Before providing access to or correcting your personal information, we may require you to verify your identity. You will not be charged for lodging a request to access or correct your personal information.

We will usually respond to your request within 30 days. If access or correction is refused, we will write to you setting out the reasons and information about how you can make a complaint. If your correction application is refused, we will take reasonable steps to associate a statement with your personal information which provides that you believe that your personal information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.

Alternatively, you may ask that we handle your request for information, or your amendment or annotation request, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). Any requests under the FOI Act must be in writing and should be made by:

Email
enquiries@agedcarecomplaints.gov.au

Post
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
Locked Bag 3
Collins Street East VIC 8003.

For more information about accessing or amending your personal information and the differences between making an application under the Privacy Act or the FOI Act, see FOI fact sheet 5 on the Australian Information Commissioner’s website.

How do you make a complaint about our privacy practices?

If you have a concern about the way we handle your personal information, you can make a complaint. In the first instance please contact us by:

Email
enquiries@agedcarecomplaints.gov.au

Post
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
Locked Bag 3
Collins Street East VIC 8003.

You may also make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner. Under the Privacy Act, the Australian Information Commissioner or the Privacy Commissioner have the power to investigate complaints or acts or practices that may be a breach of privacy even if there is no complaint.

You can contact the Privacy Commissioner directly rather than us, although it is likely that the Privacy Commissioner would refer you to us in the first instance to see if your complaint can be resolved without requiring the involvement of the Privacy Commissioner. You can also contact the Privacy Commissioner if you have made a complaint to us about any practice that you think amounts to an arbitrary or unreasonable interference with your privacy and you do not believe that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

You can contact the Privacy Commissioner in writing or telephone the Privacy Hotline 1300 363 992 (local call charge) setting out the details of the practices which you think interfere with your privacy.

Updates to this policy

We will, from time to time, review and revise this Privacy Policy. The Complaints Commissioner reserves the right to amend this policy at any time and any amendments will be notified by posting an updated version on our website.

Last updated: 1 January 2016

Further information

To find out more about how we manage personal information, contact us by:

Email
enquiries@agedcarecomplaints.gov.au

Post
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
Locked Bag 3
Collins Street East VIC 8003.

For more general information on the Privacy Act and the APPs: