The Launceston Community Legal Centre is committed to protecting and upholding the right to privacy of clients, staff, volunteers, Board of Management members and representatives of agencies we deal with. In particular Launceston Community Legal Centre 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.
Launceston Community Legal Centre requires staff, volunteers and Board of Management 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.
Launceston Community Legal Centre is not subject to specific legislation applying to the organisation and/or its client group. The organisation will follow the guidelines of the National Privacy Principles and the Tasmanian Law Society guidelines in its information management practices.
The Launceston Community Legal Centre 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, Board of Management members and volunteers understand what is required in meeting these obligations.
This policy conforms to the Federal Privacy Act (1988) and the National Privacy Principles which govern the collection, use and storage of personal information.
(Note: The Federal Privacy Act does not apply to organisations with an annual turnover under $3m, but many funding contracts require that funded organisations comply with the Privacy Principles).
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.
Dealing with personal information
In dealing with personal information, Launceston Community Legal Centre staff will:
- ensure privacy for clients, staff, volunteers or Board of Management 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 it 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.
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 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for content in Launceston Community Legal Centre 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 Launceston Community Legal Centre 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 CEO is responsible for safeguarding personal information relating to Launceston Community Legal Centre staff, Board of Management members, volunteers, contractors and Launceston Community Legal Centre members.
- The Privacy Contact Officer: The Privacy Contact Officer will be the Principal Solicitor. The Principal Solicitor will be responsible for:
- ensuring that clients and other relevant individuals are provided with information about their rights regarding privacy
- handling any queries or complaint about a privacy issue
Privacy information for clients
At the time of their first appointment clients will be told what information is being collected, how their privacy will be protected and their rights in relation to this information.
Privacy for interviews and personal discussions
To ensure privacy for clients or staff when discussing sensitive or personal matters, the organisation will:
- Provide individual private offices for solicitor/client contact;
- Ensure office doors are closed when privacy is required;
- Desks where phone calls may be made by staff
Participants in research projects
People being invited to participate in a research project must be:
- given a choice about participating or not
- given the right to withdraw at any time
- informed about the purpose of the research project, the information to be collected, and how information they provide will be used.
- given copies of any subsequent publications.
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.
Organisational participants in research projects will generally be identified in Launceston Community Legal Centre research, unless the nature of a particular project requires anonymity or an organisation specifically requests it.