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PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Lakeview Kindergarten & Childcare

Background

Effective partnerships with all stakeholders are central to the provision of high quality education and care for children. These partnerships are based on trust and are demonstrated by open and honest communication that is respectful of, and sensitive to, cultural or other differences.

The communication needed in high quality childcare can only be achieved when stakeholders are convinced that the privacy and confidentiality of the information they provide are upheld.

Policy statement

This Policy outlines the Service’s practices in maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all records and information about individual children, families, parents, staff/educators students and volunteers in the Service.

Strategies and practices

  • The Service collects, stores, discloses, and disposes of all personal information according to the National Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth) and all other relevant legislation. QA 7.1.1, 7.3.1
  • The Service only collects personal information that is necessary to deliver high quality education and care to the children enrolled in the Service, for related activities, and to meet its regulatory responsibilities. QA 6.1.1, 7.1.1
  • Anyone requested to provide personal information to the Service is informed of the following:  
  • the information required;
  • why the information is required;
  • the legislation that requires the information to be collected;
  • how the information will be used; 
  • who will access the information;
  • under what conditions the information would be disclosed to a third party; and,
  • the main consequences, if any, of not providing all or part of the information requested. QA 7.1.1

Personal information about an individual is gathered directly from that person unless the Service has obtained the person’s prior consent (e.g. reference checks). If the information pertains to a child (e.g. inclusion support agency, speech therapist), prior written permission is obtained from the parent). QA 7.1.1 Collection of personal information will be lawful, fair and not unreasonably obtrusive. QA 7.1.1Personal information is kept in a safe and secure place, retained for the period set out in the Regulations, and destroyed when no longer needed. Paper files are stored in locked cabinets and electronic data on computers protected by passwords. QA 7.3.1

  • The Service provides all staff/educators, students and volunteers with verbal and written information about privacy and confidentiality laws, and about their responsibilities in handling personal information. QA 4.2.1, 7.1.2
  • Staff/educators, students and volunteers are informed of this Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and are given the opportunity to clarify their understanding of the Policy before commencing at the Service. They are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement to strictly adhere to the Policy. QA 7.1.2
  • Confidential information is exchanged between educators when required in the normal course of work at the Service to meet the education and care needs of children. However, educators are not otherwise permitted to divulge any information about a child to anyone other than the parent, nor about the child’s family to anyone, without the prior written approval of the parent. The exception to this is a demand under an Act or law. QA 4.2.1, 5.2.3, 7.1.1
  • Educators will maintain the privacy and confidentiality of other educators by not relating personal information about them to anyone either within or away from the Service. QA 4.2.1
  • Students/Volunteers are not permitted to remove any Service documents or to use information gained at the Service without the Nominated Supervisor’s written consent. They are not permitted to discuss children attending the Service, the families or the educators away from the Service (e.g. TAFE, training organisations), or to use their names in any assignments. QA 7.1.1, 7.3.1
  • The Service ensures the personal information collected, used or disclosed, is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Enrolment details are updated annually or whenever a change in circumstance occurs. Similarly, staff details are updated as changes occur. QA 7.3.1
  • Individuals can apply in writing to access the personal information they have provided to ensure its accuracy, completeness and currency. The Nominated Supervisor will arrange a suitable time for this access and will remain with the individual for the duration. (Access to information beyond that provided by the individual is subject to Freedom of Information processes.) QA 7.1.1
  • Educators are to ensure they document information about children’s learning and development accurately, inclusively, sensitively and respectfully. QA 1.2.1, 4.2.1
  • The Service provides a quiet area for confidential conversations (e.g. between parents and educators, the Nominated Supervisor and educators). QA 3.1.1
  • The name and contact details of the Approved Provider are displayed in the entrance of the Service and are contained in the Parent Handbook. QA 7.3.1
  • The Nominated Supervisor/Approved Provider adheres to the Service’s Complaint Policy when responding to complaints about privacy and confidentiality matters. Should any issue remain unresolved, the Nominated Supervisor/Approved Provider advises the complainant of their right to lodge an appeal with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218 Sydney 1042 or GPO Box 2999 Canberra ACT 2601, or to telephone the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 363 992. QA 4.2.1, 7.3.4 Additional safe practices for babies
  • Responsibilities of parents
  • To immediately raise any concerns about the Service’s management of privacy and confidentiality with the Nominated Supervisor/Approved Provider. Links to other policies
  • Educational Program Policy
  • Enrolment and Orientation Policy
  • Interactions with Families Policy
  • Programming Policy
  • Professionalism and Ethics Policy

Links Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011, National Quality Standard 2011

 Regs 177 Prescribed enrolment and other documents to be kept by approved provider 181 Confidentiality of records kept by approved provider 183 Storage of records and other documents 184 Storage of records after service approval transferred QA 1.2.1 Each child’s learning and development is assessed as part of an ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluation 3.1.1 Outdoor and indoor spaces, buildings, furniture, equipment, facilities and resources are suitable for their purpose 4.2.1 Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships 5.2.3 The dignity and rights of the child are maintained at all times 6.1.1 Respectful supportive relationships are developed and maintained 7.1.1 Appropriate governance arrangements are in place to manage the service 7.1.2 The induction of educators, co-ordinators and staff members is comprehensive 7.3.1 Records and information are stored appropriately to ensure confidentiality, are available from the service and are maintained in accordance with legislative requirements 7.3.4 Processes are in place to ensure that all grievances and complaints are addressed, investigated fairly and documented in a timely manner

Sources, further reading and useful websites

Sources

  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011.
  • Freedom of Information Act 1989 (Commonwealth)
  • Guide to the National Quality Standard 2011
  • Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth).

Further reading

  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Privacy Complaint Form http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint accessed 24 November 2013
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Factsheets: FOI and Privacy http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-fact-sheets/ accessed 24 November 2013 Useful websites
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – http://www.oaic.gov.au/
  • UNICEF – http://www.unicef.org/

Policy review

The Service encourages staff and parents to be actively involved in the annual review of each of its policies and procedures. In addition, the Service will accommodate any new legislative changes as they occur and any issues identified as part the Service’s commitment to quality improvement. The Service consults with relevant recognised authorities as part of the annual review to ensure the policy contents are consistent with current research and contemporary views on best practice.

Date(s) reviewed: 22 April 2015

Next review Date: 22 April 2016