Our obligation to you
WCS is committed to protecting the personal information you provide to us, ensuring it remains secure and is only used for the purposes for which we collect it. We also commit to ensuring you are aware of what information we hold about you and your rights in relation to this information.
This policy outlines how we meet our obligations as defined in the Australian Privacy Principles, from the Privacy Act 1988. The Australian Privacy Principles guide how we handle personal information you provide as a user of one of our services, or as a parent, guardian or other support person of a service user.
Following the definitions in the Privacy Act 1988:
- Personal information is information about you that also identifies you.
- Sensitive information is information about you such as health, disability, ethnic origin, beliefs or sexual orientation.
Collection of your personal information
We may collect, hold, use and disclose personal information where it is necessary to provide you with social and community support, education and care or mental health services. This personal information will generally include your name, address, telephone number and email address.
We may also collect, use, hold and disclose sensitive information about you, as defined above, where required to provide services. We will not collect sensitive information about you without your express consent.
We may collect personal information about you:
- directly from you
- from some other person, organisation or agency on your behalf, with your consent
- from an organisation or agency who refers you to us or to whom we refer you.
Without your personal information, we may not be able to provide the support and services you seek.
Where possible, you can interact with us anonymously. For example, if you contact us with a general inquiry, we will not ask for your name unless we need it to help you. However, for most of our services and activities, we usually need your name and enough other personal information to enable us to handle your inquiry or request.
Newsletter and organisational communications
If you choose to subscribe to our newsletter, we will collect your name and email address, to be able to send you the newsletter and other relevant communications. You can opt out of this at any time.
For those service users or support persons participating in ongoing, formal engagement activities (see Engaging with Service Users and Support Persons), we will collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information where it is necessary to facilitate your participation. This personal information will include your name, telephone number, email address and emergency contact details, as well as any additional information required for participation.
Use and disclosure of your personal information
We may use or disclose the personal information we collect:
- to assess what services, you require and whether we can provide them
- to provide services to you
- to advocate with government agencies and organisations for support and benefits for you
- to evaluate the services, we provide to you
- if you consent, to send you WCS newsletters and related information.
We will obtain your consent (or that of your parent or guardian, if applicable) before we share information with any person or organisation outside WCS, unless we are required to share information under law or to prevent a serious threat to life, health or safety of you or another person.
You can withdraw consent for us to share your information, completely or with specific persons or organisations, by notifying a WCS staff member or the Privacy and Complaints Officer (details below).
We do not disclose personal information about you to other parties for direct marketing purposes.
Use of information for funding and reporting
We may disclose information to make funding applications and provide statistical reports to comply with service funding agreements – this may include sensitive information (as defined above) but will not include your name or contact details.
Accessing and correcting personal information we hold about you
If you ask us, we will give you access to the personal information we hold about you. You can ask for it to be corrected if you do not think it is accurate.
You can ask for access or correction by contacting the Privacy and Complaints Officer (email@example.com). We will respond to your request within 30 days.
Storage and security of your personal information
We may store your personal information either in hard copy or electronic form.
We take all practical reasonable steps to protect your personal information from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We do this by ensuring:
- information stored electronically can only be accessed by relevant WCS staff
- WCS computers and systems are password protected
- our internal network and databases are secured and protected
- we do not disclose information to overseas recipients
- our paper files are secured in locked cabinets
- we destroy personal information when we no longer need it (in accordance with our information retention policy and procedures)
- all WCS staff are aware of their obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 and this policy.
How to contact us
If you have any questions about how we deal with personal information, wish to complain about a breach (or suspected breach) of your privacy, or access or correct your personal information, please contact:
Privacy and Complaints Officer
Woden Community Service
PO Box 35
WODEN ACT 2606
Phone: (02) 6282 2644 (ask for the Privacy and Complaints Officer)
Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
See also Our Commitment to Service and Providing Feedback and Making Complaints.