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 statement 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 or as a member of staff.

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.

Engagement activities

If you participate in ongoing, formal engagement activities to help us review or re-design our services (see Engaging with Service Users and Support Persons (wcs.org.au)), 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 collect or 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, reporting and advocacy

We may disclose information to make funding applications, raise issues about public policy (e.g. social housing) 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.

Storage and security of your personal information

We protect all personal information we hold on you, whether we collected that information via our forms, email, written correspondence or while delivering services (e.g. photos or videos).

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.

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 any WCS staff member or the Privacy and Complaints Officer (privacy@wcs.org.au). We will respond to your request within 30 days.

Responding to Notifiable Data Breaches

As required under the Notifiable Data Breach scheme, we will notify you and the Australian Information Commissioner of any eligible data breach. An eligible data breach occurs when there has been an unauthorised access or disclosure of personal information we hold that is likely to result in serious harm to you and where we have been unable to prevent the likely risk of serious harm with remedial action.

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

Phone: (02) 6282 2644 (ask for the Privacy and Complaints Officer)
Email: privacy@wcs.org.au
Website: www.wcs.org.au/contact-wcs


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.