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  Alternatives Pty Ltd
  ABN 23 050 334 435

Contents | 1. Introduction | 2.Steps | 3.Table of contents | 4. Formats and examples | 5. Resources

4. Formats and examples

0 - Format examples
Tables of contents

1- CRC Manual
2- Refuge Manual
Values and principles
3. Client rights and

4. Staff rights and

5. Board rights and

6. Beliefs and

7. Board
8. Management

9. CEO job

Service models
10. Supported

Legal frameworks
11. Duty of care
12. Privacy
Aspects of
service process

13. Worker security
    on home visits

Human resources
14. Disputes and

15. Evaluation



Example 12. Privacy and confidentiality

Legislative framework
The service's policy and procedures on privacy, confidentiality and access to personal information have been developed in line with the privacy principles the legislation including:

  • Federal Privacy Act 1988 and the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000
  • Privacy and Personal Protection Information Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)

Privacy principles
The service bases its policies and procedures on the following principles:

  • We only collect personal information about clients that is required by the funding body or needed to provide our services
  • We inform our clients why personal information is collected and to whom else it is usually disclosed.
  • We only collect sensitive information, such as health information, with client consent unless necessary to prevent harm to life or health.
  • We collect personal information directly from the client unless the client is a minor, under guardianship or has given consent for someone else to provide the information.
  • We will ensure that client information we hold is accurate, up-to-date and complete.
  • We will protect client records from loss, unauthorised access, misuse, modification and disclosure and will ensure its appropriate disposal.
  • We will provide client access to their records and tell them how they can get access.
  • We will allow clients to correct any wrong, incomplete or misleading personal information we hold.
  • We will not use client information for any other purpose except with client consent unless necessary to prevent harm to life or health
  • We will not disclose client information to any other person or organisation without consent unless necessary to prevent harm to life or health.
  • We only use client identifying codes if necessary and do not use the same codes as other agencies.
  • Clients have the option of not identifying themselves if preferred.
  • We will take all reasonable steps to de-identify health information before it is disclosed for data collection or research purposes.

Circumstances in which confidentiality can be overridden
In most residential and family support services situations, confidentiality exists between the client and the agency providing the service and not the worker. This is important for both workers and clients to understand as it enables the worker to share relevant client information with other members of the team and reduces the chances of client dependency on any one worker. Clients should be informed that confidentiality exists between the client and the team.

There may be situations when maintenance of confidentiality by the agency is not appropriate and where confidentiality can be overridden. In general, there are three main situations where this may happen:

  • when there is an obligation not to conceal an intended or actual crime including child abuse, theft, assault, fraud
  • when the client may be in danger or come to harm if key information is withheld
  • when there may be a duty to inform a third party, such as a home visiting volunteer, who may be in danger.

In these situations, duty of care considerations can override confidentiality.

Informed consent
Catherine Villa only shares and exchanges personal information with the client's informed consent. Informed consent means that the client:

  • understands the need to exchange personal information about them
  • knows what personal information will be exchanged
  • knows with whom or what agency the information will be exchanged
  • agrees to the exchange.

Consent may be verbal or written. If verbal, consent is noted on the relevant client file. Written consent is recorded on our Consent Form which is attached to the client's file.
In situations where the worker believes that the client may not have the capacity to give informed consent because of their age, mental state or disability, we will attempt to get substitute consent from the client's guardian or appointed representative.
In situations where the client is unwilling to give consent, the need for privacy will be balanced against the organisation's duty of care responsibilities.