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Telephone: 1800 677 342

Privacy Policy

The Disability Services Commissioner is established under the Disability Act 2006. The Disability Services Commissioner collects, uses and discloses personal information (which includes sensitive information) and health information about people with a disability, their guardians, families, carers, and next of kin, as well as disability support workers and any other individuals that may be associated or connected with the provision of disability services and supports.

The Commissioner is committed to protecting the privacy of this personal and health information. The Commissioner is bound by various laws, including:

  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • Health Records Act 2001
  • Disability Act 2006
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982.

All the staff who work for the Disability Services Commissioner must act in accordance with this policy.

In this policy:

Health information has the same meaning as in the Health Records Act 2001 and includes information or an opinion about a person’s disability, physical, mental or psychological health, and the provision of disability services and health services.

Personal information has the same meaning as in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and includes information or an opinion that is recorded in any form and whether true or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

Sensitive information has the same meaning as in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and includes information or an opinion about an individual’s race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or preferences, and their criminal record.

Why do we collect personal, health and sensitive information?

The Commissioner collects personal information, health information and sensitive information necessary to perform their functions, and exercise their powers under the Disability Act 2006. These include:

  • to receive and manage enquiries about the provision of disability services
  • to assess, conciliate and/or investigate complaints about the provision of disability services and supports
  • to review and investigate incident reports from the Department of Health and Human Services and registered or regulated service providers categorised as Category 1 or major impact that relate to client assault, injury and poor quality care
  • to review, investigate and report on deaths of Victorians with a disability who were receiving disability services at the time of their death
  • to initiate investigations into the provision of disability services where there are allegations of abuse and neglect that relate to an individual or that are of a recurring or systemic nature
  • to provide advice, inquire into, or investigate any other matters referred to us by the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing or the Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services
  • to provide education and information in relation to responding effectively to complaints and preventing and responding to abuse and neglect
  • to conduct research into complaints relating to the provision of disability services and mechanisms for resolving these complaints
  • to conduct research into abuse and neglect in the provision of disability services and mechanisms for preventing this abuse and neglect.

How do we collect personal, health and sensitive information?

We will only collect personal information, health information, and sensitive information in a lawful and fair way. We will not be unreasonably intrusive.

Where possible, we will collect personal information, health information, and sensitive information from the person with a disability or their guardian or next of kin.

If this is not possible, we will take reasonable steps to make the person with a disability or their guardian or next of kin aware of this privacy policy.

In addition to collecting personal information, health information, and sensitive information from you, we may also collect this information from a number of other sources including:

  • guardians, carers or next of kin
  • people who make complaints or express concerns on behalf of a person with a disability. This may include guardians, family and friends, next of kin, disability advocates, or disability support workers and other professionals providing services or support to the person with a disability
  • Victorian and Commonwealth departments such as the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Commonwealth Department of Social Services
  • other bodies and statutory authorities such as the or the Coroners Court of Victoria, Victoria Police, the Office of the Public Advocate, and the Community Visitors Board
  • disability service providers and regulated service providers.

What personal, health and sensitive information do we collect?

In exercising our powers and functions, we may collect personal information, health information and sensitive information such as the following:

  • name, address and contact details
  • personal circumstances
  • disability
  • health conditions as they relate to disability services and supports
  • provision of disability services and supports
  • provision of related services and supports
  • incidents, complaints or concerns about the provision of disability services and supports.

What may happen if we cannot collect personal, health and sensitive information?

If we are unable to collect personal, health and sensitive information, we may be unable to perform our functions and exercise our powers.

In some cases, it may be an offence to fail to provide us with the personal, health and sensitive information that we request. In these circumstances, we will explain this to you and provide you with a reasonable opportunity to comply with the request.

How do we use the personal, health and sensitive information that we collect?

We will use the personal, health and sensitive information that we collect to perform our functions and exercise our powers.

When may we disclose your personal, health and sensitive information?

We are legally obliged to maintain confidentiality of the personal, health and sensitive information that we collect in the course of administering our powers and functions unless the disclosure is specifically permitted by the Disability Act 2006.

We are legally permitted to disclose your personal, health and sensitive information in any of the following circumstances:

  • to perform our functions and exercise our powers
  • to disclose information to a court or tribunal in the course of criminal proceedings
  • to comply with an order of the court or tribunal
  • to obtain legal advice.

We may also disclose your personal, health and sensitive information when you have provided us with written consent to do so.

When performing our inquiry, complaint or investigation functions we may also disclose your personal, health and sensitive information to certain individuals or bodies if it is relevant to the performance of our functions, or it will assist the individual or body to perform their functions. In this context, we may share information with individuals or entities such as the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, the Health Complaints Commissioner, the Victoria Police, the National Disability Insurance Agency, and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

What is the quality of the information that we collect?

We will take reasonable steps to ensure that any personal, health and sensitive information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete, up to date, and relevant to the exercise of our powers and functions.

How do we store and protect your personal, health and sensitive information?

We will take reasonable steps to protect the personal, health and sensitive information we hold from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. This includes retaining and destroying records according to the requirements of the Public Records Act 1973.

Can I access and correct my personal, health and sensitive information?

You have the right to request access to any your personal, health and sensitive information that we may have collected. These applications will be processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982. In some cases this may mean you will not get access to all of the information that you have requested.

You also have the right to request that we correct or update any of your personal, health or sensitive information that we may have collected that may be inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

If you would like to exercise these rights, you are invited to contact us using the following details:

Freedom of Information Officer
Disability Services Commissioner
570 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Can I remain anonymous?

If it is possible, we give you the option of not identifying yourself when you contact us.

Do you transfer personal, health and sensitive information outside of Victoria?

We will only transfer personal, health and sensitive information to someone who is outside Victoria in limited circumstances. This will only happen if it is permitted by law and we have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information will be held, used and disclosed in a similar way to the Victorian privacy law.

Complaints

If you have concerns about the way in which we have collected, used , disclosed or otherwise handled your personal, health or sensitive information, you are invited to contact us using the following details:

Principal Legal Officer
Disability Services Commissioner
570 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

 

Level 20, 570 Bourke Street,

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia

Call for enquiries or complaints - 1800 677 342

Email for enquiries or complaints - complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au