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Make Privacy a Priority this Privacy Awareness Week

May 6, 2021

Privacy Awareness Week is a global campaign that highlights the importance of maintaining privacy and raises awareness for public sector agencies about how to protect the personal information of the people they serve.

Respecting privacy is important because it can be highly personal. We are all different, and everyone has different ideas about their privacy. While some people might not be concerned about certain information being kept private, others have their own reasons to worry – including reputational damage, previous trauma or anxiety, a history of harassment or abuse, or even prior experience of identity theft.

Firstly, what is (and is not) Personal Information?

Personal information is:

  • Information or an opinion about an individual which can identify the person, and can be in either hard or soft copy format

Personal information is not:

  • Information that is already publicly available, for example online or in a directory
  • Information or an opinion about the individual’s suitability for appointment or employment as a public official
  • Information about someone who has been deceased for more than 30 years

Privacy obligations in NSW

Under NSW privacy laws, public sector agencies and their staff are responsible for protecting the personal information they collect. 

Government organisations hold a wealth of personal information, with some examples including:

1. Records of property ownership8. Leave and salary details
2. Submissions9. Complaints, investigations and disciplinary matters
3. Various kinds of applications10. Qualifications, tickets, licenses and education history
4. Service attendance lists11. Pecuniary interests returns
5. Petitions12. Tax file numbers and bank account details
6. Booking systems13. Performance management plans
7. Insurance claims14. Medical certificates

There are legal obligations by which NSW public sector agencies, statutory bodies, universities and local councils must abide by when they collect, store, use or disclose personal information.

These obligations are outlined in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act).

How can you respect and prioritise privacy?

It’s simple. If staff have access to personal information and receive a query or request for that information, they need to think about their privacy obligations. Staff should look for all possible reasons as to why the information might be sensitive, and always comply with the rules set out in the legislation.  

Importantly, staff should not become complacent and should actively participate in training regarding their privacy obligations.

How can Centium help

Centium has developed a new Privacy eLearning module based on NSW legislation. The module aims to raise awareness of the importance of privacy and provide practical information to allow staff to fulfil their legislative obligations.

Our suite of eLearning modules:

  • Are standalone or compatible with most in-house learning management systems
  • Are Quick, engaging and effective
  • Can complement or replace face-to-face training
  • Are easy to access
  • Require minimal administration
  • Include a range of day-to-day scenarios regularly faced by public employees

In addition to our Privacy module, Centium has also developed other eLearning modules on the Local Government Code of Conduct, Records and Information Management, and the Public Interest Disclosures Act.

To discuss your information and governance training needs or for more information about how our eLearning solutions can meet your unique needs and circumstances, please contact us or check out our Learning and Development services.

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