Privacy and Complaints Policies
PRP 001 – Privacy
This policy applies to the whole of NSWCAG: the Board, staff, volunteers and contractors.
NSWCAG is bound by the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 and Private Sector Amendment Act (2000) . This Act sets out individual rights and NSWCAG’s responsibilities relating to any personal and sensitive information we hold about consumers and stakeholders. The National
Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out ten principles that must be followed when handling someone’s personal and sensitive information.
PRP 001.1 Privacy
- When NSWCAG represents views and opinions of a consumer, it is done with the express consent from that consumer to be named as someone with a mental illness.
- Consumers have the right to have their view represented by NSWCAG anonymously. NSWCAG will indicate this request for anonymity in some form eg. note on file, or datafield in an electronic database.
- Except where required by the constitution, NSWCAG does not share personal or sensitive information that may be stored on any database with any third party or organisation.
- The constitution provides that all members of NSWCAG are able to access the database of NSWCAG’s membership. This database will contain only names and suburbs. All other information will be kept confidential, and not shared with any third party or organisation.
- NSWCAG may be approached for consumer opinions by external parties. NSWCAG will in all cases contact consumers ourselves on the third party’s behalf and listing appropriate referral information back to that third party.
PRP 001.2 National Privacy Principles
1. Sensitive Information (NPP 10) – Consumers and Carers
Under the NPPs, health information is considered “sensitive” information and any organisation that collects or holds “sensitive” information about their consumers, stakeholders, clients or members, must abide by the NPPs. As a representative organisation for consumers of Mental Health services, NSWCAG does hold sensitive information and is committed to ensuring the safety, confidentiality and protection of that information.
2. Collection (NPP 1)
- NSWCAG collects only the information necessary to provide consumers with the highest standard of service. This includes name, address, phone number, email address, organisational membership, consumer disclosures and carer disclosures.
- Where NSWCAG has obtained information about consumers indirectly, ie. a third party organisation, NSWCAG will take all reasonable steps to inform people that it holds such information.
3. Use and Disclosure (NPP 2)
- NSWCAG only uses or discloses personal information for the purpose for which it was collected.
- Personal Information about consumers will only be used or disclosed by NSWCAG in ways which have been made explicit and about which consumers have given express consent.
- NSWCAG is bound to disclose personal or sensitive information about consumers as required by law.
4. Data Quality (NPP 3)
- NSWCAG will take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information collected, used or disclosed about consumers and carers is as accurate and as current as possible.
5. Data Security (NPP 4)
- NSWCAG ensures that all personal information is kept securely. NSWCAG takes reasonable steps to protect personal information of consumers from misuse, loss, unauthorised or unnecessary access, alteration or disclosure.
6. Openness (NPP 5)
7. Access and Correction (NPP 6)
- Access to consumer information can only be done by staff in the performance of their duties or specifically at the request of a consumer.
- NSWCAG will provide access to personal information it holds about you upon request. In some circumstances, NSWCAG may not be able to comply, where it means someone else’s privacy may be breached.
- Upon request, NSWCAG will correct any out-of-date or inaccurate information. NSWCAG will do this either over the phone, face-to-face or by other means of communication.
8. Identifiers (NPP 7)
- NSWCAG does not use identifiers or reference numbers assigned by other organisations or government departments or services.
- NSWCAG may assign identifiers or references to personal information records such as database numbers for newsletter mail outs.
9. Anonymity (NPP 8)
NSWCAG will provide the option of consumers interacting with NSWCAG anonymously, wherever it is practicable.
10. Transborder Data Flows (NPP 9)
NSWCAG will only send personal information to a third party in a foreign country with prior consent or if the information has protection substantially similar to the National Privacy Principles outlined in the Act.
Complaints – GRP 001
Client and Stakeholder Management – CSMP 001
GRP 004 Complaints (External)
As a peak representative organisation, NSWCAG values the opinions and views of its clients and stakeholders and is committed to providing the best possible representation and service. A clear and effective complaints and dispute resolution policy is one way to ensure we are achieving such a service. The purpose of this document is to inform clients and stakeholders of our Complaints policy, and to promote a fast and efficient resolution of any complaints received.
This policy focuses on external complaints from clients and stakeholders of NSWCAG who are not staff or Board Members.
The types of Complaints covered by this policy from clients and stakeholders about NSWCAG include:
- Standard of service received from NSWCAG.
- Failure to receive a service or to meet client or stakeholder needs.
- NSWCAG’s policies or procedures.
- Behaviour of staff or Board members toward clients and stakeholders.
2. Valuing Complaints
NSWCAG believes that a Complaints policy is vital to both client and stakeholder satisfaction, and to providing a quality service. These policy principles provide the basis for the handling of client and stakeholder complaints:
- Any complaint is handled in the most appropriate manner at the earliest opportunity.
- All clients and stakeholders are treated fairly and without fear of intimidation or reprisal.
- All clients and stakeholders of NSWCAG are aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to making a complaint.
- All staff and Board members of NSWCAG are aware of their obligations and responsibilities to clients and stakeholders in relation to handling complaints.
- Complaints should be able to be made in a form which suits the client: written, verbal, or in person.
- Complaint responses should be guided by what the client is seeking as a remedy, but with an acceptance that this may not always be possible.
- Complaints are an opportunity for NSWCAG to learn and should always be documented.
3. Who should I make my complaint to?
- If your complaint is about a standard of service, please contact the Executive Officer.
- If the complaint is about a project or communications from a staff member please contact the Executive Officer.
- If the complaint is about a policy or procedure, please contact the Executive Officer.
- If the complaint is about the behaviour of a staff member, please contact the Executive Officer.
- If the complaint is about the Executive Officer, please contact one of NSWCAG’s Board members.
- If the complaint is about a member of the Board, or the Board of NSWCAG, please contact the Executive Officer.
4. Procedure for making a Complaint
- First, it is best to talk to the person concerned. If you do not feel comfortable about this, you can speak or write to the NSWCAG Executive Officer.
- If your complaint relates to an incident or a communication, please list the time, the date, the situation, what was said or done and your concerns about what was said or done.
- You will receive an acknowledgement from NSWCAG – by letter, phone call or email, within 14 days of making your complaint, explaining what the next steps are, and asking what you would like to do. At all times, NSWCAG will do this sensitively and quickly.
- NSWCAG aims to resolve all complaints within a further 14 days of receipt of the written/verbal/personal complaint. If this not possible we will write to you and explain why.
5. Needs of Clients and Stakeholders
NSWCAG understands that you may want to have a friend or person you trust to help you in any of your dealings with us. This person can help you put your comments in writing, be with you when you put forward your comments or attend any meetings.
In most instances the Executive Officer is the person responsible for overseeing the investigation and resolution of the complaint. NSWCAG is determined to ensure the complaints process is as fair as possible and every complaint will be dealt with on an individual basis. Generally, investigations or discussions regarding resolution of a complaint will include, but not be limited to:
- A private interview to ascertain the facts and what the complainant expects to happen as a result of making the complaint.
- An interview with the staff or Board member, if the alleged complaint pertains to them.
- An interview or discussion with staff involved if the complaint relates to a service or the lack of service being offered.
- Examination of any relevant documents.
Each complaint raised will have a different resolution. NSWCAG is committed to ensuring that the best possible outcome is achieved for its clients and stakeholders and where necessary to improve services. NSWCAG is committed to a complainant-centred level of satisfaction when agreeing to possible courses of actions and outcomes. They may include, but not be limited to, any combination of the following:
- A formal apology and sincere contrition if the complaint is about staff or a Board member.
- A formal NSWCAG apology if the complaint is about unsatisfactory or absent service delivery.
- Disciplinary action against staff or Board member.
- Where practical and reasonable, changes adopted to service, service quality or the delivery of a NSWCAG service.
- Disciplinary action against the person who complained if there is strong evidence that the complaint was vexatious or malicious.
8. Further Action
If any client or stakeholder is unhappy with the resolution, they can contact the Board of NSWCAG. If any client or stakeholder still feels their complaint has not been satisfactorily dealt with, they are encouraged to contact:
Manager, Prevention and Community Partnerships
NSW Mental Health & Drug and Alcohol Office
02 9391 9000
CSMP 100 Client and Stakeholder Management
GP 003 Executive Officer Limitations
HRP 005 Harassment and Bullying