AIFS Privacy Policy

On this page

About this policy

Part A. Our personal information handling practices

Part B. Files: How we handle specific types of files that contain personal information

Part C. Information collected online by AIFS

About this policy

Purpose

The purpose of this privacy policy is to:

  • clearly communicate the personal information handling practices of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
  • enhance the transparency of AIFS operations
  • give individuals a better and more complete understanding of the sort of personal information that AIFS holds, and the way we handle that information.

I don't have time to read the whole policy. What should I read first?

This privacy policy has been developed to follow the "layered policy" format, which means that it offers layers of greater or lesser detail so people can read as much as they wish and find what they need fast.

If all you want is a snapshot of our personal information handling practices, you can have a look at our condensed Privacy Policy. This offers an easy-to-understand summary of:

  • how we collect, use, disclose and store your personal information
  • how you can contact us if you want to access or correct personal information we hold about you.

If, on the other hand, you are in search of a more comprehensive explanation of our information handling practices, then this is the document for you. This document forms the "detailed" layer of our privacy policy.

Both this complete Privacy Policy and the condensed Privacy Policy were last updated in May 2014.

Outline of this policy

"Part A. Our personal information handling practices" explains our general information handling practices across AIFS, including information about how we collect, use, disclose and store your personal information.

"Part B. Files" offers further detail by explaining our personal information handling practices in relation to specific AIFS functions or activities such as research, research communication and policy advice. Here you can find out what sort of records we keep and why. You may find this section helpful if, for example, you have responded to an AIFS research-related survey and wish to know how we manage our survey files.

"Part C. Information collected online by AIFS" explains our personal information handling practices when you visit our websites.

Part A. Our personal information handling practices

Our obligations under the Privacy Act

This privacy policy sets out how we comply with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). As an Australian Government agency, we are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act, which regulate how agencies may collect, use, disclose and store personal information, and how individuals may access and correct personal information held about them.

In this privacy policy, "personal information" has the same meaning as defined by section 6 of the Privacy Act:

information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:

  1. whether the information or opinion is true or not; and
  2. whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.

Collection

It is our usual practice to collect personal information directly from the individual or their authorised representative.

Sometimes we collect personal information from a third party or a publicly available source, but only if the individual has consented to such collection or would reasonably expect us to collect their personal information in this way, or if it is necessary for a specific purpose such as the investigation of a privacy complaint.

In certain circumstances, we may collect personal information from other government agencies to assist us to contact members of the public to seek their participation in a research study.

In limited circumstances, we may receive personal information about third parties from individuals who contact us and supply us with the personal information of others in the documents they provide to us.

We only collect personal information for purposes that are reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, our functions or activities in accordance with the Family Law Act 1975, and the Privacy Act 1988, and only when it is necessary for or directly related to such purposes. We also collect personal information related to employment services, human resource management, and other corporate service functions.

These purposes are listed below.

Conduct research and communicate findings

Personal information is collected when an individual takes part in an AIFS research project and provides personal information as part of responding to a research survey or interview. (Note that generally if personal information is collected during a survey or interview, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from an individual's response prior to analysis, so that data being analysed is in a de-identified form.)

The types of AIFS research projects in which personal information may be collected include:

  • cross sectional studies
  • longitudinal studies (where the participants for each study are surveyed several times over the course of the study)
  • qualitative studies.

AIFS may, from time to time, create or maintain registers of research, programs or practices for access by policy makers, service providers, other researchers and the broader community. The registers are compiled by inviting individuals to complete an online survey detailing their research, program or practice.

Enquiries

Personal information is collected when an individual contacts us asking for information or advice about AIFS's functions and its legislation, research publications or general information.

Policy advice

Personal information is collected when:

  • we have contact with officers in Australian, state and territory government agencies, or private sector organisations for the purpose of analysis and advice
  • we plan consultation with stakeholders whom we believe will want to be consulted
  • we research policy issues.

Public awareness and education

Personal information is collected when:

  • people ask to be on an email or mailing list so that the AIFS can send them information about its activities and publications
  • we record whom we have had contact with in relation to media or other public relations events
  • we conduct events or deliver training.

Administrative activities

Personal information is collected when we manage the personnel and corporate service functions of AIFS.

For more detailed information about these purposes and the information handling practices that apply to them, see "Part B. Files".

We also collect personal information (including contact details) as part of our normal communication processes directly related to those purposes, including when:

  • an individual emails staff members
  • an individual telephones us
  • an individual hands us their business card.

Use and disclosure

We only use personal information for the purposes for which it was collected, either for a particular purpose (primary purpose) or for a related purpose (secondary purpose).

In some instances, we may use personal information, such as contact details AIFS has obtained from another government agency, to contact members of the public to participate in research surveys, focus groups or interviews. If any individual does not wish to participate or continue to participate in a research study, we do not use their contact details for any other purpose and in the majority of cases, destroy their personal information in line with the AIFS Records Disposal Authority.

We do not give personal information to other government agencies, organisations or anyone else unless one of the following applies:

  • the individual has consented
  • the individual would reasonably expect, or has been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those individuals, bodies or agencies
  • it is otherwise required or authorised by law
  • it will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody's life or health
  • it is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of public revenue.

Data quality

We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect is accurate, up-to-date and complete. These steps include maintaining and updating personal information when we are advised by individuals that their personal information has changed, and at other times as necessary.

Data security

We take reasonable steps to protect the personal information we hold against interference, loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and other misuse, in line with the Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF). These steps include password protection for accessing our electronic IT systems, securing paper files in locked cabinets, and implementing physical access restrictions. In addition, we also manage personal information in accordance with our records management policies and procedures.

When no longer required, personal information is destroyed in a secure manner, or deleted according to the AIFS Records Authority  and the Archives Act 1983.

Access and correction

If an individual requests access to the personal information we hold about them, or requests that we change that personal information, we will allow access or make the changes unless we consider that there is a sound reason under the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act 1982 or other relevant law to withhold the information or not make the changes.

If we do not agree to provide access to personal information or to amend or annotate the information we hold, an individual may lodge a formal complaint with AIFS.

If we do not agree to make requested changes to personal information the individual may make a statement about the requested changes and we will attach this to the record.

Research participants should note that any personal information AIFS collects about a participant during a research study may be de-identified or destroyed in line with the AIFS Records Authority prior to the completion of that study. Therefore, in many instances, research participants will not be able to seek access to or correction of the personal information they disclosed to AIFS during a survey, interview or focus group.

Individuals can obtain further information about how to request access or changes to the information we hold about them by contacting us.

Complaints

An individual may wish to complain about an act or practice undertaken by AIFS that the individual considers to be an interference with their privacy.

If an individual wishes to make a complaint, they should contact us.

Alternatively, if an individual is a participant in an AIFS research project, they may wish to lodge a complaint with the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat.

Irrespective of which complaints process an individual chooses to use (standard or Ethics Committee), their right to complain to the OAIC is not affected.

How to contact us

Individuals can obtain further information in relation to this Privacy Policy, or provide any comments, by contacting us online, by telephone or in writing:

Telephone

(03) 9214 7888 (or from outside Australia +61 3 9214 7888)

Assisted contact

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for (03) 9214 7888
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for (03) 9214 7888

If you do not speak English, or English is your second language, and you need assistance to communicate with us, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 then ask for 9214 7888.

Post

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000,
Australia

Facsimile

+61 3 9214 7839

Email

aifs-privacy@aifs.gov.au

Part B. Files: How we handle specific types of files that contain personal information

AIFS conducts research and communicates findings that affect family wellbeing to: policy makers, service providers, other researchers, and the broader community.

AIFS holds eight classes of personal information.

1. Research records: Cross-sectional studies

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible so that records being analysed are in a de-identified format.

AIFS conducts research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. In most projects, the data collected from research participants are either anonymous (e.g., submitted online or by Reply Paid postal responses) or are de-identified to protect the privacy of participants.

Personal information collected from participants may include: the participant's name, address, gender, date of birth, occupation, education and income, as well as similar information for others in the household or family of the participant.

Sensitive information collected from participants may include: relationship information or status, health or medical information, details of contact with legal system or courts, sexuality, history of violence and religion.

Survey responses that include personal information are securely kept as records. The records are kept in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

2. Research records: Longitudinal studies

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible, so that records being analysed are virtually anonymous.

AIFS conducts research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. The participants for each longitudinal study are surveyed multiple times over the course of the study.

For most longitudinal studies, surveys are conducted by contracted service providers. The data collected by an external service provider, including personal information, are kept and securely stored by that service provider. AIFS ensures via its contracting arrangements and specific security provisions within those contracts, that all identifying data are held separately from the survey responses and appropriately secured, in line with the PSPF. External providers provide AIFS with survey responses in a de-identified format.

Where AIFS researchers conduct the survey themselves, the data are de-identified to protect the privacy of participants and the contact details held separately from the survey responses and appropriately secured, in line with the PSPF.

Personal information collected from participants may include: the participant's name; address, gender, date of birth, occupation, education, income, personality/temperament, personal strengths, interpersonal relationships (with parents, peers, partners), and life events. Similar information may be collected for others in the household, family or teachers of the participant.

Sensitive information collected from participants may include: relationship information or status; attitudes to/experiences of marriage, cohabitation, and children; health or medical information; details of contact with legal system or courts; sexuality; history of violence; emotional adjustment (e.g., depression, anxiety); licit and illicit substance use; antisocial behaviour (including contact with the criminal justice system); risky driving practices (e.g., driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs); child maltreatment; and religion.

Participant contact details and responses to surveys or interviews that include personal information are kept as records. The records are securely kept in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

The personal information that forms part of the research data for certain studies may also be disclosed to pre-approved data users under strict confidentiality requirements.

3. Research records: Qualitative studies

AIFS conducts qualitative research based on samples drawn from the Australian population. The participants for each study may be interviewed several times over the course of the study.

Generally, if personal information is collected, any information that could potentially be used to identify an individual is removed from the records as early as possible, so that records being analysed are in a de-identified format.

If transcription is required, encrypted interview files are supplied to appropriately authorised transcribers who commence removal of identifying information such as landmarks and street names. Transcripts are further de-identified by AIFS researchers with the removal of details such as employment or age. In many instances, once the content of the transcript is verified, the interviews are destroyed and all links between participant contact details and the interview transcripts are destroyed. For certain research projects, AIFS may retain a research participant's contact details to enable AIFS to contact that individual during the research project.

Personal information collected may include: the participant's name, address, email address and telephone.

Contact details and consent forms for participants in a study are securely kept as records in a variety of formats, including computer, paper, audio, video and digital media.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected.

4. Registers of research, programs or practices

AIFS may, from time to time, create or maintain registers of research, programs or practices for access by policy makers, service providers, other researchers and the broader community. The registers are compiled by inviting individuals to complete an online survey detailing their research.

Personal information collected may include: the name and email address of people who register research projects.

Contact details of individuals who submit personal information are securely kept as records. The records are kept in an electronic and hard-copy format.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on specific project(s) for which this information was collected. Some information is also publically available on our website.

5. Mailing lists

The purpose of these records is to support the distribution of AIFS information and publications, including the journal Family Matters, materials produced by our research dissemination and knowledge exchange units ("clearinghouses"), Growing Up In Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and other AIFS publications. They are also used for the distribution of email alerts related to AIFS or the clearinghouses.

Personal information collected may include: name, address, position title, section organisation, postal address, business telephone number, fax number and email address of subscribers.

Personal information relating to persons that have subscribed to AIFS mailing lists are securely kept as records. The records are kept until the individual asks to be removed from the mailing list or fails to respond to a request confirming their continued interest.

The records are kept while necessary and are updated regularly and are stored on computer and paper files.

The personal information contained in these records may be accessed by authorised staff working who are responsible for administering AIFS mailing lists.

Personal information may be disclosed to third parties who facilitate the distribution of AIFS information, publications or alerts; for example, online service providers or an external mailing house that provide mail distribution services.

6. General enquiries and correspondence

AIFS collects personal information from telephone, written and online enquiries received about AIFS research, AIFS publications, Freedom of Information requests, privacy, and family-related policy matters, to enable us to respond to those enquiries. For example, the AIFS Library, CFCA and ACSSA receive general queries and correspondence from members of the general public.

We collect personal information directly from applicants/complainants and research participants, or their authorised representatives.

We only use the personal information we collect to prepare a response to the enquiry and to contact the applicant/complainant, or research participant with a response to their request or complaint.

Personal information collected may include: name, address, postal address, telephone number, email address, and details of the request or complaint. The AIFS response to the request or complaint, which may include identifying information.

Personal information relating to individuals that have lodged an enquiry or complaint is securely kept as records.

The records are kept while necessary and are updated when advised by the individual that their personal information has changed. Records are stored in an electronic and hard copy format.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working on responding to the enquiry, request or complaint.

7. Financial information and accounting records

The purpose of these records is to maintain a record of moneys handled by AIFS.

Personal information collected and included in finance records may include: name, address, bank details, form of payment and employee payroll information.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff in the Finance Team.

The records are kept for seven years in an electronic and hardcopy format and then destroyed in accordance with the AIFS General Disposal Authority.

This information is not disclosed to other persons or organisations.

8. Personnel records

The purpose of these records is to maintain employment history, payroll and administrative information relating to all ongoing, non-ongoing, casual and contract employees of AIFS.

Personnel and payroll

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records relating to attendance and overtime
  • leave applications and approvals
  • medical and dental records
  • payroll and pay-related records, including banking details
  • tax file number declaration forms
  • declarations of pecuniary interests
  • personal history files
  • performance appraisals
  • records relating to personal development and training
  • trade, skill and aptitude test records
  • completed questionnaires and personnel survey forms
  • travel documentation
  • records relating to personal welfare matters
  • contracts and conditions of employment
  • equal employment opportunity (EEO) data
  • next-of-kin details.

Recruitment

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • recruitment records and dossiers
  • records relating to the relocation of staff and removal of personal effects
  • records relating to character checks and security clearances.

Other

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records of accidents and injuries
  • compensation case files
  • rehabilitation case files
  • records relating to counselling and discipline matters, including disciplinary, investigation and action files, legal action files, records of criminal convictions, and any other staff and establishment records as appropriate
  • complaints and grievances
  • recommendations for honours and awards.

Personal information collected in personnel records may include: name, address, date of birth, occupation, AGS number, gender, qualifications, equal employment opportunity group designation, next of kin, details of pay and allowances, leave details, work reports, security clearance details and employment history.

Personnel records may include information that employees may consider sensitive such as: physical and mental health, disabilities, racial or ethnic origin, disciplinary investigation and action, criminal convictions, adverse performance and security assessments, tax file numbers, relationship details and personal financial information.

Personal information on personnel records relates to current and former employees.

The agency staff having access to personnel records are: executive and personnel management staff, supervisors and members of selection committees (if appropriate), the individual to whom the record relates and, as appropriate, personnel staff, security officers, case managers, and outsourced payroll provider.

Personnel records are kept according to the applicable provisions of the General Disposal Authority for staff and establishment records issued by the National Archives of Australia.

Information held in personnel records may be disclosed, as appropriate, to: Comcare, Commonwealth Medical Officers, Attorney-General's Department, Australian Public Service Commission, ComSuper and other superannuation administrators, Australian Taxation Office, and the receiving agency following the movement or re-engagement of an employee.

Records relate to all current and former employees of AIFS and are stored on paper and electronic media.

Part C. Information collected online by AIFS

Collection

It is our usual practice to collect information about all visitors to our online resources. That information is very limited and only used to identify generic behavioural patterns.

Sometimes we use third party platforms to deliver information. These are sites hosted and managed by organisations other than ourselves. Before deciding if you want to contribute to any third party site you should read their privacy policy.

There are several methods and packages that we use to collect visitor behaviours on each of our online platforms. We use Google Analytics on our websites. Information and data collected through Google Analytics is stored by Google on servers in the United States of America, Belgium and Finland. You can opt out of the collection of information via Google Analytics by downloading the Google Analytics Opt-out browser add on.

When you visit any of our online resources, our metric tools may collect the following information about your visit for statistical purposes:

  • server address
  • top level domain name (e.g., .com, .gov, .au, .uk etc.)
  • the date and time of your visit to the site
  • the pages you accessed and documents downloaded during your visit
  • the previous site you visited
  • if you've visited our site before
  • the type of browser used.

We record these data to maintain our server and improve our services. We do not use this information to personally identify anyone.

Cookies

Most of our online platforms use sessions and cookies. The core functionality on these platforms will be largely unaffected if you disable cookies in your browser but you may be unable to access some advanced functions.

Use and disclosure

We do not give personal information collected online to other agencies, organisations or anyone else without consent unless the individual would reasonably expect, or has been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those agencies, organisations or individuals, or the disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Data quality

We will delete or correct any personal information that we hold about you on request.

If you are on one of our automated email lists, you may opt out of further contact or correspondence from us by clicking the "unsubscribe" link included in our emails.

Data security

There are inherent risks in transmitting information across the Internet and we do not have the ability to control the security of information collected and stored on third party platforms. In relation to our own servers, we take all reasonable steps to manage data stored on our servers to ensure data security.

Access and correction

For information about how to access or correct personal information collected on our website see "Access and correction" in Part A of this document.

This page makes up a part of the AIFS Information Publication Scheme.

Interaction between AIFS Website and Social Media Sites

The Institute uses a range of social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter to inform, engage and communicate with members of the public. We may also provide social media plugins on our website to make it easy for you to share information via social media sites.

The Institute is not responsible for the content or privacy practices of other websites, including social media sites. We encourage you to read these other websites’ privacy policies prior to accessing these sites and for further information.

We do not collect, use or disclose personal information posted on social media sites that were accessed via our website using a social media plugin.

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