The Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner has ruled that as long as South Australia’s NGOs follow the Information Sharing Guidelines (ISG) approach to information sharing they are considered to not be in breach of National Privacy Principles (NPP 2.1 and NPP 10.1) regarding collection and sharing of client information.
The determinations came into effect on 16 February 2012 and were in response to applications by Wesley Uniting Care Adelaide and other non-government organisations that were limited in their ability to apply the ISG by Commonwealth privacy legislation.
It is important to note that is all other respects the privacy principles in the Commonwealth Privacy Act still apply.
The determinations means that by following the ISG, South Australia’s NGOs can now share information with other South Australian NGOs and government agencies when there is serious risk of harm and it is in the public interest that they join in coordinating services for vulnerable families.
The determinations are required to be registered on the Federal Register of Public Instruments before they come into force, which will happen in the next few days.
Legislation that will change national privacy laws to allow the sharing of information to protect children and families is expected to be presented to Federal Parliament later this year.
Information on the Guidelinesis now at www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au/isg/.
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