Uniting is responsible for the social justice, community services and chaplaincy work of the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT, providing care and support for people through all ages and stages of life and with a focus on people experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability. Our purpose is to inspire people, enliven communities and confront injustice. We celebrate diversity and welcome everyone exactly as they are.
We appreciate that privacy is important to you and Uniting is committed to handling your personal information (including health and other sensitive information) in accordance with applicable privacy laws, including the Australian Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Personal information is information or opinion that identifies a person or from which a person can reasonably be identified. It includes information such as your name, address, date of birth, contact details and emergency contacts. If you receive aged care services it may also include “sensitive information” such as your care records, medical history, treatment and advice you have been given by healthcare professionals, and other information relevant to your care or the services we provide.
What personal information does Uniting collect and hold and why?
We collect personal information reasonably necessary for one or more of our functions or activities as a provider of aged care and disability programs, services for vulnerable families, children and young people and quality preschool education and care. The types of information we generally collect includes your name, date of birth, address and other contact details such as your telephone numbers and email address. Depending on the purpose of our interaction with you, we may also collect additional personal information.
Providing us with accurate and complete information is important for the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services we provide. If you do not provide accurate and complete information, or you withhold information, it may affect the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services we provide and the funding available to you or us for those services. In certain circumstances, this may mean that we are not able to provide you with services.
More detail about the personal information (including sensitive information) we collect and why is set out below. If you have any concerns about the personal information we have asked you to provide, please raise those concerns with us.
Prospective client and clients of Uniting’s services
In addition to the general information noted above, we may collect and hold:
- sensitive information relating to your health and care needs, your racial/ethnic origin, your lifestyle choices and your health care preferences and wishes;
- information about you that was provided to the Aged Care Assessment Team, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, Medicare Australia, Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs;
- information about your financial status and your social security status;
- information regarding details of your appointed attorney, guardian or other alternative decision makers;
- contact details for your family members;
- information that we are required to collect or hold under the legislation which includes sensitive information relating to your health and care needs;
- records relating to your enquiries about entry into one of our services; and any other information required by law or Uniting’s duty of care.
We generally collect information directly from you. We may also collect personal information about you from third parties, for example:
- from a government agency including those listed above as well as independent agencies such as the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner, and Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority;
- from your medical practitioner or other healthcare professional;
- from other organisations that have provided you with care and/or accommodation services;
- from your authorised representative or family members.
We may collect your personal information for the following purposes:
- to provide you with appropriate ongoing accommodation or care services, including by developing care and services plans and communicating with your nominated healthcare professionals;
- to comply with the requirements of the laws that regulate our provision of residential aged care, community care or retirement living services;
- to comply with the requirements of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) and Community Welfare Act 1987 (NSW);
- to determine your eligibility to entitlements under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) or other legislation relating to the services you may receive;
- to determine your eligibility to reside in a retirement village;
- to liaise with your authorised representative and to contact nominated individuals (such as family members) if requested or needed;
- to comply with our obligations to give financial and asset information to the Australian Government to determine our funding entitlements and to determine the fees you pay us;
- to enter into contract arrangements for the services or accommodation we may provide;
- to meet any other regulatory, legislative or care requirement.
Supporters of Uniting
When you make a donation, register for an event or make inquiries about our activities, we may collect your personal information including your donation history, areas of interest to you and payment information including your credit card details.
We collect this information to send you receipts as well as surveys, newsletters and information about research, education and fundraising events and activities. We may use your personal information to contact you to seek financial support for other activities we undertake in promoting the work we do (or Uniting may do so). Typically, Uniting may send you appeal letters throughout the year as well as issues of our newsletter. You may choose what you receive at any time. If you do not wish us to use personal information to send you this information please contact us by using our contact details below.
Prospective employees, volunteers and contractors
We may collect personal information when canvassing recruitment of staff or volunteers. Generally speaking, we collect personal information that you supply to us as part of this process for the purpose of assessing your application. We will collect information about you from third parties, such as your referees, as part of your assessment of your suitability for a position. In providing contact details for your referees, you are considered to have given your consent to our collecting personal information from your referees that may assist us with assessing your application. Similarly, we may confirm details about your past positions with previously employers (eg to confirm your duration of employment). We may also collect health information directly related to your ability to perform the inherent requirements of the position, with your consent.
If we are considering offering you a position, Uniting may collect additional personal information about you such as your date of birth, tax file number, emergency contact details, ABN (if relevant), bank account and superannuation information, visa, passport and licence details (if relevant) and details relating to your police check.
With your consent, we may retain your details on file to enable us to contact you if you have been previously unsuccessful and an appropriate position becomes available.
GPs, referring doctors and other healthcare professionals
Uniting may collect personal information about individual health professionals who interact with us and who are involved in the care of our residents and clients. This information is typically information such as an individual health professional’s name, contact details, professional details and information regarding interactions and transactions with Uniting.
Uniting may collect personal information about individuals who we deal with on a commercial basis such as suppliers, contractors and individuals in organisations to which we provide goods and services or from which we acquire goods and services. We may collect personal information about you including your name, position, contact details, licence or registration number, ABN, bank detail and other information relevant to the capacity in which you are dealing with Uniting. We generally collect this information to enable us to contact and deal with you and to enable us to fulfil any obligation or undertaking relevant to your relationship with Uniting.
Visitors to our website
If you provide us with personal information through our website, we may log your usage to assist us to make our website more accessible and valuable to our clients and future website visitors.
The internet is not always a secure method of transmitting information. Whilst Uniting takes reasonable steps to ensure that information it receives is maintained securely, it cannot ensure that communications conducted via the internet will be secure.
Can you deal with Uniting anonymously?
You have the option of not identifying yourself, or using a pseudonym, when dealing with Uniting in certain circumstances, for example, when making a general enquiry about our services. However, it is generally not practicable or lawful for Uniting to deal with you anonymously or pseudonymously on an ongoing basis, for example, if you wish to make a more detailed enquiry about our services or become a client. If we do not collect personal information about you, we may be unable to provide you with the information or services you have asked us to provide.
We recognise the generosity of contributions of our supporters in our annual report. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact us using the details below.
How does Uniting use and disclose your personal information?
Generally, most of the information we handle relates to the care and accommodation we provide, in which case we use and disclose personal information:
- in order to liaise with other health professionals and health services that may be involved in managing or treating you, such as general practitioners and dentists;
- when services we are required to provide under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) are provided by healthcare professionals who are not employed by us. These healthcare professionals include but are not limited to physiotherapists, podiatrists and pharmacists;
- when services we are required to provide under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) and Community Welfare Act 1987 (NSW);
- in order to comply with the statutory requirements which may require information be shared with government agencies, including the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, Medicare Australia, Centrelink, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency or the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner;
- to maintain records required under our policies and by law; and
- for related purposes in managing and administering Uniting’s services, including managing billing and debt recovery, training of staff and contractors and managing their work performance and career progression, quality assurance and evaluation, maintenance and testing of information technology systems, obtaining advice from consultants and professional advisers and investigating or managing complaints, concerns or claims (including liaising with legal representatives and insurers).
How does Uniting hold personal information?
Uniting holds personal information in paper-based and electronic records and systems. Personal information may be collected in paper-based documents and converted to electronic form for storage (with the original paper-based documents either archived or securely destroyed).
Information held in paper-based form is generally securely stored at the Uniting service from which you receive services or head office in Sydney, Australia, or in the case of archived records, at an external storage facility in Australia. Uniting uses physical security and other measures to protect personal information from misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.
Information held in electronic form is generally held on servers controlled by Uniting in Australia. Uniting uses physical security, password protection and other measures to protect personal information from misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.
Will your information be disclosed to overseas recipients?
Uniting does not typically or routinely disclose personal information to overseas recipients. Unless we have your consent, or an exception under the Australian Privacy Principles applies, we will only disclose your personal information to overseas recipients where we have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles in relation to your personal information.
How can you access, correct and update your personal information
You (or your authorised representative) are generally entitled to access the personal information we hold about you except where access can or must be denied or limited by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
To request access to your personal information, please contact Uniting’s Privacy Officer using the contact details below
Requests for access should include:
- if the person requesting information is an authorised representative, proof that the person requesting access is lawfully authorised to do so (such as a copy of the Enduring Power of Attorney appointing the person as well as a copy of the person’s drivers licence or passport);
- specific details of the information sought so that we can identify what personal information is being requested;
- the form in which the information is requested (for example, a copy of the information or a request to view the information contained in our records).
We will not charge a fee for lodging a request for access or for compiling information in response to your request.
We will generally provide access to personal information in the form requested unless this is unreasonable or impractical, in which case we may provide the information in another way. For example, if providing information may have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals we may provide only some of the information.
If you believe the personal information we hold is inaccurate, incomplete, not up to date or misleading, you may request that the information be amended and we must take reasonable steps to correct the information.
If we decide not to grant access to personal information or we refuse to correct personal information we will provide you with written reasons for our decision, the mechanisms available to complain and any other matters that we may be legally required to tell you.
Notifiable Data Breaches
If Uniting determines that personal information has been accessed without permission, acquired, used or disclosed in a manner which compromises the security of the personal information, Uniting will assess the risk to affected parties.
If Uniting determine that a breach causes serious harm to an individual, Uniting will notify all affected parties (including the individuals to whom the data pertains and the Australian Information Commissioner). The notification will provide recommendations about the steps individuals should take in response to the breach.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your personal information or you believe we have breached our privacy obligations, you can complain in writing to the Privacy Officer listed below.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of or response to your complaint you may also make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by telephone 1300 363 992. Full contact details of the Australian Information Commissioner can be found online.
The contact details for Uniting are:
Uniting Privacy Officer
PO Box A2178
Sydney South 1235
T: 1800 864 846
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