The Victorian Institute of Teaching (the Institute) is an independent statutory authority for the teaching profession, established by the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001 on 18 December 2001. The functions of the Institute are to recognise and promote the profession of teaching and to regulate the members of the teaching profession. Since the proclamation of that Act on 31 December 2002, it has been a legal requirement for all school teachers to be registered with the Institute in order to be employed in a school.
The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 amalgamates all of the Acts in relation to education and training (including the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001) and was proclaimed 1 July 2007. The Victorian Institute of Teaching continues in operation under and subject to the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 after 1 July.
THE INSTITUTE'S APPROACH TO PRIVACY
The Institute is committed to protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of teachers' personal and health information and adheres to the Information Privacy Principles of the Information Privacy Act 2000 and the Health Privacy Principles of the Health Records Act 2001.
The purpose of the Victorian privacy laws is to establish a regime for the responsible collection and handling of personal information in the Victorian public sector. This policy supports the Institute's need to collect information and the right of the individual to privacy. The Institute recognises the right of individuals to have their information handled in ways that they would reasonably expect and in ways that protect the privacy of their personal information.
WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE INSTITUTE COLLECT?
The Institute collects personal information to meet the purposes required under the Act. The Institute ensures that teachers supplying personal information know why the information is collected and how it will be handled.
Personal information obtained includes a teacher's:
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Telephone number(s)
- Date of birth
- Employer details
- National criminal history record check outcome
- Electoral ward and eligibility to vote in Council elections
- Personal history details including:
- a character reference to determine their suitability or fitness to teach
evidence that they have satisfied the criteria for competence in speaking or communicating in the English language (if teacher qualification were not obtained in the English medium)
- whether any investigation into their conduct was carried out by an employer if previously employed as a teacher
- whether any conditions were applied in practising the profession of teaching in any State, Territory or country
- whether they were refused registration, licensing or classification as a teacher in Australia or in any country for reasons other than insufficient qualifications.
The Institute collects information from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria to establish where teachers are being employed.
The Institute may also collect information about a teacher who is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry to establish evidence of serious misconduct, serious incompetence or lack of fitness to teach.
HOW DOES THE INSTITUTE USE OR DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION?
A teacher's personal information is only used for, or disclosed to persons or organisations, for the purposes required under the Act.
Personal information is used to:
- Assess a teacher's eligibility for registration;
- Maintain the Register of Teachers; and
- Give effect to the statutory functions and administration of the Institute.
Personal information may be disclosed to:
- Members of the Public wishing to view the Register of Teachers which discloses a teacher's name, registration number, registration status including type of registration held and the date of registration. The Register of Teachers is available for inspection during business hours at the office of the Victorian Institute of Teaching, Level 24, Marland House, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Members of the public may search an extract of the register from the home page of this website.
- School principals or their authorised delegates, via a password protected online facility. The information to principals is provided for the sole purpose of ensuring that their school employs currently registered teachers as required under the Act. The site provides an extract of the Institute's registration database and discloses a teacher's:
- Full name
- Registration number
- Registration status and type
- Initial registration date
- Registration expiry date by which the next annual registration fee must be paid
- Current fee payment status: Paid - No/Yes
- Where applicable, the date of a satisfactorily completed criminal record check
- The employing school and the school's ID number
- Organisations contracted to provide administrative support to the Institute (e.g. mail houses contracted to send invoices and quarterly newsletters to teachers)
- The Department through access to a secure online facility to confirm that teachers are registered with the Institute and therefore eligible for employment in government schools
- The CrimTrac Agency and Australian police agencies to obtain a National Police History Check
- Universities to obtain an academic transcript.
The Institute may also collect, hold, manage, use and disclose personal and health information concerning a teacher where:
- There has been a complaint against a teacher in relation to serious misconduct, serious incompetence or lack of fitness to teach;
- Action has been taken against a teacher by an employer in relation to serious misconduct, serious incompetence or lack of fitness to teach; or
- The teacher has been convicted or found guilty of an indictable offence or a sexual offence.
The Victorian privacy laws operate in relation to the Institute's preliminary procedures in:
- The lodging of a complaint;
- Deciding whether a matter was within jurisdiction;
- Deciding whether a matter was frivolous or vexatious;
- Conducting a preliminary investigation;
- Gathering further information; and
- Deciding whether the matter should proceed and how.
Further information may be obtained from the Manager, Conduct and Panels Unit, which is subject to the complaints policy and procedures developed by, and applying to, the Institute as a whole.
DATA QUALITY AND SECURITY
The Institute makes every effort to ensure that the personal information it collects, uses or discloses is accurate, complete and as up-to-date as possible. The accuracy of that information depends to a large extent on the information teachers provide. In its correspondence with teachers, the Institute regularly provides them with the opportunity to advise any corrections to their personal information. Teachers can ensure that their personal information is accurate by:
- Advising the Institute of any errors in their personal information; and
- Keeping the Institute informed of any changes to their personal information such as their name or address.
The Institute seeks to protect personal information from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
The Institute will take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify personal information if it is no longer needed for any purpose. The Institute will only dispose of such information in accordance with the standards and disposal schedule of the Public Records Act 1973.
by writing to the Institute at PO Box 531, Collins Street West, Victoria 8007;
by telephone on 1300 888 067;
by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCESS AND CORRECTION
Teachers have the right to request access to their personal information held by the Institute. Teachers also have the right to request that the Institute correct their information where necessary. Requests for access to documents containing personal information and in the control of the Institute are handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or Information Privacy Principle 6. Such requests can be made to the Institute by contacting:
Freedom of Information Officer
Telephone: 03 8601 5869
HOW TO MAKE A PRIVACY HANDLING COMPLAINT
If a teacher is dissatisfied with the Institute's procedures, staff, agents or quality of service related to the collection or handling of their personal information they must first address their complaint to the Institute. The Institute will make every attempt to respond to and settle complaints regarding privacy through direct communication with the teacher.
First contact should be made through:
Information Privacy Officer
Telephone: 03 8601 5850
If, through informal discussion, a complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, a written complaint should be lodged with the Institute.
Lodging a Written Complaint
Written complaints should be lodged with:
Information Privacy Officer
Victorian Institute of Teaching
PO Box 531
Collins Street West
Details to be provided in the complaint should include:
- Name and address of person lodging the complaint;
- Privacy concern(s);
- If applicable, how concern(s) could be remedied.
Confirmation from the Institute
Within 21 days of receipt of a complaint, the Information Privacy Officer will write to:
- Confirm receipt of the written complaint;
- Inform the complainant that an investigation will be conducted and a response provided as soon as practicable, but in no more than 45 days from the day the Institute receives the written complaint; and
- Commence an investigation into the complaint.
Investigation and Response
As a result of the investigation of a complaint the Information Privacy Officer may:
- Respond to the complainant that no further action will be taken on the matter; or
- Make a formal apology to the complainant; and/or
- Take such remedial action as thought appropriate by the Institute; and/or
- Provide undertakings that the conduct will not occur again; and/or
- Implement administrative procedures within the Institute to ensure that the conduct does not occur again.
Making a Complaint to the Privacy Commissioner
If a teacher is not satisfied with the investigation of a privacy complaint or response from the Institute, they may make a complaint to the Victorian Privacy Commission by contacting:
Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner
Local call within Australia: 1300 666 444
From outside Australia: +61 3 8619 8719
Making a Complaint to the Health Services Commission
If a teacher's complaint is about health information, they are not required to first make a complaint to the Institute, but may make a complaint directly to the Health Services Commissioner or the Health Services Commission by contacting:
Office of the Health Services Commission
03 8601 5200
Toll Free: 1800 136 066
The Institute welcomes comments on its Privacy Statement. Teachers wishing to do this may contact the Institute by:
Mail: PO Box 531
Collins Street West
Phone: 1300 888 067
Facsimile: (03) 8601 5801
VICTORIA'S PRIVACY LAWS IPP AND HPP SUMMARY
Collect only personal information that is necessary for performance of functions. Advise individuals of the purpose of collection and that they can gain access to their personal information.
Use and disclosure
Use and disclose personal information only for the purpose for which it was collected or a secondary purpose the person would reasonably expect. It is best to get consent, but the law allows some uses without consent, such as to protect safety.
Make sure personal information is accurate, complete and up to date.
Take reasonable steps to protect personal information from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Documents clearly expressed policies on the management of personal information and provide policies to anyone who asks.
Access and correction
Individuals have a right to seek access to their personal information and make corrections. Access and correction will be handled mostly under the Victorian Freedom of Information Act.
A unique identifier is usually a number assigned to an individual in order to identify the person for the purposes of an organisation's operations. Tax File Numbers and Driver's Licence Numbers are examples. Unique identifiers can facilitate data matching. Data matching can diminish privacy. There are limitations to the adoption and sharing of unique identifiers.
Give individuals the option of not identifying themselves when entering transactions with organisations, if that would be lawful and reasonable.
Transborder data flows
If personal information travels, privacy protection should travel with it. Transfer of personal information outside Victoria is restricted. Personal information may be transferred only if the recipient protects privacy under standards similar to Victoria's privacy laws.
The Law restricts collection of sensitive information like an individual's racial or ethnic origin, political views, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, membership of groups or criminal record.
OTHER PRIVACY WEBSITES
Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner (www.privacy.vic.gov.au)
Office of the Health Services Commissioner (www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc)