VIT’s privacy statement

Background

The Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) is an independent statutory authority for the teaching profession, whose primary function is to regulate members of the teaching profession. It is a legal requirement for all teachers and early childhood teachers to be registered with VIT in order to be employed in a school. VIT will only grant registration and allow registration to continue where a person is appropriately qualified and is fit to teach in schools or early childhood settings.

VIT was established by the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001 on 18 December 2001.

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 [ETRA] amalgamated all of the relevant education and training Acts (including the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001) and was proclaimed 1 July 2007.

Further substantial amendments to the legislation were enacted in 2010 with effect from 1 January 2011 and in 2014 when amendments extended the registration scheme to early childhood teachers.

The Victorian Institute of Teaching continues in operation under and subject to the Act (as amended).

In the conduct of its regulatory functions, VIT is bound by the Victorian Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (PDP Act) and the Health Records Act 2001 (HR Act) and therefore must comply with the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) and the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs). These govern the collection, use, handling and disclosure of personal and sensitive information and health information. Personal information is information that relates to an identifiable living person. Personal information may take many forms including images.

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Approach to privacy

VIT is committed to protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of teachers’ and early childhood teachers’ personal and health information and adheres to the IPPs and HPPs.

References to personal information throughout this information privacy policy may also include health information.

VIT understands and acknowledges that 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.

VIT aims to reach a balance between the use of information for the public benefit and the protection of privacy of personal information in an increasingly information-dependent environment.

VIT understands the importance of maintaining this balance in the way it exercises its powers under ETRA, including the manner in which it meets its regulatory and law enforcement responsibilities.

ETRA permits VIT to collect, use and disclose the personal information it needs to carry out its functions and activities. VIT may also be lawfully required to collect, use or disclose personal information in order to meet its obligations under other legislation. This may include sharing data with other departments or agencies, including law enforcement agencies.

In accordance with VIT's commitment to privacy, as well as the requirements of the PDP Act, personal information is handled, wherever practicable, in a way that is transparent to the individual concerned. Where this would adversely impact on or prevent VIT from undertaking its law enforcement functions and activities, the PDP Act provides exemptions that permit VIT to be exempt from the usual standards of openness and the normal limits placed on the purposes for which personal information may be used and disclosed.

The protection of personal information is balanced with meeting our enforcement activities and functions under ETRA, including delivering transparent decision-making and providing reliable and relevant information to meet its obligation to protect the public.
This policy supports VIT’s need to collect information and the right of the individual to privacy. VIT 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.

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What information does VIT collect?

VIT collects personal information to meet its functions under the Act (section 2.6.3) including the registration and renewal of registration of teachers and early childhood teachers, maintenance of a public register and the investigation of the conduct, competence and fitness to teach of registered teachers and early childhood teachers.

VIT 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 or early childhood teacher’s:

  • Full name 
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Gender 
  • Qualifications
  • Employer details
  • National criminal history record check identity information and check outcome
  • 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)
    • evidence that they have satisfied the criteria for literacy and numeracy competence
    • 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.
    • Disciplinary hearing outcomes.

VIT collects information from employers of teachers and early childhood teachers, to establish where teachers and early childhood teachers are being employed.

VIT may also collect information about a teacher’s or early childhood teacher’s conduct, competence or fitness to teach for the purpose of a disciplinary inquiry.

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How does the VIT use or disclose personal information?

A teacher’s or early childhood 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 or early childhood teacher’s eligibility for registration;
  • Maintain the Register of Registered Teachers; and
  • Give effect to the statutory functions and administration of VIT.

Personal information may be disclosed to:

  • Members of the Public wishing to
    • view the Register of Registered Teachers which discloses a teacher’s or early childhood teacher’s name, registration number, registration type and status, date of registration, qualifications and the professional expertise that is recognised by VIT (section 2.6.24 of the Act).  The Register of Teachers is available for inspection during business hours at the office of the Victorian Institute of Teaching, Level 9, 628 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Members of the public may search an extract of the register from the home page of VIT’s website.
    • View the Register of Disciplinary Action (RODA) which records action taken against a teacher or early childhood teacher for a disciplinary matter in accordance with Division 13A of the Act.
    • View the published decisions and reasons for decisions of formal hearing panels (section 2.6.49A of the Act)
  • School principals or their authorised delegates, via a password-protected online facility.  The information available 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 VIT’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 VIT (e.g. mail houses contracted to send invoices and quarterly newsletters to teachers).
  • DET through access to a secure online facility to confirm that teachers are registered with VIT and therefore eligible for employment in government schools.
  • The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian police services to obtain a “national criminal history check” or a “state police record check” (both terms are defined in section 1.1.3(1) of the Act).
  • Tertiary Education Institutions to obtain an academic transcript or otherwise verify qualification for registration.

VIT may also collect, hold, manage, use and disclose personal and health information concerning a teacher or early childhood teacher where:

  • There has been a complaint against a teacher or early childhood teacher in relation to conduct, competence or fitness to teach (including health-related matters);
  • An employer has notified VIT (pursuant to section 2.6.31 of the Act) of action taken against a teacher or early childhood teacher; or
  • The teacher or early childhood teacher has been convicted or found guilty of an indictable offence or a sexual offence.

The Victorian privacy laws operate in relation to:

  • 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 on the relevant procedure for each of these activities may be obtained from VIT’s Director, Regulatory Services.

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Data quality and security

VIT makes every effort to ensure that the personal information which it collects, uses or discloses is accurate, complete and as up-to-date as possible. 

The accuracy of that information will depend to a large extent on the information teachers or early childhood teachers provide. In its correspondence with teachers or early childhood teachers, VIT regularly provides teachers or early childhood teachers with the opportunity to advise VIT of any correction which needs to be made to their personal information. Teachers can ensure that their personal information is accurate by:

  • Advising VIT of any error in the personal information held by VIT; and
  • Keeping VIT informed of changes to their personal information.

VIT seeks to protect personal information from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

VIT has appropriate security measures aimed at protecting personal and health information regardless of whether the information is stored electronically or physically.

VIT will take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify personal information if it is no longer needed for any purpose. VIT will only dispose of such information in accordance with the standards and disposal schedule of the Public Records Act 1973.

VIT provides access to it website without a requirement for disclosure of identity or personal information. VIT will not collect or record personal information, other than information voluntarily supplied.

Cookies are not used on VIT’s site. A cookie is a block of data that is shared between a web server and a user’s browser and is used to record facets of the user’s experience regarding the website or web service activity.

Click-stream data is non-personal information automatically generated by the web server for system administration purposes. To the extent that any clickstream data could make a person identifiable, VIT will not try to identify you from such data unless necessary for the investigation of unlawful activity or is otherwise permitted under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 or the Health Records Act 2001.

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Openness

VIT’s Information Privacy Policy can be found on its website at www.vit.vic.edu.au.

Copies of the Information Privacy Policy can be obtained from VIT’s office located at Level 9, 628 Bourke Street, Melbourne or:

writing to VIT at PO Box 531, Collins Street West, Victoria 8007;

telephone on 1300 888 067;

email to vit@vit.vic.edu.au.

Access and correction

Teachers and early childhood teachers have the right to request access to their personal information held by VIT. Teachers and early childhood teachers also have the right to request that VIT corrects their information where necessary. Requests for access to documents containing personal information and in the control of VIT are handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or Information Privacy Principle 6. Such requests can be made to VIT by contacting:

Geoffrey Coates, Freedom of Information and Information Privacy Officer 8601 6124, geoff.coates@vit.vic.edu.au

How to make a privacy handling complaint

If a person is dissatisfied with VIT's procedures, staff, agents or quality of service related to the collection or handling of their personal information they should first address their complaint to VIT. VIT will make every attempt to respond to and settle complaints regarding privacy through direct communication with the teacher or early childhood teacher.

First contact should be made through:

Geoff Coates

Information Privacy Officer

Telephone: 8601 6124

Email: geoff.coates@vit.vic.edu.au

If, through informal discussion, a complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, a written complaint should be lodged with VIT.

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Lodging a written complaint

Written complaints should be lodged with:

Geoffrey Coates
Freedom of Information and Information Privacy Officer 
Victorian Institute of Teaching
PO Box 531
Collins Street West VI 8007

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.

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Confirmation from VIT

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 VIT 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 VIT; and/or
  • Provide undertakings that the conduct will not occur again; and/or
  • Implement administrative procedures within VIT to ensure that the conduct does not occur again.

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Making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner

If a person is not satisfied with the investigation of a privacy complaint or response from VIT, 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

Email: enquiries@privacy.vic.gov.au

Making a complaint to the Health Services Commission

If a person’s complaint is about health information, they may make a complaint directly to the Health Services Commissioner or the Health Services Commission by contacting:

Office of the Health Services Commission
p. (03) 8601 5200 or 1300 582 113 (toll free)
e. hsc@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Feedback on VIT's Information Privacy Policy

The VIT welcomes comments on its Privacy Statement. A person wishing to do this may contact VIT by:

  • In person: Level 9, 628 Bourke Street, Melbourne
  • Postal: PO Box 531, Collins Street West, Victoria 8007
  • By phone: 1300 888 067
  • Via email: vit@vit.vic.edu.au
  • By fax: (03) 8601 5801

VICTORIA’S PRIVACY LAWS; Information Privacy Principles and Health Privacy Principles summary

This is a summary of the privacy principles. The full text of the principles can be found on the Privacy Commissioner website.

Collection

Collect only what is needed. Do it lawfully and fairly. Don’t intrude unreasonably. And tell people that it is being done. (Principle 1)

Use and disclosure

Use and disclose people's personal information only for the purpose for which it is collected, or for a related purpose they would reasonably expect. Some important interests, such as protecting health and safety or a legal requirement, can justify use and disclosure without consent. Otherwise, seek consent. (Principle 2)

Data quality and security

Keep it accurate, complete up-to-date and secure from misuse, loss or unauthorised access. (Principles 3 and 4)

Openness

Be open about what is being done with other people's information. (Principle 5)

Access and correction

Let people see their information and correct it if necessary. (Principle 6)

Unique identifiers

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.

Minimise creating and sharing ID numbers that can be used to match information obtained from people with information about them from other sources. (Principle 7)

Anonymity

Where lawful and practicable, people must be given the option of dealing with an organisation without identifying themselves. (Principle 8)

Transborder data flows

If people's information is allowed to travel outside Victoria, make sure the privacy protection travels with it. (Principle 9)

Sensitive information

Sensitive information about people – like their ethnic background, religion, political views, sexual preference or criminal record – has special protection under law. Don't collect it without checking the rules first. (Principle 10)

Responsible Officer: Geoff Coates

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