Privacy

Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania is committed to upholding the right to privacy of all individuals who have dealings with it, and as such, we are bound by the National Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth).

At Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania we believe that an individual's right to keep their personal information private is highly important. We are committed to protecting and maintaining the privacy, accuracy and security of your personal and financial information.

That's why we make this promise to you.

How We Collect Your Information

We will only collect information relevant and necessary to our relationship with you. The information we collect will include contact details, personal details, relevant medical information if that is pertinent to the services we provide to you, and information about your use of our services.

We will endeavour to collect this information directly from you or, if we use other sources, we will tell you who they are. We will not collect any sensitive information, such as information relating to your health, unless this is necessary to provide you with a specific product or service. We do not keep personal information we do not need. When you speak to us about your personal affairs, we will minimise the opportunity for other people to overhear our discussion.

If we collect sensitive information (as defined under the Act), we will tell you and treat it with the utmost security and confidentiality. We will ensure that it is not collected for any purposes, other than those for which we have obtained your consent consent, unless the law requires otherwise, or other exceptional c ircumstances prevail as described under the Act.

We protect the personal information we hold about you from misuse and loss, and from being seen, altered or disclosed by people who are not authorised by us. Guide Dogs Tasmania has procedures in place to limit access to your personal information to those employees with a business reason for knowing such information.

Our employees are educated about the importance of confidentiality and customer privacy. We promise we will take disciplinary measures to enforce our confidentiality and privacy policies.

How We Use Your Information

We will limit the use of your personal information to:

  • Providing you with the appropriate health services you have requested;
  • Recommending to you, or providing you with the products that you need;
  • Carrying out our business which includes account management;
  • Fulfilling our legal requirements (for example, disclosure to law enforcement agencies or the courts).

We may use your personal data to offer you information on our organisation that we believe will be of interest to you. However, you can notify us at any time if you do not wish to receive these updates. We will act promptly on any such request which can be made by emailing our Privacy Officer on admin@guidedogstas.com.au, calling us on 03 6232 1222.

Who Will Use Your Information

We will not share, sell or trade your personal information to any other organization. We do occasionally allow your information to be provided to other blindness agencies who perform contractual functions for us, but only with your explicit written consent.

We bind these organisations to the same standard of care as we do ourselves, so that they cannot provide this information to anyone else. We enforce this requirement through contractual agreements.

Your Information Is Secure

We will use up-to-date electronic techniques and processes that meet current industry standards to ensure that your personal information is kept secure and confidential. Only employees of Guide Dogs Tasmania and those who perform services on our behalf, and are authorised by you to handle your information, will have access to your personal data.

We will not retain any of your information for any longer than it is required by us, except to fulfil our legal obligations. As a guide, the law generally requires us to retain account information for seven years after an account is closed, however we may retain some information for shorter or longer periods than this, depending upon any specific legal requirements and the needs of our organisation. We will, with your help, keep your personal information accurate, complete and up to date.

Guide Dogs Tasmania maintains appropriate security standards and procedures to help prevent access to your confidential information by anyone not authorised to access such information. Examples of these security procedures include the use of computer passwords; firewalls; network security; locked fireproof file cabinets; restricted access to hard copy records; removal of information from computers when they are displaced from service; shredding of unnecessary documents; and more.

You Have Access to Your Information

If you ask us, we will tell you what information we hold about you, unless there are important public interest reasons not to, which are detailed in the Freedom of Information Act 1991 or other relevant information.

This may happen if:

  • we can not tell you without breaching someone else's privacy;
  • we can not tell you without endangering an investigation or legal action; or there are other important issues.

You can access most of the personal information we hold about you and request corrections. This right is subject to some exceptions, for example, you may not obtain access to information relating to existing or anticipated legal proceedings. You can request access to your information by visiting any of our locations or contacting us on 03 6232 1222.

This service is free unless the information you request requires significant research or preparation time. Before we act upon requests of this nature, we will tell you how much this service will cost.

Data Quality

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the data we collect, use or disclose is accurate, complete and up to date, and has been obtained directly from individuals or other reputable sources.

What to do if you Think We've Made an Error

Guide Dogs Tasmania is committed to the protection of your privacy, and our policies, processes and systems have been developed with this intent. However, sometimes human errors do occur.

If you think we have not lived up to our commitment, we invite you to email us or phone us on 03 6232 1222, or visit any of our locations.

Our objective is to respond to any complaint within our service standard of five working days. Where we have done the wrong thing we will personally apologise and take all reasonable action to ensure that it does not happen again.

Guide Dogs Tasmania is bound by the National Privacy Principles for the handling of personal information. (To find out about the National Privacy Principles, contact the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner.)

Privacy Enquiries

Privacy-related inquiries or concerns can be directed to:

Privacy Officer Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania
PO Box 82
North Hobart TAS 7002

Phone 03 6232 1222
Fax 03 6232 1222
Email privacy@guidedogstas.com.au

Availability and Review of Policy

We will make our privacy policy available on request, and it appears here, our internet site.

A general privacy statement covering our data handling practices will also be available on our internet site. This policy will be reviewed from time to time and any amendments will be incorporated in the updated policy.

Who Are Our Customers?

Anybody who has contact with us is considered to be a customer, and includes -

  • People with a vision impairment
  • Government and semi-Government Departments
  • Other service providers
  • Schools
  • Medical, para-medical and Legal professionals
  • Transport providers
  • People who buy from us via our Telemarketers
  • Sponsors and Donors
  • Business contractors
  • Service Clubs

As well, RGD sees its own staff as internal customers, drawing upon services from within our own expertise.

The standard of service you can expect from us

We will provide prompt, friendly and efficient service.
We will answer your queries courteously and provide accurate and helpful information.
We will be accessible for enquiries and discussions.

Personal visits to our office

We will endeavour to greet you immediately you enter our premises, and to attend to your request in a pleasant and courteous manner.

Our telephone service

We will identify ourselves by name when answering your call.
We will connect you to someone who can assist you, if the person you ask for is not available.
We will respond to all messages within four hours.
We will not leave a message over night without an agreed action plan.

If you require our professional services

You do not need a referral from a professional source - you can refer yourself simply by phoning or coming in. You will be contacted by our Program Manager within two days to arrange an initial appointment either in your home or at your workplace. Your needs will be attended to by our professionally trained staff. You will be treated with courtesy, dignity and confidentiality.

Written communications

We will respond to all correspondence within five days. If a full response is not possible within five days, then we will acknowledge your communication and include a timeframe for a full response. We will acknowledge all donations within two days. We will endeavour to communicate with you in your preferred format.

Information referral service

We will ensure that if we cannot satisfy your enquiry, we will refer you to someone who can.

Access

Our Hobart Office is open to the public from 9:00am until 5:00pm week days; and the Launceston Office is open to the public between 10:00am and 12:00pm as well as between 2:00pm and 4:00pm week days.

Our aim is never to give you cause for complaint, but if you do we will treat your comments seriously.

We are continuously reviewing and improving our services, so please let us know if you find our service satisfactory - or if our service standards fail to meet your requirements. We will respond quickly and in a positive manner to any comments.

Guide Dogs Tasmania supports the Principles and Objectives of The Disability Services Act 1986, and services delivered under the umbrella of Guide Dogs Tasmania are designed to meet those Principles and Objectives.

1. Principles 1.1 People with disabilities are individuals who have the inherent right to respect for their human worth and dignity. RGD aim is to encourage and facilitate the integration of vision impaired people into their community, thus achieving the maximum degree of independence, personal autonomy and freedom of choice. 1.2 People with disabilities, whatever the origin, nature, type and degree of disability, have the same fundamental rights as all members of Australian society. RGD services are available to all vision impaired residents of Australia (temporary or permanent). 1.3 Every person with a disability has the same rights as other members of Australian society to realise his or her individual capacity for physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. RGD caseworkers actively encourage vision impaired people to understand and assert their rights and, on request, provide advocacy on their behalf. 1.4 People with disabilities have the same right as other members of Australian Society to services which will support their attaining an acceptable quality of life. RGD caseworkers provide information and resources to other community service providers in order to ensure community access and successful outcomes for vision impaired people. 1.5 People with disabilities have the same right as other members of Australian society to participate in the decisions which affect their lives. RGD staff only accept referrals if the client wants the service offered. All assessment recommendations or program plans are fully discussed and agreed to by the client prior to commencement. 1.6 People with disabilities have the same right as other members of Australian society to the least restrictive alternative in the service they receive. All clients are encouraged and supported in their participation with community services offering the least restrictive alternative. 1.7 People with disabilities have the same right of pursuit of any grievance as have other members of Australian society in relation to the services which they receive. RGD have established a method to handle complaints and resolve grievances and information about this is included on the Introductory Tape outlining services for clients. 2. Objectives 2.1 That the focus of service delivery to people with disabilities should be the achievement of positive outcomes. The aim of all RGD rehabilitation staff is to provide positive outcomes for each person in accordance with their stated goals and based on a comprehensive initial assessment. 2.2 That services for people with disabilities should ensure that the conditions of the everyday life of people with disabilities are the same as, or as close as possible to, norms and patterns which are valued in the general community. Our first priority in service delivery is to ensure safety and independence for clients in their own home and work environments. Almost all our services are delivered in the client‘s local area. 2.3 That services for people with disabilities should be provided as part of local coordinated service systems and integrated with generic services wherever possible. The Education Department and RGD are developing a co-ordinated service system to operated in each region (North, North-West and South). Team co-ordination will be the responsibility of the visiting teacher, who will refer individual clients for orientation & mobility, computer consultancy or occupational therapy resource as required. RGD caseworkers will contribute to the Education Department Case Management Team for the period of their involvement with each client. The Education Department Braille Transcribing Unit is located in the Resource Centre with back-up computer consultancy provided by RGD. RGD assist in the education program of nurses, teachers and social psychologists, Disability Services and welfare students. Regional offices are located in three localities at Ulverstone, Launceston and Hobart, with additional support from the Resource Centre, Hobart. We refer and/or liaise extensively with all other community service Agencies as required. 2.4 That people with disabilities should receive services which are tailored to their individual needs and goals. The Case Management Team process has been re-structured to ensure comprehensive assessment and development of program options designed to meet individual needs. Each caseworker is required to verify that the plan has been fully discussed with the client and that agreement has been reached between the caseworker and the client prior to commencing the program. A high standard of assessment, service delivery and reporting is maintained. 2.5 That programs and services should reflect the needs of people with disabilities who experience double disadvantage as a result of gender, ethnic origin and Aboriginality. Within the given resources and skills available services will be provided to meet the specific needs of all vision impaired people. It should be noted however that we only provide services to meet the needs resulting from vision loss. 2.6 That programs and services should promote a competent and positive image of people with disabilities. An important part of our work is to educate the public and other Agencies by promoting a competent and positive image of vision impaired people. We provide education workshops and conduct an annual technology exhibition, with a focus on education and employment featuring successful clients as role models. This factor is also carefully considered in relation to fundraising activities. 2.7 The programs and services would promote participation of people with disabilities in the life of the local community through maximum physical and social integration. 2.8 That no single organisation providing services should exercise control overall or in most aspects of the life of an individual with disabilities. Extensive networking and facilitation access into the community is reducing demand and the need for direct provision of group activities. 2.9 That services providing assistance to people with disabilities, be they specific or generic, should be accountable to consumers and their representatives, funding bodies and the public at large. The Tasmanian Association Board is elected by consumers with an Annual General Meeting each year. RGD fosters the establishment of support groups in Tasmania and provides assistance and resource where possible. 2.10 That programs and services should provide opportunities for people with disabilities to reach goals and enjoy lifestyles which are valued by the community at large and are appropriate to their chronological age. Opportunities for clients is facilitated to meet together with representatives from community groups and sporting or recreational bodies to encourage greater community participation and acceptance. 2.11 That people with disabilities should have access to advocacy support where necessary to ensure adequate participation in decision-making about the services they receive. Advocacy is an integral part of our casework. 2.12 That services should provide appropriate avenues for people with disabilities to air and resolve any grievances about the services they receive. All complaints are immediately acted upon by the State Client Services Manager to ensure the rights of clients and endeavour to meet their requirements safely. 2.13 That people with disabilities should be provided with avenues for participating in the planning and operation of individual services and opportunities for consultation relating to major policy development and program changes. That Statewide Client Advisory Group meet twice each year with Senior Management and Board Members to receive a Client Services Report on current programs and to identify problems and/or future directions for services. 2.14 That services for people with disabilities should respect an individual's right of privacy and confidentiality. No information released from our files without prior consent from the client. The privacy of the client is strictly observed by all caseworkers.