Other issues

What is the function of the Privacy Commissioner?

The Privacy Commissioner has wide ranging functions covering promotion and maintenance of the proper collection, storage and disclosure of personal information.

Information privacy principles

The Privacy Act 1993 sets out 12 Information Privacy Principles which govern the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information held by agencies.

Information privacy principles – Legislation website

Privacy Act 1993 – Legislation website

Individuals may make a complaint where they believe there has been an interference with privacy.

The Privacy Commissioner can investigate such complaints and schools are required to comply with requests.

Obstructing or hindering an investigation of the Privacy Commissioner is an offence under the Privacy Act 1993.

Schools, the Privacy Act, and complaints

Any person may make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner that an action by a school is an interference with that person's privacy.

An interference with the privacy of an individual initially involves a breach of one of the information privacy principles referred to above, a breach of a code of practice, or a breach of the provisions relating to information matching.

Usually, the commissioner will require that the matter first be dealt with by the school concerned before investigating a complaint. If the school does not satisfy the concerns of the complainant or the person requesting the information or correction of information, the Privacy Commissioner's office will try and settle the complaint by conciliation and mediation.

If no settlement can be achieved, the commissioner may, in some cases, refer the complaint to the Director of Human Rights Proceedings.

Further information

Privacy in schools – Office of the Privacy Commissioner website

If you have any queries you can make direct contact with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Updated: January 2018

Tell a colleague | Back to top