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Dealing with personal information – school and governing councils

When you are on a council at a school or preschool you will have access to sensitive personal information. What you can share and when you should share it is covered by the information privacy principles instructions.

You should usually keep information confidential and only use it for the reason it was collected. However, there are times you will need to share it. For example:

  • when it is required:
    • to prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of someone
    • by law
    • to enforce a law, protect public revenue, or protect the interests of the government as an employer
  • if the person whose information it is:
    • would reasonably expect it to be used or disclosed
    • has given consent
  • if your council suspects unlawful activity that might need to be investigated or reported.

Personal information and protecting children 

The information privacy principles instructions are not there to stop you from sharing information when it’s important do it. They do not stop you when there’s a lawful reason, like a mandatory reporting obligation under the Children’s Protection Act 1993.

With mandatory reporting obligations you must report when you have a suspicion. Do not wait until there is proof. At other times, you need to make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date.

When you must share

You must share information if you have a reasonable suspicion that a child or young person has or is being abused or neglected. You must contact the Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478.

Advice

If you aren’t sure whether you can share information, contact the Office of the Chief Education Officer via decd.sitegovernance [at] sa.gov.au

Keep a record

If you share information – no matter the reason – you must always keep a record. You might be required to share the details with the Minister for Education and Child Development. Your site leader will guide you through what is required for record-keeping.

Background

In 2014, the information privacy principles instructions became applicable to all councils as if they are a public sector agency. This includes governing councils and school councils.

Contact

Governing Councils, Office for Education and Early Childhood

Phone: 8226 9617
Emaildecd.sitegovernance [at] sa.gov.au