Handle with care

June 1, 2014 - 11:46am

OIC has recently published a number of resources to help agencies handle complaints, whether it is a privacy complaint or a different type of complaint.

Just in case you missed hearing about these resources, here’s a snapshot.

Compliance review

The ‘Privacy in complaint handling systems review’ looked at the extent to which the privacy obligations in the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act) have been incorporated in Queensland government agencies’ complaint handling systems. The objectives were to publicise examples of good practice by agencies and to identify areas of complaint practice where OIC could develop resources for agencies to use when handling a complaint.

The review noted areas of good agency practice, including examples of:

  • collection notices that provide detailed information about how personal information would be used and disclosed in the course of handling a complaint,
  • a complaint form that was designed to avoid collection of unnecessary and irrelevant information,
  • a complaint register template that controls what information is recorded about complaints and whether a collection notice had been provided,
  • contract provisions used by an agency when it outsources some or all of its complaints handling function,
  • fact sheets and scenarios explaining how to incorporate privacy considerations when responding to complaints about employees,
  • a performance report template that appropriately de-identifies complaints data; and
  • a fact sheet on identifying systemic issues and trends.

A copy of the report can be accessed from the OIC compliance and audit reports web page. 

Guidelines and information sheets

OIC has a number of guidelines to assist agencies in meeting their obligations under the IP Act. Those relevant to handling complaints include:

Further guidelines are being developed by OIC as an outcome of the ‘Privacy in complaint handling systems review’. These include:

  • collection, storage and security of personal information in complaints,
  • anonymity, confidentiality and privacy in complaints,
  • disclosure of personal information and natural justice; and
  • documenting an agency’s personal information holdings.

Subscribing to OIC’s subscription service is a great way to receive updates on news items, guidelines, events or training opportunities as they are published on our website.

Online training

‘Privacy Complaint Management Training’ has been added to OIC’s suite of free online training. It is specifically aimed at agency officers involved in the management of privacy complaints. It takes participants through such issues as:

  • how to handle complaints about multiple issues,
  • how to identify privacy complaints,
  • how to assess privacy complaints,
  • key factors in resolving a complaint, including what makes a good apology; and
  • tips for effectively communicating your decision to the complainant.