RTA staff are made aware of their responsibilities to uphold privacy requirements and to comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act and related guidelines through mandatory training sessions and changes to documented procedures and policies.
6.1 Collection (IPPs 1 to 3)
RTA service areas continually review all forms and monitor processes for requests to collect information from customers or employees to ensure that notification requirements (as per IPP 2) are met, and authorisation for further disclosures is covered where necessary to the operation of the RTA service. The RTA's website is similarly noted.
Staff in service areas which collect personal information by telephone (such as the Contact Centre and Dispute Resolution services) will notify customers that their personal information is being collected by the RTA for the purposes of fulfilling its functions under the RTRA Act and will obtain consent to further disclosure, where necessary. As well, letters confirming notification and consent can be forwarded to customers following telephone contact, if required. Where telephone conversations are monitored by recording for quality control, training or supervision purposes, customers are advised of this at the outset of the conversation, such as through the messages-on-hold service.
6.2 Storage (IPP 4)
The RTA has policies regarding information storage and will further develop and review separate policies for storage of electronic and paper information to safeguard information in line with the RTA's and whole-of-government policies.
6.3 Access and Amendment (IPPs 5-7)
The RTA has in place processes allowing customers to access their personal information and request amendments to be made. This is detailed in sections 7 to 12 of this plan.
6.4 Use (IPPs 8 to 10)
Where information is to be used for research purposes, this will take into account guidelines including those prepared by the Officer of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland or with a relevant Privacy Code of Practice if such code exists. Where information is stored in a computerised database, service areas ensure that appropriate descriptions are used to avoid errors or misinterpretation of data and standards are adopted which allow consistent transfer of information between areas within the RTA.
Standards have been adopted, in relation to the functions and purposes of the particular service area, to ensure personal information is used only for the authorised purposes for which it was collected. Authorised purposes include the delivery of rental bond services, dispute resolution, investigations, research, community education and information services. It may be used internally to improve service delivery and to directly target customers, for example information and education campaigns, to research emerging issues in the rental sector and to establish client satisfaction levels with RTA services.
Taking part in RTA customer surveys
At times, the RTA may ask you if you wish to complete a survey questionnaire to provide feedback on the RTA’s services. Taking part in the survey is entirely voluntary and you can decline to participate. At times, the RTA may use web-based survey programs and sometimes their servers may be overseas (i.e. cloud based computing) and in these situations, the RTA complies with the IP Act when any personal information is transferred to a third party outside Australia. The Information Privacy Act allows the transfer of personal information outside Australia only in certain circumstances including (a) where the third party (recipient) is subject to similar privacy obligations as the RTA; and (b) the transfer of personal information is necessary for the RTA to perform its functions. The RTA complies with these requirements when it sends survey questionnaires seeking feedback to improve its advisory services to customers.
Conduct of research projects
Where information is to be used for research purposes, this will take into account guidelines including those prepared by the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner or with a relevant Privacy Code of Practice when such Codes come into existence. For example, in specific research projects authorised by the RTA, customers will be contacted by the RTA and asked whether or not they want to participate in identified research projects and will be given the opportunity to opt out of the research group if desired.
6.5 Disclosure (IPP 11)
Service areas have written procedures to cover the main kinds of personal information staff can be expected to disclose and identified the authority for such disclosures. Staff with frequent contact with RTA customers are given additional training in the application of the IPPs to disclosure in the context of their service area's functions.
Information disclosed by the RTA or any of its service areas for research purposes generally will not contain personally identifying information. In instances where customers are to be contacted by a contracted external research company, for example, the RTA will send out a letter providing customers with the opportunity to "opt out" of the selection pool.
The RTA also abides by Queensland Government protocols for the disclosure of personal information where it is necessary to fulfil its functions in Ministerial correspondence.