AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Conferences & events Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subjectAdoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR - metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data linking Data standards Privacy of data
By subject Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse Chronic disease indicators Deaths
Disability Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Hospitals Height and weight data sources Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM)
Medical indemnity Mental health National indicator catalogue National core maternity indicators (NCMI) Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee CKDMAC AODTS NMDS WG CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISS NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Indigenous temporary employment register Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Conferences & events Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
The AIHW operates under a strict privacy regime which has its basis in section 29 of The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987. Our record of protecting the security of the data we hold on the health and welfare of Australians is exemplary. The Institute's Board closely monitors the Institute's performance regarding maintenance of the privacy of its data, and has commissioned and endorsed a range of policies and practices relating to data privacy.
Privacy is one of the five objectives of the Institute's Corporate Plan, with strategies to implement that objective contained in our Business Plan.
The AIHW's main functions relate to the collection and production of health-related and welfare-related information and statistics, and are specified in s. 5 of the AIHW Act.
In summary, the AIHW:
The AIHW puts into the public domain and promotes the results of its work.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987
The confidentiality provisions in s. 29 of the AIHW Act apply to information obtained by the AIHW concerning another person. It is important to note that the definition of 'person' in the context of s. 29 of the AIHW Act includes both a body politic and a deceased person.
From the perspective of both subjects and providers of information held by the Institute, a major strength of s. 29 is that it specifically imposes on recipients of data released by the Institute (e.g., with the approval of the Ethics Committee), the same confidentiality obligations as apply to AIHW staff. These include a specific restriction on being required to divulge or communicate any of that information to a court (s.29(1)(e)).
The obligations of s. 29(4)(e) of the Act are so strict that they include the requirement not to disclose even the source of the information or "the whereabouts, existence or non-existence of a document concerning a person." The AIHW can, however, inform the community that it is responsible for particular data collections.
APS Code of Conduct
As well as the protection offered by the s. 29 of the AIHW Act, personal information held by the Institute is covered by the confidentiality provisions of the Privacy Act 1988.
Staff of the Institute are employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and are subject to the APS Code of Conduct.
The legislative framework provides a firm underpinning for the Institute's national data collection activities.
The AIHW has a range of policies, protocols and processes in place to ensure the confidentiality of its data, including:
Undertaking of confidentiality
All staff, including staff employed on a short-term basis, staff of collaborating units and contractors are required to sign an Undertaking of Confidentiality as soon as they start work at the Institute. Verbal and written information covering security of data is part of the induction material given to all new staff.
Formal delegation of responsibilities to data custodians
The Institute has developed a central corporate register of AIHW data holdings to support a standardised approach to the management of data holdings. Staff at Unit Head level have responsibility for particular data sets, including ensuring compliance with any security and confidentiality requirements. To acknowledge the key role of Data Custodians, the Institute's Director has formally delegated responsibility for the custody of data holdings to those Data Custodians. The roles and responsibilities of Data Custodians are included in the Institute's Guidelines for the Custody of Institute Data.
Computer systems and database access
To support the data custodian guidelines, systems are in place to ensure that staff cannot gain unauthorised database access.
Data audit program
A regular program of data audits is conducted to monitor, among other things, that confidentiality requirements are maintained. Reports of this audit program are considered by the Audit and Finance Committee of the AIHW Board, and formally endorsed at a Board meeting.
The AIHW contributes to national discussion of privacy issues through its participation in national bodies, and submissions to the development and review of national privacy legislation. The AIHW has observer status on the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) working group developing the National Health Privacy Code and is committed to national adoption of that Code.The AIHW Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of National Health and Medical Research Council have observer status on the governing body of the other organisation, and have a close working relationship regarding matters of privacy and ethical issues.
Further information can be obtained from the Institute's Privacy Officer (02 6244 1000). For a general overview on how the AIHW protects the privacy of individuals, please read our Safeguarding your privacy brochure [1.1MB PDF]. For more detailed information about AIHW’s legal obligations and the Institute’s data custody and governance arrangements, please see our Privacy at the AIHW brochure [1.9MB PDF].