Privacy Policy - Barwon Community Legal Service

Privacy Policy


The purpose of the Privacy Policy & Procedure is to outline processes for the collection, use and storage of people’s personal information, to ensure practice complies with legislative and contractual obligations and people’s right to privacy.


The Privacy Policy & Procedure applies to the Board of Directors (BoD), staff, students and volunteers.

Policy Statement

BCLS is subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and the National Privacy Principles through funding agreements and are committed to protecting the privacy of clients, staff, volunteers, students and the BoD, in the way it collects, stores and uses their personal information.

BCLS requires the BoD, staff, students and volunteers to be careful in what they say when they speak about others, what they document about others, and decisions they make about who can hear or see this information.

BCLS will ensure that:

  • It meets its legal and ethical obligations as an employer and service provider in relation to protecting the privacy of clients, the BoD, staff, students and volunteers.
  • Clients are provided with information about their privacy rights.
  • Clients, the BoD, staff, students and volunteers are provided with privacy during interviews and meetings and when discussing matters of a personal or sensitive nature.
  • The BoD, staff, students and volunteers are advised of their obligations in meeting these requirements.
  • All records containing personal information, whether hard copy or electronic, are stored and accessed in line with privacy requirements.


Personal Information:

In dealing with personal information BCLS staff will:

  • Ensure privacy for clients, staff, volunteers and the BoD when they are being interviewed or discussing matters of a personal or sensitive nature.
  • Only collect and store personal information that is necessary for the functioning of the organisation, its activities and conducting the client’s matter.
  • Use fair and lawful ways to collect personal information.
  • Collect personal information only by consent of the individual.
  • Ensure that people know what sort of personal information is held about them, the purposes it is held for, how it is collected, used, disclosed and who will have access to it.
  • Ensure that personal information collected or disclosed is accurate, complete and up-to date, and provide access to any individual to review information or correct wrong information about themselves.
  • Take reasonable steps to protect all personal information from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
  • Destroy or permanently de-identify personal information no longer needed, after legal requirements for retaining documents have expired.

Privacy Responsibility:

  • All staff, students, volunteers and the BoD are responsible for the management of personal information to which they have access.
  • The Executive Officer (or/and delegated authority) is responsible for:
    • Safeguarding personal information relating to clients, staff, students, volunteers and the BoD.
    • Ensuring that all staff, students and volunteers are familiar with the Privacy Policy & Procedure and administrative procedures for handling personal information.
    • Ensuring that clients and other relevant individuals are provided with information about their privacy rights.
    • Handling any queries or complaint about a privacy issue.
    • Content in BCLS publications, communications and the public web site and must ensure the appropriate consent is obtained for the inclusion of any personal information, including photographs, about any individual including BCLS clients, staff, students, volunteers and BoD. (Refer to BCLS Consent Forms)

Privacy Information Provision to Clients:

  • It is the responsibility of BCLS staff, students and volunteers to ensure that clients are verbally advised of their privacy rights and that the ‘Client’s Rights & Responsibilities’ brochure and ‘Privacy Statement’ is provided to clients.
  • At the first meeting with legal advisors clients will be made aware of what information is being collected, how their privacy will be protected, their rights, and provided with the ‘Client Rights & Responsibilities’ brochure.

Privacy for Interviews and Personal Discussions:

  • When clients attend, or phone, BCLS for services, staff, students and volunteers will ensure client information is collected, or discussed, in a manner that respects the client’s right to privacy & confidentiality.
  • Where services are conducted at locations other than BCLS’ office, staff, students and volunteers will endeavour to use facilities where discussions can be in areas conducive to privacy.



  • Law Institute of Victoria Professional Conduct & Practice Rules 2005
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner
  • Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner
  • National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) Risk Management & CLC Practice
  • NACLC Accreditation Scheme Evidence Guide
  • Community Legal Services Program (CLSP) Service Agreement 2010-2013


  • Legal Professionals Act 2004
  • Privacy Act 1988
  • Information Privacy Act 2000
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982

Last modified on November 24th, 2020 at 7:37 am

The content on this site is information only and is not legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact us.

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