Direction relating to requests made by the Ombudsman under s13AA of the Ombudsman Act
This direction allows public sector agencies to co-operate with the Ombudsman when the Ombudsman is conducting preliminary inquiries under section 13AA of the Ombudsman Act. It expires on 31 December 2013.
As Privacy Commissioner appointed under Part 4, Division 1 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (the PPIP Act), I Elizabeth Coombs, hereby direct pursuant to section 41 of the PPIP Act that:
"Personal Information" has the same meaning as in section 4 of the PPIP Act.
"Health Information" has the same meaning as in section 6 of the Health Records & Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act).
"PPIP Act" means the PPIP Act
"HRIP Act" means the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002
"Ombudsman" means the New South Wales Ombudsman appointed under s. 6 of the Ombudsman Act
"Ombudsman Act" means the Ombudsman Act 1974
"Public Sector Agency" has the same meaning as in s. 3 of the PPIP Act.
Under s. 13AA of the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman is able to make ‘preliminary inquiries for the purpose of deciding whether to make particular conduct of a public authority the subject of an investigation'. In the course of conducting these preliminary inquiries, the Ombudsman may need to collect information from Public Sector Agencies and to request Public Sector Agencies to disclose information for this purpose.
This Direction has been made to allow Public Sector Agencies to co-operate with the Ombudsman when the Ombudsman is conducting preliminary inquiries under section 13AA of the Ombudsman Act 1974 (the Ombudsman Act).
I am satisfied that the public interest in making this Direction is greater than the public interest in requiring Public Sector Agencies to comply with the Information Protection Principles referred to in the provisions set out below.
This Direction is to apply to every Public Sector Agency.
1. This Direction applies to the disclosure of Personal Information by a Public Sector Agency to the Ombudsman in response to a request made by the Ombudsman to the Public Sector Agency pursuant to s. 13AA of the Ombudsman Act for the provision of information as well as to any use the Public Sector Agency may make of the Personal Information for the purpose of responding to the Ombudsman’s request.
2. This Direction does not apply to Health Information.
3. A Public Sector Agency need not comply with sections 16, 17, 18, or 19(1) of the PPIP Act if the agency: (i) uses or discloses Personal Information for the purpose of answering a request for information made to the agency by the Ombudsman pursuant to s. 13AA of the Ombudsman Act; and (ii) (in the case of a disclosure of the information only) the disclosure is made to the Ombudsman.
4. This Direction replaces previous Directions on this matter.
This Direction has effect from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013, or until the making of a revised Direction, whichever is earlier.
Signed by me on 23 December 2011.