Merri Outreach Support Services Inc
 
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Privacy, dignity and confidentiality


Policy
The dignity and worth of each individual is to be upheld by all staff as a matter of ethical practice and concern for a fellow human being.

All service users, staff, volunteers, committee members and community supports involved with the MOSS Personal Support Program have the right to confidentiality of personal information. This right will be recognised and put into practice in all areas of the service's work.

Service user files are kept for the purposes of continuity of service. Only information that is relevant to a person's support needs and their work with MOSS Personal Support Program support workers will be recorded.

It is the policy of MOSS Personal Support Program to limit the exchange of confidential information concerning service users, staff and internal agency issues.

Procedures
Service users will be given a copy of the policy on privacy, dignity and confidentiality at the time of assessment.

Files regarding service users are open to the service user concerned and to professional staff. This is in line with Freedom of Information Guidelines.  Service users' files will be stored securely.

Staff files are open to the individual staff member and to the Coordinator for management purposes. These files are not accessible to others, unless by written permission of the staff member concerned.

MOSS Personal Support Program is occasionally contacted by services or individuals seeking information about service users. MOSS Personal Support Program has a policy that no information is given about service users. However, information may be made available in the following circumstances:

  • when there is a serious threat to the health or safety of people, or a threat of damage to property
  • when a service user has signed a consent form allowing for regular contact with a given agency or organisation (these forms can be altered at any point by service users)
  • when a service user contacts MOSS Personal Support Program staff and gives permission for specific information to be given to a particular person, for example, requests for information from the Office of Housing priority board.
  • when a service user gives permission for a specific message to be taken

At times MOSS Personal Support Program is legally obliged to give out the information requested and is therefore unable to maintain confidentiality. Examples of this are:

1. When MOSS Personal Support Program staff are subpoenaed to answer questions in court.
2. When requests accompanied by a warrant are made by police.
3.  When requests come from Centrelink which:
      are formalised in writing and state exactly what information is required
      quote the Social Security Act, Section 1304 as authority
      are relevant to Social Security payments.
4.   When the Tax office is seeking information and the Taxation Act is quoted.

When information is given out under any of these circumstances, MOSS Personal Support Program will immediately inform the service user about what information has been provided, who it was provided to, and why confidentiality was breached.

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