Not-For Profit organisations must prepare for changes to the Commonwealth Government Privacy Act 1988, set to take effect on 12 March 2014. 

There would be few NFP organisations that would comply with the new laws and they may face penalties of up to $1.7 million if changes are not made in time.

For many NFP organisations, the lengthy period of transition has resulted in many management committees/ boards and senior management leaders puttin them to the back of their minds. However, now is the time for action to avoid penalties for non compliance. 

The Privacy Commissioner has been very clear in his message – he will not be taking a soft approach to enforcing these laws. To avoid being made a public example of, organisations should review current practices as soon as possible. 

The changes include the replacement of the existing National Privacy Principles with new Australian Privacy Principles and expanded powers for the Australian Information Commissioner. 

The new Australian Privacy Principles will include rules regarding the collection, use and storage of personal information. 

For example, NFP organisations will now need to state whether they are likely to disclose personal information overseas and if so, the relevant countries. This may be particularly relevant for NFP organisations that use cloud computing to store data or NFP organisations that store data on servers located overseas. 

There will also be new rules around how organisations deal with unsolicited personal information and for direct marketing. 

How can NFP Lawyers help you to prepare for the changes:

– Undertake a privacy assessment

– Review and update existing privacy policies and the forms and consents that NFP organisation’s use in conjunction with their policy

– Review the NFP organisation’s practices in relation to the collection of personal information, marketing practices, data hosting and website privacy statements

– Conduct a privacy audit to identify gaps between current operations and the new privacy requirements

If you would like further information regarding the privacy changes, please contact Joanne.