The Hunter Research Foundation Centre (HRF Centre) acknowledges and respects the privacy of individuals, complies with the Privacy Act 1988 as amended and embraces the 13 Australian Privacy Principles with regard to the collection, use, protection, storage and disclosure of information. More information can be found at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act

The HRF Centre also abides by the principles of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. More information about the code can be found at www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications

Why does the HRF Centre collect information?

The purpose of research is to gather and present information about community directly to the people and organisations making decisions related to goods, services, health outcomes, or social policies. Generally, the HRF Centre uses research data at an aggregate level - that is, we use the combined answers of many people to draw conclusions about broad segments of the population.

The HRF Centre collects its own data; as agents for other bodies, as well as collecting data related to sponsors and function attendees.

Why does the HRF collect personal information?

The HRF Centre may collect personal information from the people we interview (respondents). This may also be used for quality control purposes – that is, to verify that the person gathering the information captured the respondent’s true and correct answers. Personal contact information, such as name and contact details, may also be gathered with a respondent’s consent so that they can be contacted for further research. Information that identifies an individual, such as name or address, is removed from our survey data as soon as it is no longer needed and/or is encrypted for security purposes. The HRF Centre only uses de-identified data for research analysis.

The Centre maintains a database containing names and contact details of our Sponsors, function attendees and other persons associated with the HRF Centre. The rights of individuals under the Privacy act apply to this database, including access to personal information, and the right to ask for correction or deletion of personal information.

How does the HRF Centre collect personal information?

Research may be conducted in person or via the telephone or other electronic means. Our interviewers will clearly identify themselves to respondents and in the case of face-to-face interviews, our interviewers carry a photo ID. If we are collecting your name and contact details, the purpose of this will always be made clear either in writing or by our interviewer.

The Centre requires that potential survey respondents be informed that participation in studies or surveys is voluntary, the name of the organisation for whom the data is being collected (and the name of the HRF Centre as the data collection agency if requested) and a means of contacting the HRF Centre (and/or the contracting client) should the person have any concerns about the survey.

In the case of an anonymous survey, the HRF Centre is careful to separate contact information and demographic data that could inadvertently identify respondents, from collected survey data by moving it into separate databases protected by encrypted identification numbers. For non-anonymous surveys, where the respondent’s name is known or the respondent can be personally identified in some way, personal information about the respondent is collected. There are two different circumstances that may apply:

  • Where the HRF Centre is acting as the agent of another organisation or institution. In these instances one or more of the following will apply:
  • The respondent has given/gives formal consent for the collection of the information.
  • Surveys will have received approval from an ethics committee associated with the institution conducting the study.
  • The institution will usually specify the text for interviewers to read which describes the actions taken to preserve the confidentiality of personal or sensitive data. As a minimum, the information noted above in respect of anonymous surveys must be provided to the respondent; usually more detail is provided depending upon the nature of the survey.
  • A respondent requesting access to personal data will be directed to the Project Manager at the institution conducting the study.
  • Where the HRF Centre collects personal information as part of its regional research program; as the delegated holder of personal information for a research project initiated by another organisation or institution; as part of the sponsorship program or as a functions organiser, the rights of individuals expressed in the Privacy Act 1988 as amended will be facilitated by the HRF (subject to the conditions and caveats of the Act). Respondents may request removal from survey contact logs/schedules, or to de-identify or destroy collected data.
Who has access to personal information collected by HRF Centre?

The HRF Centre will only transfer personal information to third parties that are directly involved in completion of the research project. Examples of these parties are: mailing houses, auditors, software suppliers and administrators or printing contractors. Personal details will not be transferred to a client, or any third party not directly involved in the completion of the research project, without the consent of the individual to whom the details relate.

The HRF Centre is not involved in direct marketing and will never sell personal information to marketing companies for direct marketing or any other purposes.

How does the HRF Centre protect the data we collect from misuse?

The HRF Centre takes all reasonable precautions to protect information held about people who make our research possible. Our systems are security protected and all HRF employees and volunteers, including interviewers, sign a confidentiality agreement upon commencing with the company. Personal information is stored securely and removed as soon as it is no longer required for research purposes.

With internet-based projects, we minimise the flow of personal information over the internet. Data is stored in-house and, if sent to clients either via email or cloud-based Dropbox, is password-protected. (see also Dropbox Privacy Policy at: www.dropbox.com/privacy2014).

Access to personal information

As set out in the Australian Privacy Principles, individuals may seek access to and request the correction or deletion of personal information held about them while this information remains identifiable. To action a request, call or send an email to our Privacy Officer with your request.

Further information

All general queries, concerns or complaints should be directed via the contact details listed below. If your complaint is regarding removal of your contact details from our records we will confirm in writing to you as soon as this is actioned. Our representative will contact you for all other queries.

Contact Information:

Email: hrfc@newcastle.edu.au

Ph: (02) 4985 4311