Service co-ordination possible under privacy laws: commissioner

Researchers found NSW agencies have an “over-determined” view of privacy, limiting service coordination. But privacy commissioner Dr Elizabeth Coombs says misunderstanding about the privacy regime, not the laws themselves, is the cause of missed opportunities for service improvement.

Elizabeth Coombs

Elizabeth Coombs

New South Wales privacy commissioner Dr Elizabeth Coombs told a state parliamentary inquiry yesterday that NSW privacy laws, applied correctly, would not impact on a service provider’s ability to support those in need.

The inquiry is investigating whether government and non-government service providers are meeting the needs of clients, as well as trying to identify potential barriers to service coordination, such as privacy laws.

A previous hearing in August heard from non-government providers, advocates and researchers that current efforts in communities with high social needs lacked coordination due to factors such as information silos, incompatible technology, and differing organisational cultures. Client privacy was one of the reasons cited for those information silos.

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