22 November 2013


The NSW Information & Privacy Commissioner (counterpart of the OAIC) has made a formal Direction under s. 41(1) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) in relation to Youth on Track.

The Direction - in essence delegated legislation that represents an exemption from provisions of the key NSW privacy statute - "has been made to permit the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by participating agencies for the purposes of Youth on Track".

Youth on Track is "a trial strategy for reducing juvenile offending through improved early intervention and post release support". It is administered by NGOs under the state Department of Attorney General & Justice, with the aim of -
a) identifying young people at risk of offending;
b) identifying needs that contribute to the risk of those young people offending; and
c) addressing those needs at an early stage before offending becomes entrenched, through case management and the provision of appropriate evidence-based interventions for the young person.
...The Program involves the collection, use and disclosure/exchange of personal information about a potential participant, his or her family and social environment based on known risk factors and protective factors that can be used to predict the risk that a young person will offend or re-offend. The risk factors are inter-related and cumulative. ...
This involves collection and use by the NGO of personal information from multiple sources that the young person and their parents/guardians have consented to the NGO collecting their personal information from, the use to which that personal information will be put, and the disclosure of that personal information to other parties. The personal information collected mainly relates to the young person, but may include personal information about family, peers and other third parties.
Personal information in paragraph 3.14 relating to third parties will only be collected by the NGO from a public sector agency if the third party consents to the collection, use and disclosure of that personal information by the NGO.
Information exchange potentially encompasses -
Category A – DAGJ agencies
  • NGO 
  • Youth on Track Unit
Category B – Agencies that may already be providing case management to the young person
  • Community Services 
  • Ageing Disability and Home Care 
  • Department of Education & Communities 
  • NSW Health
Category C – Agencies in respect of which the young person and/or parents/guardian may consent to share personal information for the purposes of Youth on Track

  • Ageing, Disability and Home Care 
  • Births Deaths and Marriages 
  • Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) 
  • Community Services 
  • Department of Education & Communities (School and TAFE) 
  • NSW Health including Justice Health 
  • NSW Housing 
  • Juvenile Justice 
  • Legal Aid and/or Aboriginal Legal Services 
  • State Debt Recovery Office 
  • Such of the following organisations or individuals as may be specified on the consent form signed by the young person in the particular case: Counsellor Drug and alcohol services, Medical practitioner , Non-government agencies, Treatment facilities, Youth Accommodation Services (refuges), Any named individual(s) 
The Commissioner indicates (at 4.2 and 4.3) that
I am satisfied that the public interest in making this Direction is greater than the public interest in requiring the participating agencies to comply with the information protection principles contained in Pt. 2, Div. 1 of the PPIP Act.
A corresponding direction applies in respect of health information under the HRIP Act.