At Whitehill Keir we seek to provide the best possible services to ensure your needs are properly addressed. To achieve this, we may need to collect personal information about yourself and the circumstances surrounding your financial matters.
It is important for us to ensure that you are confident that any personal information you provide to us is treated in the appropriate manner and with the appropriate degree of privacy.
Whitehill Keir offers expertise in all areas of business services and the services it provides to you will dictate the types of personal information that may be necessary for us to collect.
What does "personal information" mean?
Personal information is any information about you that identifies you or by which your identity may be reasonably determined. By collecting this personal information we are able to:
- Identify the issues of your particular matter;
- Provide the appropriate level of advice relating to that matter;
- Contact you when and were necessary;
- Ensure that you attain the best possible service and advice; and
- Identify you and protect you from any unauthorised access to your personal information.
How we collect your personal information
We will always collect your personal information directly from you where possible. Where we are unable to obtain personal information directly from you, we will require your consent before information is obtained from another party.
Collection of your personal information may occur in a number of ways including:
- Taking instructions from you; and
- Contact with a financial institution, or any other party, on your behalf, and at your request, to obtain such information.
Specifically, personal information will be collected during the course of our relationship with you. Personal information may also be collected when you provide us with further instructions to act on your behalf in other matters.
It is possible that we may collect personal information about you from other sources without your direct knowledge. Examples of this may be where funds are transferred from your bank account into our trust account and your bank account details are advised to us.
Where possible, we will require you to specifically consent to any use or disclosure of your personal information. Your consent will usually be required in writing. However, where necessary, we may accept your verbal consent to disclose particular information in the conduct of your particular matter.
Who would Whitehill Keir disclose your personal information to?
Whitehill Keir may need to disclose your personal information in certain circumstances. For example, your personal information may be required to be disclosed in response to a subpoena or a court direction.
It may also be necessary for us to disclose some of your personal information included on documents filed on your behalf in Government departments or in Court.
We may also disclose your personal information where you have consented to us doing so in pursuance of your particular business issue or advice. Your consent to the disclosure of your personal information may be given expressly, or it may be implied from your conduct and interaction with Whitehill Keir during the normal progression of your matter.
Whitehill Keir will, at all times, attempt to ensure that we do not disclose your personal information to a party outside the firm where consent for such disclosure has not been given. In all cases where we may be required to disclose information that is outside the ambit of our retainer, we will attempt to obtain your direct consent for such disclosure.
Some examples of parties outside Whitehill Keir to whom we may be required to disclose your personal information and the reasons for disclosure, are:
· The Australian Taxation Office;
· Other Government Authorities and Agencies in respect of your discrete financial issues, financial assistance and the like;
· Other members of our office with the day to day conduct of your matter, engaged to assist in the progression of your matter.
Ensuring your personal information is up to date
The effective and proper maintenance of your matter can only occur when the personal information that we hold is current and up to date. In this regard it is important that, during the course of your relationship with Whitehill Keir, you notify us of any changes to your personal information which we hold. This includes your contact details and any matter that may be material to the furtherance of your retainer with us.
The security of your personal information
Whitehill Keir prides itself on its secure handling of the personal information of its clients. We will take all reasonable precautions to safeguard personal information that is held by us, either on file or on computer, from loss, misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
To ensure that your personal information is secure, Whitehill Keir employs a number of means, including:
- External and internal premises security.
- The requirement for all employees to enter into a confidentiality agreement.
- Computer firewall protection.
- Restricted access to personal files and information.
- Up-to-date technology and computer maintenance to prevent unauthorised access.
- Document handling and shredding procedures with respect to personal information.
- Limited access to your personal information.
When Whitehill Keir no longer requires your personal information and the retainer has been completed, your file will be held by us in archives, off location, for a period of seven years and then securely destroyed. The information will also be deleted from our main computer system.
Access to your personal information
At any time you may give notice to Whitehill Keir that you wish to access your personal information that we hold.
In order that this information is made available to you some notice is required so that we may have the documentation ready for your inspection. Where the information is held in security, Whitehill Keir reserves the right to charge a fee to cover the cost of retrieval and supply of the information to you. However, we will endeavour at all times to ensure that the cost of such retrieval and supply is reasonable.
We will endeavour to handle all requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible and provide that information to you within seven days of receipt of that request.
However, some requests may take longer to process because of the substantial amount of documents held by the firm in respect of some matters.
You may only access your own personal information. Any personal information held on your file, in respect of any other person, will not be disclosed to you.
Whitehill Keir retains the right to deny access to personal information where the information may relate to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between Whitehill Keir and you or where access may be regarded as frivolous or vexatious. Whitehill Keir is also under obligation by law, in some circumstances, to deny access to your personal information.
If we deny you access to your personal information, reasons for that denial will be provided.
Certain information which may be collected by Whitehill Keir will be regarded as sensitive information. The disclosure of sensitive information can only be made by Whitehill Keir with your direct consent, where it is required. Some examples of sensitive information include financial circumstances.
Your personal information online
Whitehill Keir prides itself on the maintenance of up-to-date and technologically advanced computer systems. Our computers are continually being updated to maintain their security and are regularly audited and tested by external experts to ensure that any breaches of security, potential or actual, may be identified and rectified.
Whitehill Keir will correspond with you via email where you consent to that occurring. E-mail may not be a secure way to communicate your personal information to us and as such, that personal information should be delivered through secure means.
Whitehill Keir may from time to time use your personal information, such as your address or contact details, to provide you with information about other services that we offer.
If at any time you do not wish to receive any information about these services please feel free to contact us on (07) 3231 9100 and we will not send you any further material.
Whitehill Keir will not disclose your personal information to any party outside the firm except for the purposes of furthering your matter, or where the law requires us to so provide your personal information.
Wishing to access your personal information
Should you wish to access your personal information, all you need to do is contact Whitehill Keir on (07) 3231 9100 and advise us of your request. When you access your personal information, we will require you to sign a document stating that you have accessed your information.
Complaints about breaches of privacy
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from Whitehill Keir, you may contact the Federal Privacy Commissioner by phoning 1300 363 992 or writing to the Director of Complaints, Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 1042.