Recognised EDR schemes

Introduction
Recognised EDR schemes
Applications for recognition

Introduction

The Information Commissioner can recognise external dispute resolution (EDR) schemes to handle particular privacy-related complaints (s 35A of the Privacy Act 1988).

The OAIC has issued Guidelines for recognising external dispute resolution schemes which include the matters the Commissioner must take into account in considering whether to recognise an EDR scheme, the steps an EDR scheme should take to apply for recognition and the general conditions for ongoing recognition.

Importantly, from 12 March 2014, under Part IIIA of the Privacy Act, a credit provider (as defined by sections 6G to 6K of the Privacy Act), must be a member of an EDR scheme recognised under the Privacy Act to be able to disclose credit information about an individual to a credit reporting body and thereby participate in the consumer credit reporting system. However, a transitional, 12 month, exemption from the requirement to be a member of a recognised EDR scheme has been put in place for energy and water utilities and commercial credit providers. Further information on the reasons for the temporary exemption can be found in the explanatory statement to the Privacy Amendment (External Dispute Resolution Scheme—Transitional) Regulation 2014.

Despite this transitional exemption three Energy and Water Ombudsman schemes, covering Victoria, NSW and WA, have been recognised. As well the OAIC encourages commercial credit providers to become a member of a recognised EDR scheme where there is one available for them to join, noting that the Credit Ombudsman Service Ltd (COSL) is accepting membership applications from commercial credit providers.


Recognised EDR schemes

The list below shows EDR schemes whose applications for recognition under the Privacy Act have been assessed and accepted and includes the specified purpose of the recognition and, where relevant, any specific conditions of the recognition.

All recognised EDR schemes remain subject to the general conditions for recognition outlined in the OAIC's Guidelines for recognising external dispute resolution schemes, and in particular the conditions for ongoing recognition outlined in Part 4 of those guidelines.

List of external dispute resolution schemes recognised under section 35A of the Privacy Act 1988

EDR scheme (in alphabetical order)

Date of recognitionSpecified purpose of recognition (and specified conditions, if any)
Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL)  29-Jan-2014 Subject to its terms of reference, COSL will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of COSL members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Energy & Water Ombudsman (NSW) Limited (EWON) 20-Mar-2014 Subject to its terms of reference, EWON will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of EWON Members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) Limited (EWOV) 20-Mar-2014 Subject to its Charter, EWOV will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of EWOV members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/ or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia (EWOWA) 4-Mar-2014 Subject to the Energy Coordination Act 1994 (WA), Electricity Industry Act 2004 (WA), Water Services Act 2012 (WA), and the Constitution and Charter of the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Western Australia) Limited, the Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of members of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Scheme that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) 4-Feb-2014 Subject to its terms of reference, FOS will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of FOS members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Limited (TIO) 19-Dec-2013 To receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of TIO members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.
Tolling Customer Ombudsman (TCO)  13-Mar-2014 Subject to the governing Tolling Customer Ombudsman Agreements, TCO will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of TCO members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) and/or 13(2) of the Privacy Act 1988.

TCO specified conditions:

Recognition is granted provisionally for 24 months, subject to an independent review of the TCO scheme being conducted within that period and the OAIC being satisfied with the conduct of the independent review and the TCO’s response to any recommendations.

Applications for recognition

Below is a list of the EDR schemes whose applications for recognition have not yet been determined.

  • Public Transport Ombudsman Limited (Victoria) — received 27 March 2014

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