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Recognised EDR schemes

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 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.

This mandatory EDR membership provision does not apply to disclosures made in connection with the provision of commercial credit.

There is also a transitional exemption for energy and water service providers in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. This exemption expires on 1 January 2017.

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 and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) 29-Jan-2014 Subject to its terms of reference, CIO will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of CIO 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 Queensland (EWOQ) 1-Jan-2016 Subject to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006 (Qld), EWOQ will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints within its scope about acts or practices of EWOQ 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 (SA) (EWOSA) 27-Nov-2015

Subject to its constitution and charter, EWOSA will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of EWOSA 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.

EWOSA specified conditions:

Recognition is granted provisionally for 12 months, subject to EWOSA

  • updating its systems, processes and documents, where relevant, to take into account the requirements for recognition as specified in the Guidelines for recognising external dispute resolution schemes under s 35A of the Privacy Act 1988, and in particular to enable its staff to deal with complaints which relate to alleged breaches of the APPs and Pt IIIA of the Privacy Act 1988, and
  • ensuring its staff is trained to be able to effectively handle complaints which relate to alleged breaches of the APPs and Pt IIIA of the Privacy Act.
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.
Public Transport Ombudsman Limited (Victoria) 18-Nov-2014 Subject to its constitution and charter, the PTO will receive, investigate, facilitate the resolution of, make decisions and recommendations for, and report on, complaints about acts or practices of PTO members that may be an interference with the privacy of an individual under subsections 13(1) 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.

On 1  March 2016, the Commissioner varied TCO’s recognition as an EDR scheme and removed the specified condition that recognition was 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.  

The Commissioner granted this variation to remove the specified condition because, due to commercial credit providers being exempt from the requirement to join an EDR scheme to access the credit reporting system, TCO has not experienced the increase in privacy related complaints that was anticipated in March 2014. TCO will instead be required to conduct an independent review within 5 years as set out in the Guidelines for recognising external dispute resolution schemes.

Applications for recognition

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

  • No current applications