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Protocols

Preface

The Protocols and related Information Sharing Agreements have been developed for the following purposes:

• Facilitate the process permitted under section 16 of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013, where BOSTES may enter into arrangements with relevant agencies including Teacher Education Institutions for the purpose of sharing or exchanging information. Information may include data that is described at paragraph 3..

  • Ensure signatories to the Protocols are aware of their obligations with regard to use of that information.
  • Establish a framework of information sharing which ensures the efficient use of information.
  • Maximise the benefits for organisations and all stakeholders (including schools, teachers, students and initial teacher education students)
  • Build trust between information sharing parties.
  • Avoid the risk of disputes.

1. Purpose of Protocols

1.1 The purpose of this document is to set out the Protocols to which signatories will adhere to when providing, accessing and managing information shared, as part of an Information Sharing Agreement.

1.2 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement may include BOSTES, Teacher Education Institutions, NSW Council of Deans of Education, NSW Department of Education, Catholic Education Commission, Association of Independent Schools, schools, and other relevant agencies permitted under section 16 of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013.

1.3 Each request for information will be initiated by BOSTES to the proposed Providing Organisation(s), using the template Information Sharing Agreement attached to the Protocols, specifying who requires the information, the purpose for which the information is being sought, the data items required, the methodology for how the information will be used and how the results will be disseminated or published. For each round of data collection a separate information sharing agreement needs to be signed if there are different purposes, different data and different audiences for publication of analyses of the data set. These Protocols will accompany each request.

1.4 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement should ensure that the burden on the Providing Organisation is considered and timelines are realistic. Resource sharing arrangements will be established where necessary.

1.5 Information Sharing Agreement should recognise other relevant data protocols to its parties, where applicable.

1.6 Without derogating from section 16 of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013, a party that receives a request for information by BOSTES as described in paragraph 1.3 may reserve a right to refuse or propose to amend the particulars of that particular request for information.

2. Principles of Protocols

2.1 The principles underlying this document are that:

  • information sharing is of benefit to BOSTES, Teacher Education Institutions and other relevant agencies for the development of plans and policy to improve the quality of teaching in NSW;
  • the provision of the requested data is necessary for the achievement of the study or program objectives; • the potential value of the research justifies the extent of resources required to provide the data;
  • publically available data or other existing data sources will be used where possible, with steps taken to ensure that information is not already available before requesting data, including reference to the Higher Education Data Committee for advice;
  • data are only used for specific, agreed purposes;
  • the research methodology is appropriate;
  • data are provided in a timely, efficient manner;
  • data are kept secure;
  • the results of analyses are shared to benefit all parties; and
  • data are only held for as long as is deemed necessary.

3. Types of data

3.1 The Protocols refer to aggregated institutional data sets only. Requests for the sharing of personal data (i.e. data that can identify individual students, pre-service teachers or teachers) would need to be guided by a separate new protocols document or a revision to this document.

3.2 The types of data permitted to be requested as described in paragraph 1.3 and specified in an Information Sharing Agreement may include the following:

  • Teacher workforce data (in conjunction with other agreements)
  • Demographic data of schools, cohorts of students, pre-service teachers, teachers
  • Initial teacher education and professional experience
  • Entry and graduation data.

3.3 The types of data must not exceed the types of information described under section 16(2) of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013.

4. Authorised users

4.1 Access to the data will be limited to authorised users with a genuine need, defined as staff members or contractors of parties to an Information Sharing Agreement who are involved in analysis, interpretation or information management in relation to the specified data. If contractors are to be authorised users, they will be required to sign a Deed of Confidentiality.

4.2 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will ensure that only authorised users have access to the data.

4.3 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement should ensure that authorised users of data are properly trained in the handling of data and comply with the terms of the Protocols.

4.4 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will each designate a Data Sharing Lead as the point of contact for all information sharing matters, including information requests.

4.5 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will each designate a Lead Officer with delegated authority and/or seniority in their agency to approve the terms of the agreement, review outputs and resolve disputes, where necessary. Although not mandatory, it is desirable that the Lead Officer will have delegated authority from their agency to execute the Information Sharing Agreement.

5. Authorised use of the data

5.1 BOSTES will only use the data for purposes agreed and specified in the Information Sharing Agreement.

5.2 BOSTES will not make copies of the data for any purpose other than that for which the data was provided and specified in the Information Sharing Agreement.

5.3 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will not attempt to re-identify the data if it is provided in a de-identified or aggregated form.

5.4 BOSTES will not release the data to any third party or engage in any datamatching activities involving the data without the prior written consent of the Providing Organisation

5.5 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will take reasonable measures to safeguard the commercial and reputational standing of data providers when considering the use of data and the publication of results. The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement will be able to assess the risk when reviewing draft reports.

5.6 Reports are to include an explanation of the procedures associated with access, use and disclosure of the data.

5.7 Where compliance with these Protocols may place any of the parties to an Information Sharing Agreement in breach of any relevant standards on research integrity, such as the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the relevant research integrity standards will prevail over these Protocols.

6. Compliance with privacy legislation and restrictions on the use of the data

6.1 The data will not be used in any manner that is inconsistent with the Information Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) and the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth).

6.2 The data will not be used in ways which would breach any relevant legislation, or in ways which are contrary to the requirements of existing agreements across all phases including collection, use, management, storage, and dissemination or publication.

6.3 Subject to paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2, the data will not be used or reported in ways which could identify individual students, staff, schools, school sectors, Teacher Education Institutions or other commercial entities, unless agreed by the parties to an Information Sharing Agreement and the proposed use is also authorised by law.

6.4 If BOSTES receives a request under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 in relation to the data specified in the Information Sharing Agreement, it will use best endeavours to consult with the Providing Organisation beforehand.

7. Dissemination or publication of the data

7.1 The Providing Organisation must be acknowledged as the source of the data in any publication or presentation using the data.

7.2 BOSTES will provide the Lead Officer of the Providing Organisation with a copy of any report, article, presentation or other material to be published for review at least 30 days’ prior to release for correction of errors or misinterpretation, opportunity to respond to any issues and/or confirmation.

7.3 The Providing Organisation may formally indicate objections to the dissemination or publication of particular material. Objections will be conveyed to the Lead Officer of BOSTES in accordance with dispute resolution processes set out in the Information Sharing Agreement.

8. Data quality

8.1 Data quality will be examined to ensure data is fit for purpose. Data quality issues identified will be investigated in consultation with the Providing Organisation, and addressed where feasible. Relevant caveats and explanatory notes will accompany all releases of the data.

8.2 Methodology for the organisation, description, analysis and interpretation of data to be reported internally or externally will be described in the Information Sharing Agreement and discussed with the Providing Organisations, if requested.

8.3 Information will be current as at the date and time it was supplied by the Providing Organisation. The Providing Organisation will notify BOSTES if any errors in the dataset are subsequently identified, however the Providing Organisation will not be obliged to provide updates for currency unless a requirement is specified in the Information Sharing Agreement.

9. Security of data

9.1 The Information Sharing Agreement will specify appropriate media and format in which the data can be delivered securely, and BOSTES will be responsible for the security of the data from the point at which delivery is confirmed.

9.2 BOSTES will store the data securely, in accordance with recognised standards and the organisation’s information security policy and guidelines.

9.3 BOSTES will maintain a record of who has access to the data, when, and for what purpose.

10. Confidentiality

10.1 BOSTES will take all reasonable steps to keep confidential information under effective control and protect it from any unauthorised use or access.

10.2 BOSTES will immediately notify the Providing Organisation if it becomes aware of any unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of any confidential information.

10.3 BOSTES will only disclose any confidential information if it is required by law to do so. BOSTES undertakes in this event to inform the Providing Organisation.

11. Retention and disposal of data

11.1 The Information Sharing Agreement will specify the retention periods for the data to be shared, any requirements for disposal of information after the duration of the agreement and any requirements to verify disposal.

12. Review Arrangements

12.1 The Protocols will be formally reviewed bi-annually by the BOSTES Research and Development Committee and any updated version of the Protocols must be agreed to by the signatories, which includes obtaining approval from the NSW ViceChancellors’ Committee on behalf of NSW universities, before it can take effect.

12.2 Any of the signatories can request an extraordinary review at any time where a joint discussion or decision is necessary to address local developments.

12.3 The most recent version of the Protocols will be made available on the BOSTES website and users of the data are responsible for ensuring that they are compliant with these Protocols.

13. Complaints handling

13.1 The parties to an Information Sharing Agreement are responsible for putting into place effective procedures to address complaints relating to the use and disclosure of information, and information about these procedures should be made available to each party.

13.2 Under NSW and Commonwealth privacy legislation, individuals who believe that their personal information has been mishandled have the right to lodge a complaint with the NSW Privacy Commissioner or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner respectively.

GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS

BOSTES – the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards and who is the party to an Information Sharing Agreement that will be receiving, storing and using the data.

Data Sharing Lead – the responsible data-providing/handling officer from each party to an Information Sharing Agreement that is the point of contact for all information sharing matters, including information requests

Information Sharing Agreement – an agreement to share or exchange information and/or data that is permitted under section 16 of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013.

Lead Officer – the responsible senior officer from each party to an Information Sharing Agreement with delegated authority and/or seniority to approve the terms of Information Sharing Agreements, review outputs and resolve disputes, where necessary.

Providing Organisation – the organisation providing the data

Teacher Education Institution – NSW organisations such as universities responsible for initial teacher education programs that are accredited by the NSW Minister for Education.

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