Policy – Confidentiality requirements at meetings
The purpose of this policy is to regulate the conduct of members during meetings and control the release or retention of confidential material. The Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) is committed to openness, transparency, and accountability. The release of all public information shall be consistent with the protection of individual privacy, the effective management of its business, and relevant legislation. ACIPC is also committed to handling private information in a confidential manner. Meetings are necessary to govern ACIPC efficiently under its constitution, and frank and open consultation with all stakeholders is necessary to support good decision-making. This policy formalises the obligations of members and ACIPC when discussing and disseminating confidential information.
This policy applies to, and is binding on, all members and people employed by or representing the College in any capacity, including volunteers, employees, contractors and consultants (hereafter called ‘members and staff’) who are employed by, or undertake activities on behalf of, the College.
The Chair of the Executive Council (EC) and other standing committees of the College are elected and/or appointed positions which confer a wide discretion on the chair to ensure that the conduct of business runs smoothly. The president and appointed chairs of standing committees shall chair the meetings according to the standing orders of the College, taking into account efficiency and accountability. In the absence of the president, the immediate past president may chair the meeting of the EC. The appointed chairs of the standing committees may appoint a member to run the meeting if unable to attend. The secretary shall maintain a record of the committee meetings and decisions. The secretary shall prepare the agenda for the EC and standing committees in consultation with the chairs and shall circulate the agenda and any meeting papers to committee members before the meeting. Agenda items that are carried over must be addressed within a suitable timeframe to ensure there is continued momentum progressing projects and discussion. Conflicts of interest shall be identified and managed using the conflict of interest checklist.
Members of the EC and standing committees are authorised to release any material obtained during their service as a committee member that is not identified as confidential. Release of such information shall be in accordance with the requirements of any applicable legislation and/or the College’s policy for release of information to the public through the media or other avenues.
Determining the level of confidentiality:
- The EC shall determine whether any or all of ACIPC’s (or its sub-committees’) agendas, minutes, or papers shall be made public or retained as confidential (excluding information required to be made public by legislation, regulations, or the College’s rules).
- Where no express decision has been recorded the assumption shall be that the material is not confidential.
- It is responsibility of the EC Chair to ensure that EC materials are appropriately classified as confidential or open to release.
- Where appropriate, information identifying individuals may be removed by the chair from material before its consideration by the EC.
Individual member responsibilities:
On those occasions and for those matters that the EC elects not to make public, EC members shall respect the confidentiality of those documents and of any deliberations in the EC on those matters. The obligation to protect such confidential matters from disclosure continues even after the individual executive member is no longer serving on the EC.
In particular, EC members shall not:
- disclose to any member of the public any confidential information acquired by virtue of their position as an EC member;
- use any confidential information acquired by virtue of their position on the EC for their or any other person’s personal, financial or other benefit;
- make statements to the media in the name of the organisation except as specified in the executive’s media relations policy;
- permit any unauthorised person to inspect or have access to any confidential documents or information;
Observers and other non-committee members attending meetings
Occasionally observers and other non-committee members may be invited to attend a meeting. Attendance of observers and other non-committee members may be permitted subject to their undertaking to maintain confidentiality in accordance with this policy.
Breach of confidentiality
In the event a breach of confidentiality does occur, then the matter will be referred to the EC for investigation, risk assessment and action.
Relevant documents and references
- Complaints & Appeals Policy & Procedure
- Complaint Action Record
- Complaints Register
- Code of Conduct
- ACIPC Constitution.