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Privacy top of mind for TAS

How do we keep our customers’ trust in a digital world?

This is one of the questions the government is challenging all New Zealand public agencies to think about and act on.

It’s top of mind for Russell Cooke, the Government Chief Privacy Officer in Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs, in light of the Privacy Act 2020 that came into effect on 1 December 2020. The Act strengthens the obligations of organisations like TAS to have good procedures in place for managing privacy issues.

TAS people were fortunate to hear from Daniel Anderson who represented Russell Cooke at TAS’ recent Privacy Week. He spoke about how the privacy attitudes of New Zealanders are calling for more awareness, higher expectations and greater transparency.

He said agencies need to grow their privacy maturity to ensure they build good resilience and agility for change, as well as earn the public’s confidence in their ability as an organisation to protect and use information properly.

TAS’ Privacy Officer Gavin Knight, a member of ASIS International (the professional organisation for security practitioners), has been leading the TAS Privacy Programme for the last 18 months. During this time, he has worked alongside TAS people to steadily strengthen privacy awareness, policies and tools.

“At TAS, privacy is core to our business and is strongly mandated. Following a Privacy Maturity Assessment which identified key areas to take action, we’ve introduced a Privacy Strategy, built strong awareness, and set our leaders and people up with certified privacy awareness training.

“Central to this programme of work has been our focus on managing privacy and the sensitive information we hold on behalf of our customers. We know we need to be really good at privacy, so that our customers have full confidence in us,” said Gavin Knight.

TAS has been working closely with the Government Chief Privacy Officer to do this work to the best privacy standards, and was praised as “making great advances” with our awareness and strategies.

This puts TAS in a strong position to support our customers with privacy matters, as we can be viewed as a credible guardian of important HR information on the New Zealand health workforce and the clinical data of all New Zealanders.

“Privacy breaches have the potential of causing a lot of harm. To manage this environment, we are continually educating ourselves, building daily privacy habits, classifying our communications, and running refresher events like our recent TAS Privacy Week to get our people thinking about privacy in their day to day life,” said Gavin Knight.  

For more information contact:

Gavin Knight
TAS Privacy Officer
gavin.knight@tas.health.nz