AFS Australia and your Privacy

AFS Australia understands and appreciates that applicants, participants and volunteers may be concerned about their privacy and the confidentiality and security of their information held by the AFS network.

AFS Australia is committed to protecting your privacy and to complying with the National Privacy Principles. This Privacy Policy sets out AFS Australia’s practices and procedures on the collection, use, protection and recording of personal information that is collected online and offline. The Privacy Policy is regularly reviewed to ensure its currency and relevance, so you should occasionally review it.

Information Collected

Generally speaking, AFS Australia collects personal information about our applicants, students and volunteers via physical and electronic registration forms sent in or submitted online or by telephone. The type of information we collect will depend on how you are involved with AFS. Generally speaking, the personal information we might need to collect includes name, contact details (for example, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number(s), facsimile number), citizenship, qualifications, date of birth, occupation, educational background. Any printed forms you complete and send in will generally be kept with a hard copy file and the information will be stored on a database. Any information you provide (e.g. contact details) when using an online registration form will only be collected by us if you submit your form. If you log out prior to submitting your form, any information you had entered is automatically deleted.

Use and Disclosure of Information

Personal information supplied by an applicant, participant or volunteer is only used by AFS Australia in connection with conducting its business as an intercultural exchange organisation. We use the personal information you give us to provide you as an applicant, participant or volunteer with services. We also use the information you provide such as survey data and feedback, to continually improve our products and services.

AFS Australia will not generally disclose personal information concerning applicants, participants and volunteers to parties outside the AFS network, other than for a purpose directly related to the provision or improvement of our services. We will at all times strive to ensure that you are aware of how we use your information. If we need to use your personal details for a purpose other than one that we believe you would reasonably expect as an applicant, participant or volunteer we will seek your specific consent.

In order to deliver our services we occasionally need to provide some personal information details provided by you to our agents, contractors or third party service providers. External parties are generally providers of administrative, telecommunications, computer or other services that support the operation of our business and are under contract to keep that information confidential and secure. Personal information is occasionally shared, on a strictly confidential basis, for the purpose of running joint venture events and/or sponsorship. AFS Australia does not provide or sell any database information to external organisations for commercial purposes.

Security

AFS Australia maintains strict standards and security procedures to prevent unauthorised access to personal information and to ensure the correct and proper use of such information. Access to personal information held electronically is protected from unauthorised access through the use of log-in name and secure password. This restriction of access ensures that such information is only available and displayed to the intended person.

Encryption technology is used to ensure that information is protected when being transmitted over the Internet. AFS Australia cannot ensure the security of any information transmitted over the Internet and individuals do so at their own risk. However, once we receive a transmission, we take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is secure on our systems and those of our agents.

Access to Information

In order to properly service your needs AFS Australia invites applicants, participants and volunteers to regularly access and update their personal information at any time. AFS Australia always strives to maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date information.

To access, check or amend any such information held, please use our website or contact AFS Australia by email, phone, letter or fax.

Cookies

A “cookie” is a small data file that contains information about your visit to a website. Your computer provides this information during you first visit to a web server. The server records this information in a text file and stores this file on your hard drive. When you visit the same website again, the server looks for the cookie and structures itself based on the information provided. A cookie only identifies your computer to a web server when you visit the site, they do not identify users.

We use cookies to enhance functionality, to keep track of your visits, provide personalised features and as part of the identification process for our online services. If you visit our website to browse or download information, our web server will record the date and time of your visit to our site, the pages viewed and the information downloaded. We generally use this information for statistical purposes.

Most web browsers are initially set up to accept cookies. You can reset your browser to refuse all cookies or to warn you before accepting cookies. If you have set your browser to warn you before accepting cookies, you will receive the warning message with each cookie. You can refuse cookies by turning them off in your browser. If your browser is configured to reject all cookies, you will be unable to use services on this website that requires cookies in order to participate. You may still be able to use some information-only pages if you do not accept cookies.

Links to other sites

Our website contains links to other websites and this statement has no application to these other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of these other websites.

Complaints

If any applicant, participant or volunteer wishes to lodge a complaint regarding the way in which AFS Australia is handling their personal information, they should contact AFS Australia in the first instance. In the event that the individual and AFS Australia are unable to reach a satisfactory solution through negotiation, the individual is entitled to arrange for an independent person (such as the Privacy Commissioner) to investigate the complaint.

How to contact AFS Australia

If you have any questions or require further information about the AFS Australia privacy policy, please contact us.

Complaints Policy

Resolving Complaints: Complaints Process Summary

AFS Intercultural Programs, Australia (AFS Australia) is committed to ensuring high quality experiences for all of its participants.

We welcome and invite feedback of a positive or critical nature as the basis for continuous improvement of our programs and services.

You may lodge a complaint about any matter that has occurred in your dealings with AFS Australia, whether this is with a local volunteer, AFS Australia Staff member, or a member of the AFS Australia Board of Directors.

If your complaint concerns the immediate welfare of a current student, host family or other AFS participant and requires URGENT attention, please contact your local volunteer or the AFS National Office Support Coordinator on (02) 9215 0077 or [email protected]

In responding to your complaint, we will be committed to the adhering to the following principles:

  1. Prompt action:  Your complaint will be acknowledged within 7 days.   A detailed response will generally be provided to you within 4 weeks.  If we are unable to respond within 4 weeks we will advise you of the reasons for delay and expected date on which our response will be provided;
  2. Objectivity: Your complaint will be investigated by a senior volunteer or staff member who was not involved in the situation about which you are complaining;
  3. Confidentiality: The privacy of all involved in the situation that is the subject of your complaint, and confidentiality will be respected;
  4. Responsiveness:  Our response to you will address to specific matters of your complaint and provide details of what we intend to do to address the issues raised in your complaint;
  5. Low cost:  We will strive to minimize any expense involved in your submission of a complaint to AFS Australia;
  6. Opportunity for Review:  If you are dissatisfied with the response initially provided your complaint, you may request escalation for further review, to a more senior staff member, or the Board of Directors of AFS Australia; and,
  7. Convenience:  You may make your complaint verbally or in writing, in person, by telephone, or email.  If you make a verbal complaint, we will create a written record of your complaint and provide it to your with our acknowledgement for your record.

How can I make a complaint?

Choose one of the following options:

  1. Raise your complaint with a local AFS volunteer;
  2. Write to The Partner Director, AFS Intercultural Programs, Australia, PO Box 5, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
  3. Telephone AFS Australia’s National Office toll free on 1300 131 736
  4. Email your complaint to [email protected]

For further Information on the AFS Australia Complaints Policy, please refer to the documents below:

AFS Australia Complaints Policy

AFS Child Safe Environment Policy

Child Safe Environment Policy

This Child Safe Environment Policy sets out AFS Australia’s commitment to ensuring the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people. It outlines the mechanisms and procedures that ensure staff and volunteers are able to meet this commitment.

The Policy operates within the framework of AFS International and AFS Australia standards which put the safety and wellbeing of participants at the heart of all our activities. It reflects the legal requirements with respect to child protection in each Australian State and Territory, and complies with National Guidelines and State Departments of Education regulations for the accreditation and operation of student exchange organisations.

To read the whole Policy, click here.