Privacy and APSED
What is APSED?
APSED (APS Employment Database) is a database maintained by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission). It contains information relating to all people employed under the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act) and former employees of the Australian Public Service.
How is APSED data collected and stored?
Your agency collects certain personal information from you when you first commence in the Australian Public Service (APS). Additional employment information is added to this and changed throughout your career. This information is usually stored in your agency's HR system. Throughout your career you can make changes to your personal information through your HR system manager. Australian Privacy Principle 5 contained in the Privacy Act 1988 sets out requirements the collector of data must meet in notifying you about how it will handle personal information. Details can be found at www.oaic.gov.au.
Agencies disclose specific data to the Commission to enable the Australian Public Service Commissioner to perform his functions under the PS Act. Agencies transmit data relating to APS employees from HR systems to the Commission using a secure encryption method. This information is stored in APSED. APSED and the secure encryption methods meet government recommended security specifications.
What data is collected for APSED?
This is the data your agency will be providing to APSED:
- Australian Government Staff (AGS) Number
- Given names
- Family name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Date commenced in the APS
- APS Employment status e.g. ongoing or non-ongoing
- Standard hours worked
- Postcode of workplace location
- Movement code e.g. promotion, resignation
- Date of effect of movement
- Maternity leave
- On leave without pay
- Prior work e.g. private sector, unemployed, study
- Date of completion of temporary assignments/movement
- Equity data*
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
- Country of birth
- Year of arrival in Australia
- First language spoken
- Main first non-English language
- Mother's first language
- Father's first language
- Education qualifications*
- Highest level of attainment
- Main fields of study
- Year completed
- Australian or overseas qualification
- Job Family
* provision of this data to APSED is voluntary but desirable for planning and reporting purposes.
Why is APS employment data collected and how is it used?
The Australian Public Service Commissioner has been given certain functions under section 41 of the PS Act. To perform these functions the Commissioner requires agencies to supply data to APSED. This data is then used to compile reports and evaluate the state of the APS.
Each financial year the Commissioner reports to Parliament on the state of the APS. The overall purpose of the State of the Service Report (SOSR) (including workplace diversity) and the APS Statistical Bulletin is to maintain public confidence in the integrity and accountability of the APS. Employment data is an important input to SOSR. SOSR contains aggregated statistics and individuals are not identified.
Information on staffing, including trends in the size, structure and composition of the APS, contributes to research and evaluation work on the changing nature of the APS and the impact of people management policies on the structure of the APS. This, in turn, assists agencies to formulate their people management policies and practices.
Records may be used to extract samples from the database to be used in research on relevant employment policies, including the sample for the annual SOS employee survey. This research may involve using the sample to compile mailing lists inviting employees to take part in the research. These mailing lists may also be used to provide results of this research to employees in the target group from which the research sample was drawn. Information in this database may also be used to cross-check information in other Commission data collections, in particular in relation to learning and development and Senior Executive Service employees. Data may also be used to assist in workforce planning, including for individual agencies. In addition, data is occasionally used to assist with the other functions of the Commissioner or Merit Protection Commissioner. Aggregated data may also be made available upon request to agencies and on a cost recovery basis to bona fide researchers as an input to research and policy development.
Email addresses may also be used to assist with the functions of the Commissioner and Merit Protection Commissioner including, but not limited to, the function to co-ordinate and support APS-wide training and career development opportunities in the APS. For example, email addresses may be used to contact APS employees about training and development opportunities and provide related APS information.
For this purpose, an extract is drawn from APSED, and provided to the Programmes Group within the Commission for them to use as required. Variables provided include email address, agency, classification level and state.
APS employees may opt out of receiving emails of this nature from the Commission.
Aggregate data is also available through an Internet interface on the Commission's website (www.apsc.gov.au/about-the-apsc/commission-services/apsed/apsedii). To ensure that individuals cannot be identified, general users of the interface only have access to confidentialised data groupings. A second stage, with password protected access to unit record data for designated users in each agency, is also available.
Why is personal data of a voluntary kind collected?
Your agency is required under Section 18 of the PS Act to establish a Workplace Diversity Program to assist in giving effect to the APS Employment Principles. Workplace Diversity is about creating an inclusive environment that values and utilises the contributions of people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. As noted above the Australian Public Service Commissioner also reports annually on the extent to which workplace diversity has been achieved. The differences reflected in workplace diversity can relate to gender, age, language, race, ethnicity, cultural background or disability. Diversity also refers to the myriad ways we are different in other respects such as educational level and work experience.
It is your decision whether or not to provide information on your background. You are strongly encouraged to do so, however, as the information will assist your agency and the Commission to develop and evaluate workplace diversity programs.
Who has access to my individual record?
Access to an individual employee's record is controlled by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988, in particular APP 6 which limits the use and the disclosure of personal information.
Access to APSED in the Commission is limited to authorised employees responsible for ensuring that the records are accurate and complete or who are authorised to extract aggregate data from APSED for accountability, research or learning and development purposes (see "Why is APS employment data collected…"). The APS Commission Executive and the Group Manager, Employment Planning Group also have access to individuals' records.
No primary data is disclosed to any person, body or agency other than in the circumstances provided in APP6. APP6 permits disclosure with the consent of the individual or where the individual is reasonably likely to be aware. Further circumstances include where such disclosure is required or authorised by or under law or where the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law.
You should approach your agency, in the first instance, to have access to the information on your individual record and to amend what you consider to be inaccurate or misleading information. If this is unsuccessful you also have a right of access and amendment under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
You can access or correct your personal information held on APSED by emailing APSED@apsc.gov.au. To confirm your identity, details such as full name, date of birth, AGSN (if available) and agencies worked for are requested.
Where can I get more information about APSED?
You can obtain further information on APSED from your personnel area or by contacting the APSED Team at the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information about the Privacy Act can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 363 992 or email email@example.com.