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Privacy Commissioner preferred candidate for role of UK Information Commissioner

Congratulations to John Edwards, New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner, on the news that he is the UK Government’s preferred candidate for Information Commissioner.

The UK are so lucky to have John. We would like to thank him for everything he has done for New Zealand. John has always been approachable, interested and incredibly helpful when we reached out to him about confusion over The Privacy Act, information sharing and child protection.  You can read the Privacy Commissioner’s article on “Revisiting the Commissioner’s messages on protecting children” below.

We wish him well.

Revisiting the Commissioner’s messages on protecting children

In July 2017, our office made two short videos featuring the Privacy Commissioner promoting child safety and describing what people can do if they think a child is at risk. It is a crucial feature of the Privacy Act that people can disclose personal information to prevent or lessen a serious risk or threat to another individual. This is especially the case with children because they are among the most vulnerable members of our community and society.

We were reminded recently by a child protection agency that the short message, although three years old, is continuing to play an important role for them in emphasising that message to people working with children and young people.

Willow Duffy is General Manager of the Safeguarding Children Initiative. It was at her request in 2017 that Privacy Commissioner John Edwards, contributed a video message to dispel some of the misconceptions about sharing personal information.

Willow Duffy says the context behind the videos was the Safeguarding Children Initiative’s research findings that fear of breaching the Privacy Act was one of the main reasons that people didn’t share information about a child who might be at risk and pass on their concerns to social agencies that can do something about it.

“Despite us delivering the messages ourselves, people still were fearful of breaking the privacy legislation. John was going to be in Nelson, and we asked if we could meet with him. During the meeting, I spoke to John about him filming a short video so that our learners could hear the message from the ‘horse’s mouth’.

“Literally, within two weeks, the videos of John popped into my inbox. It has helped people feel confident about sharing information to protect children and made a big difference. The videos of John are in our three eLearning courses, webinars and we use them in our face-to-face training.”

Willow is one of the three Nelson community nurses who founded the Safeguarding Children Initiative, a registered charity that provides child protection training and support to help people and organisations that work with at-risk children. You can find out more about it here. And watch the Commissioner’s videos below!

Charles Mabbett – 8 October 2020