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Bergent Research understands the importance of protecting an individual’s privacy. As a member of the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO), Bergent Research operates under the Market and Social Research Privacy Principles (MRSPPs), which came into effect on 1 September 2003 and replaced the National Privacy Principles in governing the handling of information about the subjects of research.
Bergent Research also abides by the principles of the Australian Market and Social Research Society’s Code of Professional Behaviour.
This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to take into account revised legislation, industry standards, technology, and changes to our operations and processes.
Bergent Research uses personal information only for research purposes. This means that we use it to investigate the behaviour, needs, attitudes, opinions, motivations or other characteristics of a whole population or particular section of a population.
‘Personal Information’ is information or opinions relating to an individual which can be used to identify that individual.
Some Personal Information is considered to be ‘Sensitive Information’. Sensitive information includes information relating to a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinion, membership of a political association or religious beliefs, membership of a trade union or professional or trade association, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record, or health information.
The Market Research that we conduct is ultimately designed to provide accurate and timely information to government, commercial and non-profit organisations about issues relevant to their activities, to support their decision making processes, to help them provide better products and services to their customers, and to help public sector agencies provide better government services and policies. What we do is designed to ultimately help create a better social and consumer environment.
All participation in the market research is voluntary. We respect the right of people to withhold information or not to participate in research on the basis of privacy or perceived sensitivity.
To be able to undertake market research, we need to collect Personal Information in order to provide our services and meet contractual requirements.
We collect Personal Information about individuals’ needs, opinions, feelings, preferences, usage and behaviour. We use this information to:
• Recruit people for market research activities
• Research attitudes, needs, behaviour and other characteristics of a sample of a population or specific group
• Aggregate groups of people with similar characteristics
• Analyse similarities and differences between groups
• Contact past research participants or members of our consumer panels
• Undertake quality control procedures
• Communicate with panel members and potential research respondents
• Provide and improve our services and comply with our contractual obligations
While we need individual information, the value of information we collect is normally based on the aggregated data rather than individual views. Hence, most data we use is not identified as relating to any specific individual.
In rare instances (such as some business-to-business research) there is a requirement to identify specific individuals interviewed, and where this is required the individual is told of this requirement in advance and able to decline being interviewed.
Personal Information we collect includes information about:
• Consumers generally and members of the public about whom we may have been provided information
• Research respondents who have provided information to us or whom we have been provided with information about
• Our clients, their employees, clients, customers, suppliers, former customers, and competitors
• Our suppliers
• Prospective employees, employees, and contractors; and other people who may come into contact with Bergent Research
The type of Personal Information we collect depends greatly on the nature of the research being undertaken, or the purpose for that information. Generally, information for research purposes includes:
• Demographics, such as name, contact details, age, gender, occupation, income
• Geographics, such as address, postcode
• Behaviour, such as what people do, what people use and why
• Needs, such as what people want, or need in terms of products and services
• Attitudes, such as how people feel about things, or opinions people have
Sensitive information will be used and disclosed only for the purpose for which it was provided or a directly related secondary purpose, unless agreed otherwise, or where certain other limited circumstances apply under the Privacy Act (e.g., where required by law). We will use our best endeavours to respect individual privacy and sensitivities when collecting Sensitive Information.
We collect Personal Information from individuals who wish to participate in research we undertake, whether for focus groups or in-depth interviews, over the telephone surveys, face-to-face surveys, surveys on the Internet or other forms of research. This information is provided voluntarily and sometimes individuals are paid to provide information about themselves.
We obtain Personal Information about people from publicly available sources such as the telephone book and from clients who hold information about people they would like us to conduct research with (for example customers or former customers). In some cases we are provided with information about people by a third party (for example a person in a focus group or a reference source).
Except in relation to the above, or as otherwise required by law, Personal Information will not be disclosed to persons not involved with our research without the consent of the individual providing that information.
Personal Information may be disclosed for research purposes and as otherwise required by law, to:
• Employees of Bergent Research
• Companies which are part of the Bergent Research group
• Contractors or subcontractors engaged by Bergent Research for research (for example fieldwork suppliers) or other purposes relating to our business activities, such as interviewing, data processing, mailing houses and internet services
• Other companies or individuals who perform services for us in our research activities (such as interviewers, data processors, respondent recruiters, quality control consultants, internet service providers, telecommunications providers, and mailing houses)
• Organisations or persons who we are authorised to disclose it to, such as our clients
- Bergent is likely to disclose this information to overseas clients
- Bergent’s overseas clients are located in but not limited to:
We use our best efforts to ensure that Personal Information is stored securely and not misused or disclosed in any unauthorised way. We employ industry standard methods of data storage and security for both electronic and hard copy information, including restricting physical access to offices, as well as imposing firewalls and secure databases to keep personal information secure from misuse, loss or unauthorised use or disclosure.
Where we no longer require Personal Information and are permitted by law to dispose of it, we will take reasonable steps to destroy it. Research respondents may ask us to destroy their Personal Information or to render it unidentifiable at an earlier date.
Bergent Research takes reasonable measures to make sure that the Personal Information held is accurate and up-to-date. We encourage members of our Consumer Panel to maintain their details using secure online access where practical.
All Bergent Research employees are required to respect the confidentiality of Personal Information and the privacy of individuals.
In accordance with the notice in the Bergent Research focus group viewing rooms, if any client recognises a participant, Bergent Research will either ask that participant to leave after being paid in full, or for the client viewer to leave that session to protect the respondents’ privacy.
While information remains identifiable, a respondent may request, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act, access to, or deletion of, any personal information that is held, by contacting the Bergent Research’s ISO Quality Officer at the address listed below.
If a panel member seeks deletion of their Personal Information, it may be necessary to remove them from the panel in which case all obligations to the respondent will cease.
Should a respondent require access to their Personal Information, Bergent Research will require them to verify their identity and to specify what information is required. A fee may be charged for providing access based on the time required for our staff to process the request. Bergent Research will advise of the fee which, if charged, would be payable in advance.
With the collection of Personal Information for the purpose of employment, Bergent Research will only collect information about a person if that information has direct relevance to the employment relationship with that person. Where possible we will collect the information directly from the person concerned or with that person’s approval if other sources are to be used. Every effort will be made to ensure that the information is accurate and that it is held only for as long as necessary for some useful purpose.
For employees, the organisation’s personnel files will hold only that information necessary for the proper management of an employee. This information may include evidence of date of birth, contact addresses and phone numbers, performance appraisals, pay records and disciplinary notes.
This information extends to personal health information including an initial medical examination and subsequent information which relates to any personal injuries or work related illnesses the person may have suffered at any time in their past.
Every person will have the right of access to any personal information about themselves held on the organisation’s files. It is our aim to provide access to this information within 24 hours of a request being made but this may be extended if the information has to be edited to prevent information about another person being divulged.
If an employee finds that any information held about them is inaccurate, then that information will be amended on production of supporting evidence or deleted from our files.
Katy Nugent, Director, ISO Quality Manager, Bergent Research, +61 3 9322 4000