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A tertiary student had been unable to prepare for exams because of illness during the usual preparation time. He sought special consideration from the academic staff marking his papers. The tertiary institution required the student to complete a form containing an authorisation for the department concerned to contact any health professional named by the student and to obtain information about the student from that professional. The student complained that the authorisation was too wide.

The complaint was received within a week of the student commencing exams and so I sought to resolve the matter by telephone.

A form of wording was suggested which authorised the Department to contact a nominated health professional and obtain information verifying the student's claim that his ability to prepare for his exams had been impaired and providing advice as to the extent of the impairment suffered. This was acceptable to both parties.

As the complaint had been satisfactorily resolved I discontinued my investigation.

November 1994

Collecting personal information - Tertiary institution - Institution sought authorisation to collect health information before granting special consideration in examinations - Authorisation clause too wide - Information privacy principle 1