New policy requirements for schools: recordkeeping and online safety

If you work in the Victorian education sector, you may have heard there will be a new Ministerial Order from 1 July 2022 (MO 1359), that imposes on schools new child safety requirements that align with the 2022 Child Safe Standards.

Moores has already written extensively on the new MO 1359 to help schools prepare:

Recordkeeping policy requirement

MO 1359 imposes a new requirement on schools in Victoria to:

“develop a policy or statement that details the processes the school has in place to meet Public Records Office Victoria Recordkeeping Standards.”

Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) is the archive of the state and local government in Victoria, and sets mandatory recordkeeping standards and provide support and advice on recordkeeping to state and local government. MO 1359 now imposes these recordkeeping standards on independent and Catholic schools.

Schools will need to review their internal recordkeeping, information handling and data security measures to ensure they meet PROV Standards. For example, in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, PROV introduced a new standard, PROS 19/08. This standard requires organisations, in relation to records about organisational responses to child sexual abuse, to:

  • indefinitely retain records about the development of policy, strategy and procedure;
  • retain reporting and investigation records for 99 years; and
  • retain training and development records for 45 years.

It is likely schools will need to adopt a Retention and Destruction Policy, as well as emphasise data security measures, to meet PROV standards. When considering recordkeeping practices, it is important to consider the impact on individuals’ privacy.

MO 1359 also requires:

  • school staff and volunteers to understand their obligations on information sharing and recordkeeping; and
  • the school governing authority ensures training for staff and volunteers includes guidance on those information sharing and recordkeeping obligations.

Online safety

Another new and distinct policy requirement of MO 1359 is that schools:

“develop and endorse a policy or statement on online conduct and online safety that is consistent with the child safety and wellbeing policy and practices and child safety code of conduct of the school.”

This echoes the growing focus on child safety in the online environment. Moores recently published some tips for improving online safety for schools and other organisations working with children. In February, Safer Internet Day drew attention to recent work by the eSafety Commissioner to tackle child sexual abuse, cyberbullying and image-based abuse.

Schools may be able to adapt current cyberbullying or ICT policies to also be the “policy or statement required”. It means these policies need to be imbued with child safety considerations, to align your schools’ approach to child safety in the online environment with other practices, policies and behavioural expectations.

How we can help

As education, child safety and privacy experts, Moores can help your school develop these new policy requirements ahead of 1 July 2022. We can also help you to review internal procedures and practices to ensure there is a holistic, and top-down, bottom up approach to child safety – which now, more than ever, includes recordkeeping and online safety considerations.

If you would like more information about online safety and privacy, you can watch the recording of our free webinar presented on 3 May 2022 for Privacy Awareness Week.

Contact us

Please contact us for more detailed and tailored help.

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