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Data Protection Policy

Statement of Social Welfare Department’s Data Protection Policy, Practices, Kinds of Personal Data Held and Main Purposes for Using Personal Data.

Policy and Practices

The Department’s Data Protection Policy is to comply with the obligations under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (“PDPO”). The main points of the Department’s policy and general practices are summarized as follows:-

  1. Personal data should be collected by lawful and fair means for lawful purposes directly related to the functions and activities of the Department;
  2. The data so collected should be necessary, adequate but not excessive in relation to the purposes;
  3. Unless an exemption is applicable, on or before collecting data from the data subject, he/she should be informed of the purpose(s) for which the data is to be used; and the classes of persons to whom the data may be transferred;
  4. On or before the first use of the data which is collected from the data subject for the purpose(s) for which it was collected, the data subject should be informed of his/her rights to request access to and correction of the personal data; and the post title and address of the officer who is to handle any such request made to the Department;
  5. All reasonably practicable steps should be taken to ensure that personal data collected or retained is accurate for the purposes for which the personal data is or is to be used;
  6. Personal data will not be kept longer than is necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes (including any directly related purposes) for which the data is or is to be used, unless the retention is governed by legislation or it is in the public interest, for instance, historical (archival) interest, not to erase the data;
  7. Unless prescribed consent has been obtained from the data subject, the personal data should only be used, disclosed or transferred for the purposes or any directly related purposes for which it was collected or where it is allowed under the PDPO;
  8. All reasonably practicable steps should be taken to ensure that personal data held is protected against unauthorised or accidental access, processing, erasure, loss or other use;
  9. Data subject will be allowed access to and correction of personal data relating to him/her subject to the provisions and exemptions of the PDPO. Data subject is not entitled to access data which is not personal data or personal data not belonging to him/her. Access to personal data as provided for in the PDPO means obtaining a copy of his/her data rather than a copy of the document containing his/her personal data. Furthermore, the PDPO requires that in complying with the request, the names or other identifying particulars of individuals other than the data subject should be omitted or otherwise not disclosed. Payment of photocopying charge is required for the supply of a copy of the personal data.
Kinds of Personal Data Held by Social Welfare Department and Main Purposes for Using them
  1. Employment-related data for the processing of various applications under the prevailing government regulations and ordinances and for staff management functions in terms of training, posting, promotion and discipline, and personal data of candidates applying for appointments in the Department;
  2. Records kept by different service units of the Department for the provision of appropriate assistance or service which is relevant to the needs of the data subject, including monitoring and review of services, handling complaints related to the services provided to the data subject, conducting of research and surveys, preparing statistics and discharging statutory duties. The scope of data kept on data subjects will vary depending on their needs. In general, they may include some or all of the following :-
     (i)   Personal particulars, e.g. name, Hong Kong Identity Card No., sex, date of birth, age, address;


    Family circumstances e.g. marital status, family background;
     (iii)   Educational background and employment details;
     (iv) Financial circumstances and living conditions;
     (v) Information on health;
     (vi)  Opinions and assessments on the data subjects in relation to the applications / provision of welfare  service; and
     (vii)  Others e.g. any criminal conviction, record of absence from Hong Kong;
  3. Personal particulars and qualifications of trainees from non-governmental organisations, social work students and fieldwork instructors from training institutions, trained social work personnel, other personnel who are not SWD staff (including trainers, clinical psychologists and clinical psychologists-in-training) and applicants of Social Work Training Fund are kept for the purposes of organising training courses for staff of the Department and non-governmental organisations and field work placements for social work students, manpower planning and processing applications for Social Work Training Fund;
  4. Personal particulars, qualifications and employment records of candidates for appointment to social work posts in civil service or subvented welfare services are kept for assessment of their social work qualifications on behalf of other departments or subvented agencies concerned;
  5. Personal particulars, qualifications and employment records of staff in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the conventional mode of subventions are kept for purposes of vetting of qualifications for appointment, calculation of subventions in respect of personal emoluments allocation for each NGO;
  6. Personal particulars and curriculum vitae of volunteers are kept for purposes of arranging volunteer service, for consideration of appointment and re-appointment to serve advisory Boards and Committees and for consideration of nominations for honours and awards;
  7. Personal particulars of persons who apply for public subscription permits for holding charitable fund-raising events in public places are kept for assessing the applications;
  8. Where an application has been submitted for naming an existing or planned welfare project funded by Lotteries Fund after a donor, the personal particulars of the donor are kept for assessing the application for approval; and
  9. Personal data of individuals who have made enquiries or lodged complaints to the Department is kept for handling the enquiries/complaints and for statistical purposes.



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