Notice and consent

Notice and consent

Last updated 4 February 2021
Last updated 4 February 2021

Guidance and tools for TEOs to inform people and gain their consent to collect and use their personal information.

Transparency in privacy

Core principles

  • Before we collect information from people, we should be clear about what we are collecting and why we need it. When we understand this ourselves, we are better able to explain this to the people we are collecting information from.
  • We have developed some principles to help you keep people fully informed when you are collecting their information. These high-level principles are to help you ensure you are providing clear and detailed information to people. 
  • Where practicable, you should gain consent from individuals when you wish to collect and use their information – particularly for the purpose of learner analytics. Consent means offering individuals real choice and control. Genuine consent should put individuals in charge, build trust and engagement, and enhance your reputation.
  • Keep these principles in mind when you are developing consent processes for each piece of work you do.

Principles of notice and consent

People are informed before giving consent

  • Individuals should understand what personal information will be/has been collected, how it will be used or shared, and for what purposes.
  • They should understand how long their consent is given for and agree to when consent starts and finishes.

Consent is voluntary

  • Consent should be opt-in rather than opt-out (do not gain consent using pre-ticked boxes or any other method of consent by default).
  • People must also have a realistic choice regarding whether or not they provide consent. When considering whether someone has a choice to provide consent, TEC must consider the likely impact on them if they don’t provide consent. The person must also understand this.

Consent is current and specific

  • The individual must provide a very clear and specific statement of consent.
  • Consent forms should be adapted for specific collection and use.
  • There is an easy way of withdrawing consent, and that is clearly communicated to them.

People are able to understand and communicate their consent

  • The individual or their guardian must be legally capable of understanding the nature of a consent decision, including the effect of giving or withholding consent, forming a view based on reasoned judgement and how to communicate their decision.
  • Issues that could affect an individual’s capacity to consent include:
    • age
    • physical or intellectual disability
    • a temporary or ongoing condition which may affect capacity
    • limited understanding of English.

Note: You should seek advice if you are unsure that the person has the capacity to provide informed consent. You should also seek advice about providing assistance such as translations into other languages, or accessible formats (eg, Braille, large type, audio, etc).

Consent forms

Each time you carry out work that requires the collection of information from people (such as learner analytics), consider whether to gain informed consent from the individual(s) you will be working with.

Decide whether you can use an existing consent form or need to develop a new form. It is important to consider whether the consent form covers all the information needed to fully inform people about the proposed collection. 

Consent form explainer

This is an example of the information you should provide in a consent form to explain why you are collecting personal information. The six headings in the example are the minimum that should be included in your consent forms to ensure you meet the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993.

We have added some example text under each heading to help you with what you could include. 

Learner analytics communication example

Below is an example of how you can tell students specifically about learner analytics.

The paragraph is taken from the Privacy notice template. You can include it in the notice, but you should also seek specific consent from each individual to undertake learner analytics.

Learner analytics

With your permission, we use the information from your enrolment application to help you succeed, improve your experience at [TEO] and complete your qualification. We analyse information about you is analysed to identify areas where you may need additional support from us. 

Through data analysis, we may offer such support as referring you to student services, providing academic advice or regularly checking in to help you get the most out of your course. We follow strict ethical guidelines to ensure that we treat your data with care. 

The information we analyse may include your: previous education records, date of birth, next of kin, gender, ethnicity, addresses, passport, and birth or marriage certificates. If you keep allowing it, we will keep collecting information about you as you continue to study here (such as lesson attendance and academic results) and with each year’s enrolment application. You can opt out at any time.

Consent scenarios

Consent needs may differ and will depend on what information you are collecting and how you are collecting it. The scenarios below will help to explain consent generally, and the types of situations it will arise in.

Scenario 1

You are developing a case study about a learner which you intend to publish on the TEO website.  You propose to collect detailed information from the learner including their study history, career history and aspirations for the future, and imagery or video for the website.  In this scenario, as you are collecting identifiable information about an individual, you need to ensure the learner is fully aware of what and why you are collecting, and how it will be used and stored. Use a detailed consent form and information sheet in this situation.

Scenario 2

You are conducting a number of focus group sessions with approximately 15 tertiary-level students in each, to gather thoughts on proposed changes to the tertiary education system. You only intend to collect general feedback from the group, as written notes. Comments won’t be attributed to specific people. In this scenario, you need to fully inform the focus group participants about the piece of work and what you are collecting. You could develop an information sheet that outlines key information about the work and how information will be collected and used. You could also develop a sign-in sheet with check boxes to confirm participants have read the information sheet and agree to participate.

Scenario 3

You are standing at the railway station with a clipboard and asking passers-by whether they agree or disagree with a proposed change to the location of your TEO. You are recording the answers as a tick in a yes or no column. In this scenario, you don’t need to obtain consent, as it is not possible to identify individuals. If you are asked why you are collecting this information and what will happen to it, you should be able to provide this information and answer any additional questions.

Scenario 4

You are doing a piece of work which will assess outcomes for students with learning disabilities. You will run focus groups for learners and young people with learning disabilities. No comments will be attributed to specific people as you only intend to collect general feedback from the group, and this will be written notes.  You may need to sit down with each individual to discuss the piece of work and ensure they fully understand what is being asked of them. If you are not confident that they can provide fully informed consent, then you should engage with their guardian or not collect their information.

Regardless of the group of participants you are working with, it is always important for you to assess whether those participants are capable of providing fully informed consent.  In some situations, you may need to discuss consent with each individual, especially when working with persons with disabilities or youth.

Where to store your consent forms

Consent forms should be stored locally with the content that you have collected.  This will make it simpler to revisit the consent if required to determine if your use of the information is still appropriate. It also allows other people to readily retrieve the consent form in future.

If you have any questions about the process, or what type of consent may be required for a piece of work, or would like some assistance in developing a consent form, please email with ‘EDUMIS - organisation name - Analysing student data' in the subject line.