The purpose of project agreements is to help ensure that integrated datasets are managed and used in accordance with data custodian requirements, protecting privacy and ensuring that data is not likely to enable the identification (or re-identification) of individuals and businesses. Project agreements set out the terms and conditions that accompany the final project approval.
An agreement may take the form of a contract, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or other arrangement as appropriate for the parties concerned. Usually, an MoU is used when the parties involved are both Commonwealth agencies and a contract is used when making an agreement with a private sector organisation or there is reason to want a legally binding contract with a state or territory agency.
There are a range of different contractual models that could be used for the project agreements. For example:
1. two project agreements: one between all data custodians and the integrating authority and another between the integrating authority and each data users; or
2. a single project agreement between all data custodians, the integrating authority and the data user(s); or
3. separate agreements between the integrating authority and each data custodian (providing the conditions are consistent), and between the integrating authority and each data user.
A data custodian’s authorised representative may also enter into an agreement with an integrating authority, noting the data custodian will be afforded an opportunity to review this agreement prior to its signing.
When an entity has more than one role (for example, the data custodian and the integrating authority), appropriate internal governance arrangements and official project plans/documentation, rather than an agreement, should be in place.
The nature of the chosen contractual model and the content of the agreements for a project should be determined at the discretion of the parties concerned. Legal advice should be sought if clarification is needed on the contractual model to use or the content of the agreements.
To assist in the preparation of agreements, some sample agreements (based on the two project agreements model above) have been provided in this guide.
For more information about steps in finalising project details see:
- Outsourcing or working in partnership
- Human Research Ethics Committee approvals
- Privacy Impact Assessments
- Data management
- Drafting project agreements
For more information on the role of integrating authorities see:
- Drafting project agreements
- Manage datasets for the duration of data integration projects
- A protective policy environment
- Technical infrastructure and expertise
- Technical resources for integrating authorities
- The separation principle
- Transparency in operations
For more information on drafting project agreements see:
- Project agreements - Data custodians and integrating authorities
- Project agreements - Integrating authorities and data users
- Sample agreements