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This factsheet is to provide information to public housing tenants about virtual client service visits (CSVs).

What is a virtual client service visit?

A virtual client service visit (CSV) is similar to a standard CSV, with video calls over FaceTime or WhatsApp Messenger applications being used to complete the CSV instead of DCJ Housing physically coming to your home to visit you. The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Housing are using these applications because people understand them, trust them and use them to connect with family, friends and colleagues.

Virtual CSVs are an opportunity for DCJ Housing to check in with tenants and keep up to date with their tenancy management needs without physically attending their property.

It’s important that tenants understand that participating in a video call over FaceTime or WhatsApp Messenger applications will use data on their mobile phone or internet plan. DCJ is not responsible for the data that tenants use in the completion of a virtual CSV.

What can tenants expect of DCJ Housing Staff when conducting a virtual client service visit?

  • Tenants are not required to participate in a virtual CSV. If tenants do not wish to participate in a virtual CSV they can advise DCJ Housing and a time can be scheduled for a face to face CSV to be conducted.
  • The video call being used to complete a virtual CSV can be terminated by the tenant at any point throughout the process.
  • Client Service Officers (CSOs) will be limited in the use of video call functions and will not utilise any chat or file transferring functioning in the FaceTime or WhatsApp Messenger applications. This is as a result of the obligations of DCJ under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Protection Act 2002 (HRIP Act).
  • CSOs will not record or take pictures or screenshots during the video call, as this is an offence under the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.
  • If tenants send DCJ Housing an image of their property, it may be used for the purposes associated with the CSV and their tenancy generally.
  • CSOs will take notes based on what tenants advise during the virtual CSV, just as would take place during a standard CSV.

DCJ Housing staff will treat all tenants with courtesy and respect, in accordance with the DCJ Code of Ethical Conduct.

What DCJ Housing staff expect of tenants when conducting a virtual client service visit?

  • Tenants will not record the video call. This is an offence under the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.
  • Tenants will be asked to walk CSOs through their entire home, including yards and garages/sheds and raise any concerns.
  • CSOs may ask tenants to take photos after the video call and email them to the local DCJ Housing office.
  • Tenants must inform other occupants within their premises that a virtual CSV will be conducted at the agreed time and date.
  • Tenants will also treat CSOs with courtesy and respect during a virtual CSV.

Only the video function of WhatsApp Messenger and FaceTime is to be used during the scheduled appointment. Tenants must not use any chat or file transfer function to send photos or to contact their CSO.

Further information on CSVs generally can be found on the DCJ website.

If you’re using WhatsApp Messenger for the virtual client service visit, you must be aware of the following:

  • DCJ does not have oversight of the security within the system. The vendor claims to have end-to-end encryption as their security control, but we cannot guarantee the security of the program or the information/data.
  • WhatsApp Messenger, now owned by Facebook, is a free service. Facebook profits from this service by profiling the users to enable targeted advertising on Facebook. Detailed information on how this profiling occurs is not available. DCJ has no control or responsibility over this.
  • Find out how personal information will be collected, used, disclosed and retained by WhatsApp Messenger by reading their privacy policy.

What if I have further questions regarding this?

If you have any questions regarding the virtual client service visit process please contact your CSO at your local office.

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Last updated: 23 Oct 2020