Surf Life Saving Australia Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to provide principles to guide all levels of SLSA in relation to the development and implementation of processes where electronic acceptances are required. It shall be read in conjunction with the SLSA IT Strategic Plan, IT&T Business Requirements and any other related IT documentation available from the National IT Manager.

When SLSA or a related body is developing a process whereby electronic acceptances may be required, this Policy will assist in ensuring that relevant legislative and other requirements are being met.

This Policy is formally issued by the Board of SLSA under Rule 39 of the SLSA Constitution.  This Policy is to be interpreted in accordance with the SLSA Constitution and is binding on SLSA, State Centers, Branches, Surf Clubs and all Members of SLSA.

Electronic Acceptances

The Policy applies to Electronic Acceptances.

For the purposes of this Policy, Electronic Acceptances mean transactions relating to SLSA or its members that occur in the electronic environment. Such transactions may include, but are not limited to, registrations, membership applications, renewals, offers or other electronic transactions. Electronic Acceptances may take place via email, internet, SMS, mobile phone, hand held device or other electronic methods.

This Policy shall apply, in relation to all Electronic Acceptances, to:

  1. the application developers or owners;
  2. both or all parties related to the transaction; and
  3. the operator or host of the application.

SLSA’s Policy for Electronic Acceptances

  1. SLSA as a user of Electronic Acceptances shall develop procedures that show that the record was completed by the member / consumer and also ensure that there is an electronic or paper document trail of the Electronic Acceptance. SLSA generally records electronic acceptances in the source database as its procedure.
  2. The Electronic Acceptances shall satisfy the requirement of ‘reliability’ and ‘appropriateness’ under applicable legislation. The electronic signature or method of acceptance used in Electronic Acceptances must:
    1. identify the person entering the transaction sufficiently for the purposes of that communication; and
    2. provide a level of security appropriate for the transaction.
  3. A reliable means of assuring the integrity of the information may involve processes which methodically record the information, register the information without omissions and protect the information from alteration.
  4. Where an Electronic Acceptance involves electronic completion or renewal of a membership form with terms and conditions, to comply with the legislation, the Electronic Acceptance should have an electronic signature that complies with (c) above.
  5. Where SLSA requires a consumer (either a member or non-member) to accept terms and conditions electronically for themselves or on behalf of any other person, SLSA shall ensure that it has implemented a method of identifying the consumer they are contracting with what is as reliable as is appropriate for the communication.  Such a method may be constituted by:
    1. providing consumers with membership numbers, passwords or PINs (personal identification numbers), so that by providing those details the consumer has identified themselves and has indicated their approval of the information they are communicating;
    2. providing a picture of a signature;
    3. ticking or checking a mandatory field or fields in the electronic form where the person answers relevant questions and whereby they confirm the identity details given and approve the method of provision and communication;
    4. in the case of renewal of membership, the member entering their details (such as their membership number and PIN) for themselves or someone else and then renewing their membership subject to their acceptance of the terms and conditions of membership;
    5. where the person accepting the terms and conditions is not a member, a reliable and appropriate method being used to identify that person. For example, the provision of personal details (such as credit card or license details or verification of a postal address); or
    6. the person, on acceptance of the terms and conditions, being issued with a confirmation number or code.  They may then be required to provide this information to evidence the fact they accepted the terms and conditions.
  6. In relation to the offer of certain terms and conditions on a web site or via other electronic means, SLSA shall provide members and other electronic contracting parties with accurate and easily accessible information that identifies SLSA and allows prompt, easy and effective communication with SLSA.
  7. At a minimum, the site / communication shall include:
    1. the organisation’s name, postal address and email address;
    2. any membership or registration with professional associations; and
    3. where a corporation’s website is used to conduct commercial transactions, it shall display its Australian Company Number or Australian Business Number.
  8. The site / communication shall also provide:
    1. information to allow the person to identify and correct any errors (for example, how to clear information without cancelling the transaction);
    2. information regarding the ‘technical steps’ involved;
    3. information to identify the point where the contract is formed (as clearly detailed in the ‘terms and conditions’);
    4. the details of any cancellation or cooling-off period;
    5. the details of any time limit for the offer;
    6. information regarding the minimum duration of the contract, including if SLSA or the relevant supplier is providing goods or services continuously (e.g. the membership or contract period);
    7. sufficient information regarding the terms, conditions and costs of a transaction to allow members / consumers to make informed decisions. The consumer shall provide any information online which they are obliged to provide offline by law or under any relevant code of practice that they are subject to; and
    8. clarification as to who is providing the goods or services (including the geographical and email address), and what the member / consumer is undertaking (as well as any costs).

Terms and Conditions under Electronic Acceptances

  1. Under the terms and conditions, the member / consumer shall be required to check a mandatory field to indicate that they have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions, before ticking or clicking an ‘accept’ button.  The page shall be designed in such a way that the member cannot ‘accept’ unless they tick or check that box, and until the terms and conditions have fully loaded onto the screen.  Organisations shall also include a term such as the following:
    “By clicking the ‘accept’ button you agree to these terms and conditions for yourself and also on behalf of     any other person included in the transaction.  By completing and submitting the following electronic     form you and any others included in the transaction are entering an agreement which, if accepted by us, will     result in a binding contract.”
  2. It is good practice to incorporate procedures that allow members / consumers to review and accept or reject the terms and conditions of the contract; identify and correct any errors; and confirm and accept or reject the offer.  It is also good practice to offer three buttons: ‘submit’, ‘clear’ and ‘cancel’.  For instance, the ‘clear’ button would allow the member / consumer to correct any errors.
  3. The terms and conditions shall be in a format that may be printed or saved.
  4. It is good practice to provide the member / consumer an acknowledgment page and send an acknowledgement email.  This shall not confirm the contract; rather, it shall confirm the form has been received and is being processed.  It is beneficial to have the member / consumer click a button on the acknowledgement page to indicate they have read the acknowledgement. It is also good practice to provide the member / consumer with a reference number at this point so they may contact SLSA or the relevant supplier regarding the submitted form.  SLSA or the relevant supplier may provide for a cooling off period, following the member or consumer’s acceptance, within which the member / consumer may cancel the contract.

Miscellaneous

  1. In relation to the recording of date and time, best practice is to time and date-stamp the acceptance.  Although most computer systems will automatically insert the date and time, these should be inserted to record the date and time in the place from where the acknowledgment is being sent and to overcome any inaccuracy in timekeeping by the computer system.
  2. In relation to any transaction where parental consent is required (i.e. if the member / consumer is under the age of 18 at the time of the Electronic Acceptance), it is not advisable that this consent be obtained using entirely electronic means as there is no method of guaranteeing the identity of the person who enters a contract entirely by way of an electronic transaction and there is no way of guaranteeing parental consent via an electronic transaction.

For enquiries please contact:

National IT Manager Surf Life Saving Australia 789 Botany Road Rosebery NSW 2018 Ph: 02 9215 8000