Agency Information Guide (AIG) last reviewed October 2022
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act) gives citizens an enforceable right to access government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. To assist the public, each agency publishes a guide to the information held and how to access it.
The following is the Department of Customer Service (DCS) Agency Information Guide (AIG). Where appropriate we have provided links to documents, reports, data and other information throughout this AIG.
This AIG is reviewed regularly and at least every 12 months.
The Department of Customer Service (DCS) is a service provider, regulator and central agency of government. The role of the department is to help:
- establish the customer at the centre of all programs and initiatives across the NSW Government.
- deliver a more consistent and efficient digital experience with government.
- use data and behavioural insights to drive customer service improvements.
- engage more effectively with the people of NSW.
DCS was established on 1 July 2019, and comprises more than 30 agencies, entities and business units that provide regulatory functions and deliver services to the people and businesses of NSW.
Find out more about DCS's structure, agencies and functions.
We have eight core divisions which carry out our functions:
- Better Regulation Division (BRD) – develops and implements regulations for:
- fair trading
- consumer protection
- building & construction
- work, health & safety.
- State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) – regulates three statutory insurance schemes in NSW to ensure insurance supports road users, workers and homeowners.
- Revenue NSW – administers state revenue, taxation, fines and debt collection programs.
- Digital.NSW – drives digital transformation, spatial and surveying services, ICT procurement and shared services and leads the government's digital agenda.
- Customer, Delivery and Transformation (CDT) – leads the transformation of customer-focused service delivery across government with the Customer Experience Unit, the Behavioural Insights Unit, the NSW Data Analytics Centre, and data.nsw. CDT is also the custodian of the NSW Government brand, advertising and communications.
- Corporate Services – provides a range of specialised services to support the work of the department.
- Office of the Secretary – administers information access, people and culture, strategy and policy, Cabinet and ministerial services.
- Service NSW – delivers customer-facing transactions on behalf of all government agencies, providing a single point of contact for customers for licensing and transactional services.
Note: Service NSW is considered a separate agency under the GIPA Act and therefore is required to publish their own Agency Information Guide on the Service NSW website.
As a regulator and service provider for the NSW Government, individuals across NSW are affected by how we perform our functions. DCS employees must act in the public interest bound by the values described in our Code of Conduct, being:
DCS has many ways you can provide feedback. You can make a comment or suggestion, participate in formulating department policies or functions, or raise issues you feel are of concern to you or the public at large. You can do this:
- through formal feedback channels such as the NSW Government Have Your Say portal.
- by contacting the Division or Office's relevant head, or the Secretary of the Department of Customer Service.
Our business areas may, on occasion, provide an opportunity for the public to make submissions on discussion papers, blueprints and reports. When we seek submissions, we outline how you can participate on the relevant website or on the NSW Governments Have Your Say portal.
You may provide feedback on the functions and policies of the department. In particular, you may give feedback about:
- the quality of the service received from a staff member
- the conduct of a staff member
- a decision made by a business area
- a policy or procedure.
You can provide feedback by email, letter, telephone or in-person at a Service NSW Centre. Contact information for each business area of the department is available on the relevant website.
Additionally, some business areas within DCS use Feedback Assist. This online tool ensures there is 'no wrong door' for customer feedback across government.
We developed this tool in direct response to customer survey data telling us that customers are more satisfied if they can readily provide feedback and we respond appropriately to their feedback.
We encourage customers to provide feedback via the Feedback Assist widget located on the relevant website. Feedback received through this tool is tracked and reported and is generally used to improve how we provide government services.
If a complaint is serious or complex, it is generally best to put it in writing.
Subscribe to our content
Each business area advertises and promotes public participation in current policy development, review and reform processes.
The best way to participate is to subscribe to our mailing lists, newsletters and social media pages, available at the following links:
You can also subscribe to DCS media alerts and monitor our "have your say" websites. Following is a list of useful public participation contact points:
- NSW Government Have Your Say
- NSW Fair Trading consultations
- SafeWork NSW Have Your Say
- Liquor & Gaming NSW consultations
- NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage contact form
- SIRA consultations
- Revenue NSW contact form
- Digital.NSW get involved
Complaints and feedback
In addition to the Feedback Assist widget mentioned above, we invite you to submit your questions, complaints or feedback about any of our agencies, programs, policies or reforms. You can contact us by email, letter, telephone or in-person at a Service NSW Centre.
To contact us, please visit the DCS Contact us page.
Generally, our agencies also have their own online contact forms:
- keep up to date by viewing SafeWork's safety alerts
- get involved in their latest initiatives and subscribing to SafeWork Wrap.
- Visit SafeWork’s customer feedback page.
NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- contact SIRA or leave your feedback via the contact us page.
- contact Digital.NSW via the Get involved page.
Divisions across DCS keep records associated with their core functions in regulation and the provision of services. These records may include a person's personal information that is collected, stored, used and disclosed in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act).
What kind of government information do we have?
DCS has a strong focus on open government and is committed to making government information open, accessible and transparent for the people of NSW. Our commitment to these three fundamental principles ensure a system of government that is accountable and effective:
1. strengthening access to information for the public
2. assisting collaboration on policy and service delivery
3. making government agencies more consultative and participative.
The department’s open access information is publicly available information (as provided for in sections 6 and 18 of the GIPA Act). All open access information is available under the webpage for the relevant business area and will be uploaded in stages on the nsw.gov.au website. This information is free of charge and includes the following:
- policy documents
- disclosure log
- register of government contracts
- proactive release register
- tabled documents
- Agency Information Guide
- records of information that are not publicly available
Open access information also includes the following (as prescribed by Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment Regulation 2010):
- a list of the department’s major assets, other than landholdings, appropriately classified and highlighting significant acquisitions during the previous financial year
- the total number and total value of properties disposed of during the previous financial year
- the guarantee of service
- the code of conduct.
A range of publicly released information is made readily available at the following:
- nsw.gov.au and Data NSW bring together government datasets and information published by NSW Government agencies in a consolidated, searchable format. To find DCS information, search for “Department of Customer Service” or one of our entities under “organisations” or in the “Published by” searches. DCS business areas also proactively release statistical information on their individual websites.
- Documents we table in Parliament are published on the Parliament of New South Wales website.
- DCS tenders and contracts awarded are published in accordance with the GIPA Act and searchable on NSW eTendering.
- The DCS disclosure log is a record of information that the department has released that we think could also be of interest to others. It sets out details about whether that information is currently available and how to access it. This log is regularly updated as we release additional information under the GIPA Act.
If you have difficulties locating information that should be released proactively, or you feel should be made available free of charge, please contact the DCS GIPA Hotline on 02 9219 3700 or email email@example.com.
The proactive release of information is a discretionary power to release information in any manner considered appropriate, free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost (sections 7 & 72 of the GIPA Act).
We promote the release of newly published information, which may be of interest to the public and have programs in place within each Division for the proactive release of information. The information we may release in this way includes (and is not limited to):
- internal procedures
- fact sheets
- data and statistical information
- any other information which may be of interest to the public.
How to access information we hold under the GIPA Act
The GIPA Act provides the public with a right to access government information.
The Department of Customer Service has three GIPA teams handling information access requests for the following divisions:
- Revenue NSW
- Digital NSW (including Geographical Names Board, Board of Surveying and Spatial Services and NSW Telco Authority)
- Customer, Delivery and Transformation (including Births Deaths and Marriages and the NSW Data Analytics Centre)
- Office of the Secretary
- People & Culture
- Corporate Services
- Service NSW
- NSW Fair Trading
- SafeWork NSW
- Long Service Corporation
- Office of the Registrar General
- Subsidence Advisory
- Professional Standards Authority
- Office of the Building Commissioner
- Financial Counselling Trust Fund
- Rental Bond Board
- Statutory Insurance schemes
The GIPA Act authorises the release of government information in response to an informal request unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure (section 8 of the GIPA Act).
If we haven't freely published the information you seek as “open access information”, we may be able to release it to you without the need for a formal access application. We generally provide the following types of information in response to an informal request:
- your personal information
- copies of correspondence sent to us by you
- applications and supporting documents sent to us by you
- insolvency information of companies if you are an insolvency practitioner
- documents such as customer transaction database notes that contain only personal information about you
- documents that may have already been made public in some other way
- other reasonable requests for release of information that would not raise any potential public interest or privacy concerns.
This form of release does not require a fee or an application form. Information may be released with deletions, released subject to reasonable conditions, or released in a preferred form. We may impose conditions on the use or disclosure of information that we release in response to an informal request.
If you would like to make an informal request for information, please email the relevant GIPA team.
If the information you are looking for is not published by us or available by informal request, you may wish to make a formal access application in writing under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). Formal access applications are subject to application fees and processing charges. We will not release information if there is an overriding public interest against its disclosure.
You can make a formal application by completing a Government Information Public Access (GIPA) application form available from the relevant GIPA team’s webpage.
You may seek a review of a formal decision under section 5 of the GIPA Act.
More information about your review rights under the GIPA Act can be found in a fact sheet from the Information and Privacy Commission. You can also contact the IPC on 1800 472 679.
Application fee and processing charges
Formal access application fee - $30
You may be asked to pay a fee of $30 an hour to process your application. Some applicants may be entitled to a 50% reduction of processing charges (discount does not apply to the application fee) on the grounds of personal hardship or because the information sought is of special interest to the public.
Internal review application fee - $40
Information which may not be disclosed
You cannot access information excluded under Schedule 1 and 2 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, such as information related to the complaint handling and investigative functions conferred by or under any other Act, or Cabinet or Executive Council information. That information is “excluded information” under the GIPA Act.
For some information categories, while you may apply for access, there is a presumption against release. See the list of categories set out at Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
You can find out more about your right to information by visiting the Information Privacy Commissioner NSW website.
Information and Privacy Commission
The Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) promotes and protects information access rights in NSW and provides information, advice, assistance and training for agencies and individuals on information access matters.
To learn more about citizen rights and agency obligations visit the IPC website.