Right to information

We publish a large volume of materials which we provide free of charge.

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), certain information is required by law to be available on our website, free of charge.

This is called "open access information" and includes:

  • policy documents and tabled documents
  • agency information guide
  • disclosure log of access applications
  • register of government contracts
  • record of open access information that has not been made available because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Under the GIPA Act, there are 4 ways in which the Department of Customer Service can make information available:

  1. Mandatory proactive release of open access information: The open access information discussed above will be disclosed on an agency's website, free of charge.
  2. Authorised proactive release of other government information: Each agency in the Department of Customer Service cluster will make certain other information available to the public in addition to the open access information published on its website.
  3. Informal request: Some information can be requested free of charge, without the need for a formal access application, unless it is determined that one is required.
  4. Access application: A $30.00 application fee applies. Processing charges may also apply.

How to access information

There are several ways you can access information:

Informal application

The Department of Customer Service, like all Government agencies, is encouraged to release information to the public in an informal manner where possible.

You are encouraged to search our website for any information you may require, and if you can't find it, then contact a Right to Information Advisor at gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au.

Formal access application

When requesting information which is not publicly available, please apply online here.

Exemptions

There are specific public interest considerations against disclosure that an agency can consider when deciding whether to release certain information. These include where disclosure of the information could prejudice:

  • responsible and effective government
  • law enforcement and security
  • individual rights, judicial processes and natural justice
  • business interests
  • environment, culture, economy and other matters
  • secrecy and exemption provisions in other laws, including Commonwealth and interstate laws.

Fees

We charge an application fee of $30 and, where applicable, processing fees may also apply. An advance deposit of a processing charge may be required.

If you're seeking access to personal information about you, your $30 application fee includes 20 hours of processing time. If the processing time exceeds 20 hours, charges of $30 per hour will apply. We will contact you before proceeding or continuing at $30 per hour if we think the processing costs will be significant.

If you're seeking access to information other than your own personal information, your $30 application fee includes one hour of processing time. If the processing time exceeds one hour, charges of $30 per hour will apply.

The fees payable may be reduced in certain circumstances, such as when an applicant is suffering financial hardship or when there is a demonstrated public interest in releasing the information.

A fee is not charged for information which is released informally under section 8 of the GIPA Act.

Concessions

We have discretion under section 127 of the GIPA Act to waive, reduce or refund fees in appropriate cases.

A $15 concession applies for processing charges where an applicant can certify they:

  • hold a Pensioner Concession Card
  • are a full time student
  • represent a not for profit organisation
  • are able to demonstrate financial hardship, or
  • are able to show that disclosure of the information they seek is in the public interest. The guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner will be applied in determining if the information is of special benefit to the public generally.

Other instances where we may waive, reduce or refund fees include:

  • where there has been a significant delay in dealing with an application
  • where the agency decides to publicly release the information requested by the applicant
  • where the agency is satisfied that disclosure of the information supports the aims and objectives of the legislation administered by the agency
  • where the applicant is a participant in the Lifetime Care and Support scheme.

If an access application is not decided in time (usually 20 working days), any application fee will be refunded and no processing charge will be imposed.

Processing time

Section 57(1) of the GIPA Act states that a decision must be provided within 20 working days from the receipt of the application. This can be extended by 10 working days (to a maximum of 15 days) to enable us to undertake third party consultation or to retrieve archived records. The decision period can also be extended by agreement with the applicant.

Disclosure log

Our disclosure log records details of government information released in response to formal access applications made under the GIPA Act, except applications for personal information about any individual and applications where factors particular to the applicant were considered in the application. With the applicant's consent, we disclose information that may be of interest to other members of the public. It will give a description of the information released and a statement as to whether any of the information is now available from the agency to other members of the public. Where possible, a link to the relevant documents will be made available.

Our disclosure log will be updated on a regular basis.

Policy document register

The Policy document register under the GIPA Act contains a list of documents listed in section 23 of the GIPA Act that we are required to proactively release under section 6. NSW Government Departments have an obligation to proactively release documents used by the agency in connection with its functions that are likely to affect the rights, privileges, obligations and detriments of the public.

Agency information guide

The agency information guide under the GIPA Act is a document that outlines the structure and functions of an agency, and highlights those functions (ie policies) that might affect members of the public. It also specifies what arrangements exist to enable members of the public to participate in the formation of agency policy, identifies the kinds of information held by the agency, and identifies the kinds of information that are made publicly available free of charge and those kinds for which a charge is imposed.

Register of contracts

Part 3 Division 5 of the GIPA Act sets out an agency's obligations regarding the publishing of contracts worth $150,000 or more. See our register of contracts at NSW eTendering.

Privacy and health privacy legislation

The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act), and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act) contain a number of provisions regarding the collection, use, disclosure and security of personal and health information as well as the rights of individuals to access and (if appropriate) amend their personal and health information held by NSW government agencies, including the Department of Customer Service.

Further information about the PPIP Act or HRIP Act, and our obligations under those Acts can be obtained from the Privacy Contact Officer on 13 77 88 or email to gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au

Access to your personal and/or health information

As an applicant, you have a right to request access to your personal and/or health information that is held by the Department of Customer Service. You can ask us to provide you with access by email to gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au

You are entitled to have access to this information without excessive delay or cost. You may be required to pay a fee for access to some health information.

Internal review of decisions

You have a right to request an internal review of a decision in relation to your application for access by the Department of Customer Service. A fee of $40 applies, except when the review arises because the application was not decided within time or the review is recommended by the Information Commissioner. No processing charges apply for internal reviews. To request an internal review or if you have any other questions relating to privacy, please contact the Privacy Contact Officer by email at gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au

Information requests

For specific information not available on our site, please email gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au

Processing of requests can take up to six weeks.

Contact

For further information about your right to access information held by the Department of Customer Service, please contact a Right to Information Officer by email at gipa@customerservice.nsw.gov.au

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