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First adopted: October 2020
Last revised: April 2023
Next scheduled review: Q1, 2023/24
The Department of Communities and Justice (the Department) has adopted this Agency Information Guide (AIG) in accordance with section 20 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (the GIPA Act).
The AIG seeks to promote the objects set out in section 3 of the GIPA Act by informing members of the public about:
The Department is the lead agency for the Stronger Communities Cluster and was created on 1 July 2019, to replace the former Department of Family and Community Services and the Department of Justice. The creation of the Stronger Communities Cluster has consolidated NSW Government services aimed at achieving safe, just, inclusive, and resilient communities.
A chart setting out the structure of the Stronger Communities Cluster, including the executive agencies, separate statutory agencies, office holders, and independent bodies which operate within the Cluster, is available online.
The Department delivers a range of services, including but not limited to, the following:
Working with other agencies in the Stronger Communities Cluster means the Department can deliver services with a unified and collaborative approach. By consolidating these functions, there is now a greater focus on prevention and early intervention, faster responses, more seamless operations, less duplication of effort, and better outcomes overall.
The Department is committed to improving outcomes for:
The Department is also responsible for delivering the Premier’s Priorities, including:
The delivery of these priorities is guided by the DCJ Strategic Direction 2020-2024.
The Department is led by a principal officer, the Secretary, and eight (8) Commissioners and Deputy Secretaries who head each of the Department’s eight (8) divisions. A number of independent statutory office holders are also supported by the Department.
The Department’s executive structure is available online.
Divisions of the Department
The functions of each of the Department’s divisions and how those functions affect members of the public are described in Table 1.
Table 1: Functions of the Department’s divisions
|Division||Functions and how they affect members of the public|
|Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery||
Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery (CTSD) includes:
This division manages and supports the functions of court and tribunal registries in NSW, which are managed by registrars and presided over by independent judges, magistrates, or tribunal members. Services are also provided by the Office of the Sheriff, including court and tribunal security, the administration of the jury system, and the enforcement of certain civil debts and fines.
The responsible management and support of courts and tribunals are central to the administration of justice in NSW. The operation of courts and tribunals and the decisions of judicial officers, tribunal members, and registrars affect persons who have direct contact with courts and tribunals, including:
However, these functions also have broader indirect effects upon members of the public by ensuring that courts and tribunals function effectively, remain independent, impartial, and fair arbiters of legal disputes and criminal cases, and facilitate the maintenance of a democratic system of Government in NSW.
CTSD also provides services to victims of crime in NSW through its Victims Services directorate. Victims Services provides access to counselling and financial assistance to victims of violent crime through the Victims Support Scheme, supports the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, and promotes the Charter of Victims Rights.
Additionally, the Office of Veterans Affairs manages State-based programs for the commemoration of veterans and providing services to assist veterans.
|Corrective Services NSW||
Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) is comprised of the following specialist subdivisions:
These business areas work together to:
The delivery of these services contributes to achieving the Premier’s Priority to reduce reoffending and enhance community safety. The effects of these functions are not limited to persons in direct contact with CSNSW, but are wide-reaching and impact the broader community by seeking to responsibly manage correctional centres and supervise offenders in the community, support members of the community affected by criminal behaviour, and support offenders and their families to reintegrate offenders into the community and reduce the risk of reoffending.
|Child Protection and Permanency, District and Youth Justice Services||
Child Protection and Permanency, District and Youth Justice Services (CPPDYJS) provides a broad range of services relating to children and young persons.
The Department’s child protection functions are primarily set out and governed by the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).
CPPDYJS deliver child protection casework services, working with families and carers of children, other agencies, and non-government organisations (NGOs) to identify, investigate and mitigate risks to the welfare of children in NSW, and facilitate pathways to ensure children and young persons at risk have permanent and stable accommodation. These functions also include receiving, assessing, and investigating reports of children and young persons at risk of significant harm, and making direct contact with families, carers, children and NGOs to address potential risks and provide support services.
These functions have wide-reaching effects by seeking to ensure that children and young persons in NSW receive the necessary care, support, opportunities, and stability that will allow them to reach their full potential.
Further information about these functions is available at: Children and Families.
Six youth justice centres (YJCs) are operated by the Department across the State which accommodate young offenders on remand or subject to control orders under the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW). YJCs offer a range of services such as psychology services to support young offenders in custody, while external agencies also provide detainees with education and health services in custody to support their wellbeing, development, and eventual reintegration into the community.
There are also 35 community offices administered by YJNSW which provide community-based intervention for young offenders, including supervising young offenders on parole or other community-based orders, and facilitating Youth Justice Conferencing.
YJNSW’s functions align with four key focus areas:
These functions affect members of the public broadly by seeking to ensure the safety of the community against criminal behaviour, supporting young offenders and their families to appropriately address offending behaviour and criminogenic risk factors, and reduce the risk of reoffending or continuing to offend into adult life.
|Strategy, Policy and Commissioning||
Strategy, Policy and Commissioning (SPC) provides policy and strategic support, and data analytic services, to the entire Department. The services provided are broad, including leading the development and implementation of policies and strategies relating to:
Data analytic services are provided by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) and Family and Community Services Insights Analysis and Research (FACSIAR). These business areas provide research and evaluation support, cost modelling, and reporting and operational reviews to identify trends and support evidence-based decision making across the Department.
This division also provides oversight over Department-funded service providers and contracts with the private sector to ensure that services provided to the public by NGOs and private sector businesses on behalf of the Department are delivered in accordance with relevant policies and standards.
SPC’s functions are primarily exercised in support of the functions of other divisions of the Department. As such, SPC’s functions indirectly affect members of the public by informing and supporting service delivery, strategy, and policy across other areas of the Department.
|Housing, Disability and District Services||
Housing, Disability and District Services (HDDS) exercises a range of functions in the areas of housing and disability services.
HDDS offers a number of housing assistance products, including:
The NSW Government provides services relating to disability and inclusion, and has regulatory responsibilities in relation to restrictive practices under a Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Government. Accordingly, HDDS exercises functions consistent with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguarding Framework, including:
HDDS functions affect members of the public experiencing hardship by delivering housing assistance to persons in a range of circumstances, and by supporting national schemes which assist persons with disabilities to access assistance within a well-regulated and responsibly managed framework.
|Law Reform and Legal Services||
Law Reform and Legal Services (LRLS) consists of the following subdivisions:
Legal manages the delivery of in-house legal services. These services include providing legal advice to other areas of the Department, responding to subpoenas, summonses or orders for production issued to the Department, representing the Department in certain court or tribunal proceedings to which the Department is a party, instructing the Crown Solicitor’s Office or externally retained legal representatives to act for the Department, and assisting in coronial inquiries into deaths in custody. Legal does not provide legal advice to members of the public.
Legal provides many of its services internally to other areas of the Department, however, it does provide some services directly to members of the public. These services include facilitating applications for ex gratia payments, providing public access to information under the GIPA Act, and conducting internal reviews of conduct pursuant to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (see the Department’s Privacy Management Plan).
PRL provides policy advice to Ministers within the Stronger Communities Cluster. It also produces discussion and consultation papers and seeks submissions from the public on various policy matters to inform legislative and policy reform.
MaPS is responsible for co-ordinating and managing Parliamentary products and twice yearly Budget Estimates, coordination of Cabinet, and providing Department Liaison Officers across the Department who facilitate communications between the Department and Ministerial Offices (MOs). It also provides parliamentary support to six MOs within the Stronger Communities Cluster and acts as a centralised point of contact between MOs, the Department and other cluster agencies.
DSPA manages, supports, records and improves end-to-end processing or workflow of briefs, ministerial correspondence and requests from Ministers and the Office of the Secretary. Additionally, DSPA registers and supports NSW Justices of the Peace, manages the appointments of certain office holders, and provides regular reporting on performance to Ministers, the Secretary, and other internal divisions and agencies.
LRLS services also extend to ensuring that the common law and statutory powers of the Attorney-General, the Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, and the Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections are exercised consistently with the law.
The functions of LRLS have both direct and indirect effects upon members of the public by informing law and policy reform, ensuring the lawful and ethical exercise of common law and statutory powers of Ministers, ensuring compliance with relevant legislation including the GIPA Act, and providing legal advice to other areas of the Department to ensure the lawful exercise of Department functions.
Corporate Services delivers services to the Department and selected cluster/independent agencies with support, information and insights to achieve service delivery goals, including managing specific reforms and process initiatives, projects, and leading business and strategy planning.
Corporate Services consists of:
Corporate Services functions affect members of the public by providing services aimed broadly at improving the efficiency of the Department’s transactional activities and customer experience, communicating information to the public, and ensuring accountability through ethical procurement processes and reporting on finances, infrastructure, and assets.
|Transforming Aboriginal Outcomes||
Transforming Aboriginal Outcomes provides a range of services leading to improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons in areas such as criminal justice, child protection, and housing. This division also provides support services to other divisions of the Department to educate staff and improve service and program delivery to achieve meaningful and permanent outcomes for First Nations Persons.
This divisions functions aim to address systematic causes of disadvantage and work toward meeting National Agreement on Closing the Gap targets relating to child protection, criminal justice, housing, and the prevention of domestic violence.
Accessing information held by certain agencies and statutory office holders
Pursuant to Schedule 4 to the GIPA Act and Schedule 3 to the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2018 (NSW) (GIPA Regulation), certain agencies (subsidiary agencies) are declared part of the Department (the parent agency) for the purposes of the GIPA Act. These bodies may not form part of the Department’s organisational structure for operational purposes, but the Department performs the functions and meets the obligations of these subsidiary agencies under the GIPA Act. Accordingly, this AIG also applies to these subsidiary agencies.
Table 2, below, provides a description of the functions of statutory agencies, office holders, and independent bodies which are supported by the Department, or which are otherwise declared part of the Department for the purposes of the GIPA Act. Further information about each is available by clicking the respective link, which will take you directly to the website of the relevant body.
Requests or applications under the GIPA Act for government information held by the agencies and statutory office holders outlined in the below table must be made to the Department. This document also constitutes the AIG for these subsidiary agencies.
It is noted that the GIPA Regulation currently in force predates the implementation of the Machinery of Government changes implemented on 1 July 2019, which merged various former agencies to form the Department of Communities and Justice. The information in Table 2 is sourced directly from Schedule 3 of the GIPA Regulation and may no longer be accurate.
Table 2: Separate statutory agencies, office holders and independent bodies.
|Name of office holder, statutory agency or independent body||Description of functions|
|Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB)||
The ADB promotes anti-discrimination and equal opportunity principles and policies through the administration of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).
For information about the ADB’s functions and structure, please see the Board’s About us page.
If you wish to make a complaint pursuant to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), please see the Board’s Complaints page.
|Carers Advisory Council||
The Carers Advisory Council is established under the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 (NSW) to advance the interests of carers, and review and make recommendations on legislative or policy proposals affecting carers.
Further information about the Council and its functions and members is available on the Department’s website at NSW Carers Advisory Council.
|Children’s Court Advisory Committee||
The Children’s Court Advisory Committee is established by the Attorney General under section 15A(1) of the Children’s Court Act 1987 (NSW). The Committee has a number of functions including consultation with persons using the Children’s Court and providing advice to the Attorney General, the Minister, and the Court.
See above at Table 1 for further information about the functions of Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery.
|Children’s Court Clinic||
The Children’s Court clinic is an independent body that is part of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals network. It employs Authorised Clinicians (professionals with psychiatry, psychology, and social work experience and qualifications) who give expert clinical assessments and recommendations to assist the Children’s Court, lawyers, and parents to plan for the care of a child or young person.
The Clinic’s functions ensure that the Children’s Court is able to make the most appropriate decision for the safety, welfare, and well-being of children who come into contact with the Court.
|Children’s Court of NSW||
The Children’s Court is established by the Children’s Court Act 1987 (NSW) and exercises jurisdiction conferred by that Act and other relevant legislation in relation to various matters involving children and young persons (CYPs), including certain criminal proceedings against a CYP, and proceedings relating to care, protection, and schooling of a CYP.
The Children's Court aims to provide an efficient, fair and effective court service for children, families and the community.
Further information about the various functions of the Court is available on the Court’s About the Court page.
See above at Table 1 for further information about the functions of Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery.
|Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court||
Information about appointed Commissioners and their functions are set out on the Court’s website at: Judicial officers and decision makers.
|Contract of Carriage Tribunal||The Contract of Carriage Tribunal is established under the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) and is constituted by a member or members of the Industrial Relations Commission. The Tribunal exercises conciliation and arbitration functions relating to “contracts of carriage” as defined by section 309 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996, to ensure the just settlement of disputes arising in relation to the termination of certain contracts for the transportation of goods.|
|Coroner (including the State Coroner and Deputy State Coroner)||
The Coroners Act 2009 (NSW) sets out the functions of Coroners, being to examine sudden, unexpected, unnatural and suspicious deaths, suspected deaths in the case of missing persons, and fires and explosions causing serious injury or damage to property.
The findings of inquiries conducted by the Coroners Court have direct impacts upon deceased persons and their families by seeking to substantiate causes of death, providing closure, and bringing individuals criminally responsible for the death of a person to justice. The findings of inquiries may also assist in protecting the lives and well-being of persons by informing relevant authorities about practices, policies or laws which could be reformed to prevent future deaths, fires and explosions.
For additional information about the functions of the Coroners Court, please see How the Coroners Court works.
|Costs assessors appointed under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (NSW)||
Costs assessors are appointed by the Chief Justice of New South Wales under section 93C of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (NSW) to determine applications for cost assessments made under Part 7 of that Act. However, costs assessors are not officers of the Supreme Court of NSW.
In determining a costs assessment application, costs assessors are required to quantify amounts under a costs order made by a NSW court or tribunal, and determine fair and reasonable costs between clients and their lawyers.
Costs assessors aim to ascertain fair and reasonable costs to ensure that costs orders achieve a just outcome, and to ensure that a client’s costs payable to their lawyers give effect to any relevant costs agreement and applicable legislation.
Information about costs assessments is available online.
|Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO)||
The CSO is the largest provider of legal services to state government agencies in NSW.
If issues arising in a civil or other dispute, or a criminal law matter, are considered core legal work of Government (see Premier's Memorandum M2016-04-NSW Government Core Legal Work Guidelines) or arise under certain legislation, agencies must instruct the Crown Solicitor to act on their behalf.
The CSO also provides legal advice and representation to NSW Government agencies in relation to matters that are not core legal work of Government at the request of agencies.
Whilst the CSO’s services are not provided to the public, its functions have broader impacts upon members of the public by assisting agencies to exercise their functions and deliver Government policies, programs, and projects in a lawful, effective and efficient manner.
|Disability Council||The Disability Council is an advisory body to the NSW Government on matters relating to people with disability and disability inclusion. The Council’s functions include monitoring the implementation of Government policy.|
|District Court of NSW||
The District Court is the intermediate court in the NSW judicial hierarchy. It has jurisdiction to hear criminal proceedings for all offences except murder, treason and piracy, civil claims for motor accident cases for any claimed amount, and other civil claims up to $750,000 (or higher if the parties consent). The District Court also hears appeals from the Local Court and the Children’s Court.
For information about the District Court’s jurisdiction and functions, please see the Court’s About us page.
|Drug Court of NSW||
The Drug Court of NSW is a specialist court providing alternatives to prison for eligible offenders with drug dependencies who have committed certain crimes.
For information about the jurisdiction and functions of the Drug Court, please see the Court’s About us page.
|Dust Diseases Tribunal||
The Dust Diseases Tribunal hears claims for damages from persons who suffer from dust-related diseases, or dependents of persons who have died from a dust-related disease.
For information about the jurisdiction and functions of the Tribunal, please see: How the Tribunal works.
|Industrial Committee established under the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW)||
Industrial Committees may exercise certain functions of the Industrial Relations Commission in respect of the industry or part of an industry for which the Committee was established.
For information about Industrial Committees, including a list of Committees, their purpose and functions, please see: Industrial Committees.
The Industrial Registrar has various functions under the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) and other legislation, and provides administrative support and registry services to the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners of the Industrial Relations Commission.
The Registrar’s functions assist members of the public with industrial disputes within the Commission’s jurisdiction to achieve justice through access to the Commission and its services, and through the exercise of certain decision-making powers under relevant legislation.
|Industrial Relations Commission (IRC)||
The principal functions of the IRC are to resolve industrial disputes, unfair dismissal claims, fix wage rates, and set terms of conditions of employment through making industrial awards and approving enterprise agreements.
For information about the IRC, including its purpose, functions, and structure, please see: About the IRC
The IRC’s functions are limited to NSW-based industrial relations legislation, and do not extend to matters arising under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Such matters are dealt with in the Federal jurisdiction by the Fair Work Commission.
|Inspector Custodial Services (ICS)||
The ICS is appointed to inspect adult correctional facilities and youth justice centres, and reports to Parliament on the findings of these inspections. The Inspector also oversees the Official Visitor Program conducted in correctional facilities and youth justice centres.
The functions of the ICS are integral to ensure the standards of the conditions, treatments and outcomes for adults and young persons in custody and ensure the accountable and ethical operation of custodial environments in NSW.
|Land and Environment Court of NSW||
The Land and Environment Court of NSW was established on 1 September 1980, and is the first specialist environmental superior court in the world.
For information about the Land and Environment Court, its functions, jurisdiction, and services, please visit the Court’s About us page.
|Legal Profession Admission Board (LPAB)||
The LPAB is responsible for:
The LPAB’s functions ensure that tertiary education in law meets required standards and that persons seeking to be admitted to the legal profession are fit and proper persons to be entrusted with the responsibilities of such a profession. These functions facilitate the integrity of the legal profession and ensure that the public has confidence and trust in the legal profession.
|Local Court of NSW||
The Local Court of NSW is the lowest court in the NSW court hierarchy. It has jurisdiction to hear criminal proceedings for less serious offences, committals for more serious criminal offences before the matter progresses to a superior court, civil proceedings for claims up to $100,000, apprehended violence order (AVO) applications, and limited family law applications relating to property settlements and residence orders.
Further information about the Local Court’s functions and jurisdiction is available online at: About us.
|NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (including the Official Community Visitors scheme)||
The NSW Ageing and Disability Commission is an independent agency of the NSW government whose role is to:
The Commission does not investigate paid service providers. Rather, it focuses on the conduct of family members, informal supports, or members of the community toward older persons and adults with disability to ensure that such persons are not abused, exploited or neglected by their immediate supports and members of the community
The Ageing and Disability Commissioner’s functions are set out at section 12 of the Ageing and Disability Commissioner Act 2019 (NSW).
|NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)||
The NCAT commenced operation on 1 January 2014, consolidating the work of 22 former tribunals in NSW into a single source of specialist tribunal services. The Tribunal consists of the following divisions:
An Appeal Panel also hears appeals of certain decisions made by the Tribunal.
For further information about the Tribunal, its functions, and its governing legislation, please visit: What is NCAT?
Information about the structure and functions of the Department’s Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery division is above at Table 1.
|NSW Housing Appeals Committee (HAC)||
The HAC is an independent agency which deals with appeals from people who are aggrieved by a decision made by social housing providers, including the Department. This Committee was established to ensure that clients of Government-funded housing services have access to an independent system of review and redress.
The HAC’s functions operate to ensure that decisions of social housing providers are fair, reasonable, and consistent with policy. This impacts members of the public aggrieved by the decisions of social housing providers by ensuring that decision-making processes are fair and accountable.
|NSW Law Reform Commission||
The NSW Law Reform Commission is an independent statutory body constituted under the Law Reform Commission Act 1967 (NSW) to provide advice to the State Government on law reform matters referred to the Commission by the Attorney General.
For information about the functions of the NSW Law Reform Commission, please visit the Commission’s About us page.
|NSW Sentencing Council||
The NSW Sentencing Council is an independent advisory body established in 2003, the first of its kind in Australia, to advise on, research, monitor, report, and educate the public about criminal sentencing matters and issues.
Please visit the Council’s About us page for further information about the Council’s functions.
The membership structure of the Council is set out at: Meet the Council
|Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC)||
The OLSC is an independent statutory body that deals with complaints about lawyers under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (NSW) and, where necessary, takes disciplinary action against lawyers or commences disciplinary proceedings in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The OLSC consists of the Legal Services Commissioner and staff who advise and assist the Commissioner in the exercise of their functions and powers.
The Commissioner’s role seeks to improve the professionalism of lawyers in NSW and ensures that lawyers abide by ethical and professional obligations when providing services to the public. The OLSC further aims to improve standards in the legal services industry and improve the public’s satisfaction with the services delivered to the community by solicitors and barristers.
|Office of the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People||
The Advocate for Children and Young People works to improve the safety, welfare and well-being of all children and young people in NSW, and to speak up for children and young people to ensure that their rights are respected and their points of view are heard by adult decision-makers.
The Advocate’s role includes:
Broadly, these functions affect members of the public by seeking to address systemic issues affecting children and young people, prioritising the interests and needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and working with other organisations to represent the interests of children and young people.
|Office of the Solicitor General and Crown Advocate||
The Solicitor General is the second law officer of the State. The Solicitor General advises the Crown, especially on constitutional matters, and appears in court, often the High Court, acting for the State of NSW. The Crown Advocate assists the Solicitor General and often specialises in criminal matters.
The functions of the Solicitor General and the Crown Advocate ensure that the interests of the people of NSW are protected within Australia’s federal system.
|Public Defenders Office (PDO)||
The PDO provides salaried barristers independent of government to appear for clients who are charged with serious criminal offences and who have been granted legal assistance by Legal Aid NSW, the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), or a community legal centre. Public defenders also provide legal advice and education for criminal law practitioners and play an active role in law reform.
The PDO ensures that all persons charged with serious criminal offences, regardless of their status, are able to access legal representation and achieve just and fair outcomes in accordance with the law.
|Registrar of Community Housing*||
The Registrar of Community Housing is an independent statutory office holder responsible for registering, monitoring, and regulating non-government community housing providers in NSW under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) and the NSW Local Scheme (NSWLS).
The Registrar’s functions are essential to growing and developing the community housing sector and providing the public, particularly persons on very low, low or moderate incomes, with a well-regulated and managed community housing sector that meets the needs of tenants in a responsible and lawful manner.
|Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC)||
The SORC is an independent statutory body established under the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW) to advise on the security classification, placement and case management of inmates classified as “serious offenders”, and the review segregation directions made pursuant to Part 2 Division 2 of the Act. It also provides advice to the State Parole Authority regarding the release of serious offenders on parole. Serious offenders for this purpose include inmates who are:
The SOCR also includes a number of committees which provide recommendations pertaining to the management of high security inmates, reclassification of inmates classified as an escape-risk (medium security) to lower classifications, and pre-release leave for public interest inmates.
These functions affect members of the public by ensuring that serious offenders are appropriately managed in custody with the necessary classification, placement, and case management to maintain the security, good order, and discipline of correctional centres and facilitate the rehabilitation of serious offenders.
|State Parole Authority (SPA)||
The SPA is an independent statutory authority which makes decisions on the safe reintegration of inmates into the community. The SPA makes decisions about releasing inmates on parole, setting parole conditions, revoking and reinstating parole orders and Intensive Correction Orders, and determining parole for offenders convicted of terrorism offences.
The SPA’s obligations in the exercise of its functions are set out by section 135 of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW), which provides that it must not make any parole order directing the release of an offender unless the SPA is satisfied it is in the interests of the safety of the community.
These functions have implications for members of the community and offenders by ensuring that community safety is maintained and balanced with the objective of providing for the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into the community.
|Supreme Court of NSW||
The Supreme Court of NSW is the superior court in the NSW court hierarchy. It has both specific statutory jurisdiction and an inherent jurisdiction to exercise such powers as may be necessary for the administration of justice in NSW.
The Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction in civil matters and hears the most serious criminal matters, such as charges for murder. The Court’s jurisdiction and the hierarchy of the NSW court system is set out at: About the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court also consists of two appellate courts: the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA), which have jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Supreme Court or inferior courts in certain circumstances.
Appeals from the Court of Appeal and the CCA are heard by the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Commonwealth, State, and Territory court systems in Australia. A person may only appeal to the High Court from the Court of Appeal or the CCA if the High Court grants special leave (permission).
The High Court of Australia is a Commonwealth court and does not form part of the Department.
|Trustees of the Anzac Memorial Building||
The Anzac Memorial Building, located at the southern end of Hyde Park, Sydney, is administered by a Board of Trustees appointed under the Anzac Memorial (Building) Act 1923 (NSW). The Board of Trustees includes various Government officials at both State and Commonwealth levels, the President of the Returned and Services League (RSL) of Australia (New South Wales Branch), a veterans’ representative, and a community representative, among others.
The Trustees’ functions include the control and management of all property vested in the body corporate established by the Act, and the application of funds to the equipment, upkeep, maintenance and management of the Memorial Building. These functions seek to “promote, maintain and enhance the Anzac Memorial as the State’s principal commemorative and interpretative monument dedicated to the service and sacrifice of Australians in peace and war.”
|Victims Advisory Board||
The Victims Advisory Board is established under section 109 of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW) to:
Other agencies in the Stronger Communities Cluster
The Department does not perform functions under the GIPA Act on behalf of the agencies and office holders in the Stronger Communities Cluster set out in Table 3 below. The Table includes a link to the Agency Information Guide for the relevant agency or other relevant information, where applicable.
If you seek government information held by the below agencies, you may make a request or application under the GIPA Act directly to the relevant agency.
Table 3: Agencies in the Stronger Communities Cluster which do not form part of the Department for the purposes of the GIPA Act.
|Name of agency or office holder||Link to further information|
|Fire and Rescue NSW||Agency Information Guide|
|Home Purchase Assistance Fund||See further information about the First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme on the Revenue NSW website at: First Home Buyer|
|John Williams Memorial Charitable Trust||See further information on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) website at: The Trustee for John Williams Memorial Charitable Trust|
|Judicial Commission of NSW||Access to Information|
|Legal Aid NSW||Access to Information|
|Multicultural NSW||Open Access Information|
|NSW Crime Commission||Policy and Other Agency Documents|
|NSW Police Force||Agency Information Guide|
|NSW Rural Fire Service||Agency Information Guide|
|NSW State Emergency Service||Access to Information and Privacy|
|NSW Trustee and Guardian||Agency Information Guide|
|Office of the Children’s Guardian||Access Information|
|Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions||Information access under GIPA Act|
|Resilience NSW||See: Resilience NSW|
The Department’s information holdings are vast and encompass information relating to the functions of each of the divisions and statutory agencies, office holders, and independent bodies outlined at Tables 1 and 2 above.
Given the broad range of functions and services covered by the Department and the various other bodies declared part of the Department for the purposes of the GIPA Act, a general description of some of the more common records and kinds of information held by the various divisions of the Department is outlined below at Table 4. The Table is not an exhaustive list of examples.
The Department also publishes a more detailed outline of some of the information it holds with respect to certain functions on other areas of its website. You may find this additional information by following the links in the Table below.
Table 4: Kinds of information held by the Department’s divisions.
|Name of division||Examples of kinds of information held by division|
|Child Protection and Permanency, District and Youth Justice Services||
Child protection, family casework, out-of-home care, and adoption records relating to individuals and families.
Reports and assessments about children and young persons at risk of significant harm.
Information and records relating to children and young persons in custody or under supervision in the community.
Information about the operation of youth justice centres.
For further information relating to the care and protection of children held by the Department, or juvenile justice files pre-November 1991, please visit: FACS and DCJ records.
For further details about information and records held by Youth Justice NSW, including juvenile justice files from November 1991 onwards, please visit: Youth Justice records.
Information relating to business ethics, tenders, and contracts
Annual Reports, including audited financial statements, information relating to funding grants to NGOs, former Department of Family and Community Services Annual Reports and former Department of Justice Annual Reports
Budgeting and financial information.
Personnel and human resources-related information.
Information relating to Department assets.
Information such as personal and health information about clients and staff, or information obtained from third parties, held in the Federated Analytics Platform, which consolidates data from a variety of internal systems, data storage locations, file shares, legacy stores, and external systems (see the Department’s Privacy Management Plan for further information).
|Corrective Services NSW||Corrective Services NSW holds a wide range of records and information relating to individual offenders and the operation of correctional centres and Community Corrections offices. Please visit Corrective Services records for further information.|
|Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery||
Case files relating to current and previous proceedings in a NSW court or tribunal, which contain documents such as applications, notices of motion or evidence filed with the court, subpoenaed or summonsed documents, and orders of the relevant court or tribunal.
Transcripts and audio recordings of court and tribunal proceedings.
Case files relating to victims support services.
|Housing, Disability and District Services||
Information and records within the Housing Operations Management Extended Services (HOMES) system, such as records of housing clients’ interactions with the Department and records of assistance provided to clients (for example, temporary accommodation, private rental subsidies, and tenancy management).
Information about clients who receive housing assistance products.
For further information, please visit: FACS and DCJ records.
|Law Reform and Legal Services||
Legal advice, client instructions, and information relevant to proceedings to which the Department is a party.
Information relating to policy and law reform proposals, including consultations and briefing notes.
Subpoenas, summonses, or other orders for production issued to the Department and related records or correspondence.
Access applications and informal requests under the GIPA Act and related information, including internal and external correspondence, notices of decision, and copies of information the subject of such applications and requests.
|Strategy, Policy and Commissioning||
Submissions and consultation responses.
Broadly, the Department and its various independent statutory offices, hold information such as:
The Department’s Privacy Management Plan also includes detailed information regarding the kinds of records and information held by each operational area of the Department.
Section 5 of the GIPA Act provides that there is a presumption in favour of disclosing government information, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Section 12(1) similarly provides that there is a general public interest in favour of the disclosure of government information. However, if information falls within the categories of information prescribed by Schedule 1 to the GIPA Act, as there is a conclusive presumption of an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information, then the subject information is not to be disclosed.
Schedule 1 to the GIPA Act should be referred to for a complete list of information that is subject to a conclusive presumption of an overriding public interest against disclosure, but common examples are:
When considering whether to release information under the GIPA Act that is not subject to Schedule 1, the Department applies the public interest test which is set out at section 13 of the GIPA Act. If there are applicable public interest considerations against disclosure (PICADs) of government information and those considerations outweigh the public interest considerations in favour of disclosing the information, there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
Public interest considerations in favour of disclosure that may be taken into account are not limited. Section 12(2) of the GIPA Act includes a non-exhaustive list of examples, and any other factors may also be taken into account as a public interest considerations in favour of disclosure.
If any PICADs set out in the Table to section 14 of the GIPA Act apply to government information, those considerations are weighed against any public interest considerations in favour of disclosure and a decision is made as to where the balance lies between these consideration.
There are a number of ways the Department releases information under the GIPA Act, as set out in the sections that follow.
Mandatory proactive release of open access information
Section 6(1) of the GIPA Act provides that the Department must make government information it holds that is prescribed as open access information publicly available on its website, free of charge, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. This is referred to as the “mandatory proactive release of open access information”.
Links to the Department’s open access information are provided at the section of this document titled “Open access information”.
Authorised proactive release of information
Section 7 of the GIPA Act provides the Department a discretionary authorisation to proactively release government information, in any manner considered appropriate, free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost.
The Open Government, Information and Privacy Unit, Legal, Law Reform and Legal Services coordinates an annual review of the Department’s authorised proactive release program, by sending a targeted email to each Division within the Department, informing them of their obligations under the GIPA Act. Divisions are provided a factsheet (PDF, 120.9 KB) which is designed to encourage senior executives to actively review and update their information holdings on the Department’s website in order to proactively disclose information to the public.
Consistent with the principles underlying the proactive disclosure of information, the below information may be considered of interest to the public:
Data.NSW brings together more than 14,000 NSW Government datasets and opens these datasets to the public in a centralised searchable website. The NSW Government aims to make data more accessible to the public and to industry to stimulate innovative approaches to service delivery. The Department publishes an array of information that can be accessed at Data.NSW. The NSW Government Open Data Policy provides further information.
Provides the most comprehensive collection of key data released to date in one convenient location. These statistics help the Department meet its commitment to transparency, accountability and open data sharing with clients, partners, the media, and the public.
Informal access applications
Section 8 of the GIPA Act authorises the release of government information in response to an informal request from a member of the public, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.
Access to information, granted in response to an informal request, are made subject to reasonable conditions, or provided in a preferred format. The Department may also delete information from records to facilitate the informal release of information if including certain material in a record would otherwise result in there being an overriding public interest against disclosure.
Generally, the following information may be released informally:
Section 8(3) of the GIPA Act provides that there is no obligation on the Department to disclose information in response to an informal request. The disclosure of information in response to an informal request is discretionary and the Department may require a person to lodge a formal access application to seek access to information.
All Department staff are authorised by the Secretary to disclose information in response to an informal request.
The informal release of information is encouraged wherever possible, and the Open Government, Information and Privacy Unit deliver training sessions to the entire Department, emphasising the informal release of information and explaining how this mechanism for disclosing information may assist members of the public.
Formal access applications
A person who lodges a formal access application has a legally enforceable right to access the information sought in the application, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. A formal access application will generally be required where the government information requested is:
An application under the GIPA Act is a valid access application only if it meets the formal requirements set out by the GIPA Act. To be a valid access application, the application must:
Failure to meet the above requirements will render an application invalid.
An application is not a valid access application if it seeks access to information that is defined as excluded information of the Department. Further information about excluded information of the Department is provided below.
The GIPA Act prescribes that an access application cannot be made to an agency for information that is excluded information of the agency. An application for excluded information is not a valid access application to the extent that the application contravenes this requirement.
Schedule 2 to the GIPA Act sets out the categories of excluded information for particular agencies, a number of which are relevant to the Department including, but not limited to:
Fees and charges
The application fee for a formal access application that is lodged online must be paid by credit card or debit card.
The application fee for a formal access application that is lodged by email or post may be paid by:
Note: Please state that you wish to pay via credit or debit card in your application and a unique link to the online payment portal will be emailed to your designated email address.
Account: Department of Justice Operating Account
Account Number: 201716
A formal access application is subject to the following application fees and processing charges set out at Table 5 below.
Table 5: Fees and charges applicable to formal access applications.
|Type of Information||Application Fee||Processing Charge|
|Access to personal information about the applicant.||$30||The first 20 hours of processing time is free of charge. After 20 hours, a processing charge of $30 per hour may apply.|
|Access to information that is not the applicant’s personal information.||$30||Charges of $30 per hour may apply, the first hour of which is covered by the application fee.|
|Internal review||$40||Not Applicable|
The Department may request an advance payment of a processing charge before the application is decided (an advance deposit) which is based on the lowest reasonable estimate of the total processing time that will be required to deal with an access application. The maximum advance deposit the Department may charge is 50 per cent of the estimated total processing charge. Applicants required to pay an advance deposit will be notified in writing and provided with 20 working days to make payment.
An applicant is eligible for a 50 per cent discount of processing charges if the Department is satisfied that the applicant is suffering financial hardship. Pursuant to clause 10 of the GIPA Regulation, an applicant suffers financial hardship if:
An applicant is also eligible for a 50 per cent discount of processing charges if the Department is satisfied that the information requested by the applicant is of special benefit to the public generally.
However, if both circumstances apply to a single application, the applicable discount is capped at 50 per cent.
Authorisation to exercise functions under the GIPA Act
Functions relating to the authorised proactive release or informal release of government information, and the function of making of a reviewable decision in relation to a formal access application, may only be exercised by the Department’s Secretary or staff with the authority of the Secretary.
A copy of the Instrument of Authorisation applicable to Department staff in the exercise of functions under the GIPA Act may be viewed here (PDF, 10.9 KB).
Table 6, below, outlines the open access information that the Department makes publicly available in accordance with the GIPA Act, and includes a link to access the relevant information, where applicable.
Table 6: Open access information made publicly available.
|Category of open access information||How to access the information|
|Current Agency Information Guide||This webpage|
|Information about the Department contained in any document tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of the Department, other than any document table by order of either House of Parliament.||Please visit the Parliament of New South Wales website to view a complete list of all documents tabled by the Department in Parliament.|
|The Department’s policy documents.||
Courts and Tribunals
Local Court: Policy documents and tabled documents
District Court: Practice and procedure
Supreme Court: Supreme Court Policies
Drug Court: Policy documents and tabled documents
Coroners Court: Policy and tabled documents
Children’s Court: Practice and procedures
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal: Policies and tabled documents
Dust Diseases Tribunal: Publications
Industrial Relations Commission: Policy and tabled documents
Independent statutory bodies and office holders
Crown Solicitor’s Office: Policies
Legal Profession Admission Board: Policy and tabled documents
|The Department’s disclosure log||Disclosure Log|
|The Department’s register of government contracts valued at, or likely to have a value of, $150,000 or more (incl. GST).||Available via NSW eTendering. See also: 'Class 3' contracts'|
|The Department’s record of open access information that is not made publicly available, kept in accordance with section 6(5) of the GIPA Act.||See: Record under section 6(5) of the GIPA Act.|
|A list of the Department’s major assets (other than land holdings) highlighting major acquisitions during the previous financial year||See: Annual Reports (see Volume 1, Section 3.3.5)|
|Total number and total value of properties disposed of by the Department during the previous financial year.||See: Annual Reports (see Volume 1, Section 3.3.5)|
|The Department’s guarantee of service, if any.||The Department does not have a guarantee of service.|
|The Department’s code of conduct.||See: Policies|
|Any standard, code or other publication that has been applied, adopted or incorporated by reference in any Act or statutory rule that is administered by the Department.||See: Guidelines|
The Department offers a number of alternative ways of accessing certain kinds of information it holds, outside the ambit of the GIPA Act, including the following.
If you lived in out-of-home care as a child or young person, you can request a copy of records about your care history, free of charge, through the Care Leaver Records Access Unit pursuant to section 168 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).
You can view further information about how to apply for your out-of-home care records, what to expect when you apply, and how to access support at: Accessing your care records.
For people who want to apply for past adoption information or those who are considering making contact with an adopted person, birth parent, or family member, please visit: Finding information on past adoptions.
Requests for access to court and tribunal files and documents should be made by contacting the relevant court or tribunal. Access requests should be made directly to the relevant court or tribunal by obtaining the relevant form from the court or tribunal’s website or by contacting the relevant registry.
Access to court and tribunal files and documents is at the discretion of the relevant court or tribunal in accordance with applicable legislation, procedural rules, or practice notes. The court or tribunal may refuse a request for access if appropriate to do so in the circumstances.
Access may also be subject to fees and charges as prescribed by relevant legislation or policies and procedures of the applicable court or tribunal.
Parties to court or tribunal proceedings or their legal representative, or other persons as the court or tribunal may allow, may apply for transcripts and/or duplicate sound recordings of proceedings. Applications for court transcripts and/or duplicate sound recordings are subject to such fees and charges as the particular court or tribunal may impose.
Further information is provided at: Transcripts.
If you seek access to your own personal information that is held by the Department, you may make a request under section 14 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (the PPIPA). Such a request is limited to your personal information only, and you cannot request information about other persons under section 14 of the PPIPA.
Please see the Department’s Privacy Management Plan for further information.
The Department is committed to a policy of consultation with clients, community partners, and members of the public. These include funded services, service providers, non-government organisations, local government, philanthropists, citizens, the private sector, and other NSW Government agencies.
Across its various divisions, the Department implements a number of arrangements which enable members of the public to inform the exercise of the Department’s functions and the development and implementation of policy. These arrangements allow members of the public to provide comments and inform the Department’s strategic direction, particularly in respect of current and proposed projects, services, policies and law reform.
Key examples of these arrangements include, but are not limited to:
Any member of the public may also participate in policy formulation by writing to the Secretary with suggestions or raising issues that concern them or the community.
Past and current public consultations on various projects, services, policies, and law reform may be viewed at: Public consultation
Members of the public may also contact the Department with general enquiries, access crisis support and helplines, and provide feedback.
The Department also maintains a presence on social media through which information about particular initiatives and the Department’s work in the community is communicated to the public.
The role of the Information Commissioner is to raise public awareness of right to information laws and provide assistance, information, support and advice to government departments and the public.
The Information Commissioner has external review functions under Part 5 of the GIPA Act where an applicant is aggrieved by a decision in response to their access application. The Commissioner also has broad investigative powers under the Government Information (Information Commissioner) Act 2009 (NSW), through which the Commissioner may require the production of information by government departments and conduct inquiries pertinent to the administration of the GIPA Act.
Further information may be obtained by contacting the NSW Information and Privacy Commission:
Phone: 1800 472 679
If you have any enquiries regarding this AIG or lodging requests under the GIPA Act for government information held by the Department, please contact:
Open Government, Information and Privacy
Department of Communities and Justice
Locked Bag 5000
Parramatta NSW 2124
Phone: 02 9716 2662
05 Jul 2023