We are committed to promoting public participation and to establishing arrangements that support members of the public to participate in the formulation of our policies and in the exercise of our functions.
In September 2015, The Information Commissioner made a public commitment to co-create a NSW Charter for Public Participation. As part of this process, we released Towards a NSW Charter for Public Participation outlining the first stage of work completed by the IPC to progress public participation in Agency (not ministerial) policy formulation and the exercise of agency functions. The report also sets out the next steps that we will take, in collaboration with NSW agencies and the NSW community, to support greater public participation arrangements across the regulated sectors under the GIPA Act.
We recognise the importance of public involvement in the development of policy and service delivery. Engaging with and maintaining public participation ensures that the needs and expectations of the public are considered in the business of government and can deliver meaningful improvement in policy outcomes and service delivery.
Throughout the year we look for opportunities to engage directly with the public to seek input on our work, in the exercise of our functions and on important issues affecting information access and privacy rights.
This is achieved through a number of the channels outlined below.
Our channels of engagement
We engage with the public regularly through a number of electronic channels, to provide a fast and easy way for the public to approach us, seek our assistance or provide us with feedback.
When considering any consultation with the NSW community, we take into consideration what we are asking, why we are asking it, and who we want to ask. This informs which channel will be used to conduct the consultation or survey.
We use our website, Twitter, email groups and other communication channels to let people know when we are conducting public consultations. We will provide you with the necessary information to understand the purpose of any consultation we do.
Our website is used to provide the public with resources and information about our regulatory functions and activities, awareness campaigns, submissions, events, policies, news and developments. Members of the public can use the Contact us section of the website to get in touch with us and provide feedback on our activities and functions. The website can be accessed at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.
Social media (Twitter)
The IPC Twitter account (@IPCNSW) is used to provide the public with instantaneous information about our latest news, publications, consultations, campaigns, and other areas of interest relating to the IPC. Our Twitter account is monitored during office hours. Members of the public can join the conversation, however we may not be able to respond individually to all the messages that we receive via Twitter. Additionally, given the character limitation on Twitter, we may request that you contact us via our other channels to complete your enquiry.
The IPC LinkedIn account is used to promote and encourage connection with us by other organisations. Where possible we use this channel to promote events and launches including the IPC GIPA Tool and proactive campaigns for Right to Know Week and Privacy Awareness Week.
Your Say IPC (community engagement tool)
Your Say IPC is an online portal used by us to gather feedback from the public and other stakeholder groups through a variety of different avenues. This includes allowing citizens to post shared experiences, rank ideas and views, complete online surveys, respond to quick polls and answer posed questions.
The results of consultations completed using Your Say IPC can inform our production of guidance material to assist agencies and the public in identifying the most positive public participation practices. The identification and implementation of those practices supports agencies’ compliance with the GIPA Act and promotes a culture that advances a representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.
Any feedback we receive through the tools on Your Say IPC is collated and considered for our decision-making and organisational activities.
We conduct surveys to obtain the views of our stakeholders to inform the statutory reports of the Commissioners and the IPC’s broader regulatory work. Survey results assist us to understand citizen’s knowledge and awareness of our legislation, key themes and trends. This information is used to inform the development of regulatory resources. We proactively publish the results from the surveys it conducts on our website and these results are general available as part of reports.
NSW Have Your Say
Have Your Say is a website that enables NSW Government agencies to publicise consultations being conducted throughout the state. The site provides a central place for the public to search via their location and/or by topic to discover consultations that interest them. It enables them to share their views and ideas on Government plans to improve services, the economy and infrastructure in NSW. We use Have Your Say as an additional channel whenever we commence a consultation.
Data NSW brings together a list of NSW Government datasets available in one searchable website. The aim of Data NSW is to make data more accessible to the public and to industry in order to stimulate innovative approaches to service delivery.
We receive agency reports containing data on GIPA obligations and these reports are used by us as the basis for the Information Commissioner’s annual Report on the Operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, across all agencies and dis-aggregated to the sector level.
To date, agency-level data has been made publicly available only through each agency’s annual report. We have a commitment to Open Data and transparency in government, and support the NSW Government’s Open Data Policy (2016).
We are now making agency-level data more accessible by publishing it in a form that allows deeper analysis and comparisons. These data sets are also available at Data NSW.
OpenGov NSW is a website that allows NSW Government agencies to make information available to the public including annual reports and open access information released under the GIPA Act. We utilise this channel to publish annual reports, and to proactively release open access information for the public.
The Information and Privacy Advisory Committee (IPAC) is an advisory body to the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner. Members of IPAC are appointed by the Attorney General from representatives of the public providing opportunity for the community to participate and contribute to the advancement of information access and privacy rights.
How to provide input to our regulatory activities
As an agency that administers NSW information access and privacy legislation, a key part of our work is delivered through our regulatory functions and activities. These relate primarily to the review, complaint, reporting, investigative and advisory work of the IPC.
We have developed a Regulatory Framework, which, combined with the Information Commissioner’s Annual Regulatory Plan sets out our regulatory approach and priorities in promoting compliance and protecting information access rights and privacy.
We use a range of approaches to deliver the compliance activities we identify as necessary to achieve our regulatory objectives and to influence long-term cultural change for better information access by agencies. This involves the examination of process and legislative requirements to inform development of regulatory activities and resources. The development of individual regulatory activities creates an opportunity for meaningful engagement with both agencies and citizens in raising awareness and understanding of the GIPA Act. Our engagement is designed to be achieved through the mechanisms outlined in section 6.2 of this AIG.
Through the review of agency decisions and complaints received, the public play an important role in informing the Information Commissioner on systemic issues, themes and developing trends, and informs the development of the Information Commissioner’s Regulatory Plan each year.
In addition, we welcome other feedback from the public on agency compliance, including concerns about accessing information under the GIPA Act.
You can provide feedback to us by phone to 1800 472 679 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also seek out feedback from the NSW community and its stakeholders on its regulatory activities through Your Say IPC.