Introduction

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) is committed to ensuring that citizens can access information about us easily and at the lowest reasonable cost.

Given its regulatory role, we have a particular focus and commitment to access to government information. We especially support the broad object of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) to advance a system of responsible and representative democratic Government that is open, accountable, fair and effective, and the specific presumption in the Act in favour of the disclosure of government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Agency Information Guides (AIGs) can play an important role in promoting access to information, supporting participation and contributing to Open Government.

This AIG is published in accordance with section 20 of the GIPA Act and provides a mechanism to make government information accessible, promote currency of information and appropriate release and support the management of government information as a strategic asset.

The purpose of this IPC AIG is to provide general information on the:

  • structure and functions of the IPC;
  • ways in which the functions of the IPC, including the decision-making functions, affect members of the public;
  • specific arrangements in place to enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of IPC policy and the exercise of IPC functions;
  • kinds of government information held by the IPC;
  • kinds of government information held by the IPC that we make publicly available;
  • the manner in which the IPC makes or will make government information publicly available; and
  • kinds of information that are (or will be) made publicly available free of charge and those kinds for which a charge is (or will be) imposed.

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.

We value your feedback on this AIG to ensure that we achieve the highest levels of accessibility. You can provide feedback to us by phone to 1800 472 679 or email to ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au.

Elizabeth Tydd
CEO Information and Privacy Commission
NSW Information Commissioner and Open Data Advocate

About the IPC

About us

The IPC was established on 1 January 2011 under the Privacy and Government Information Legislation Amendment Act 2010 by merging the Office of the Information Commissioner and Privacy NSW. The Bill established the Information Commissioner as head of the Commission.

We are a separate agency that administers NSW legislation dealing with privacy and access to government information. We support the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner in fulfilling their statutory responsibilities and functions to ensure that individuals and agencies can access consistent information, guidance and training on information access and privacy matters.

More information about us is available in the About Us section on this website.

 

Our functions

We were established to provide a single place for agencies and the community to seek information and assistance with information access and privacy rights in NSW. We promote and protect privacy and information access rights in NSW by:

  • providing information, advice, assistance and training for agencies and individuals on privacy and access matters;
  • reviewing the performance and decisions of agencies under the GIPA Act;
  • investigating and conciliating complaints relating to regulated entities; and
  • providing feedback and advice to Government about the legislation and relevant developments in the law and technology.

We take a contemporary, proactive regulatory approach. Our regulatory and business efforts are aimed at ensuring that the IPC and regulated entities operate in ways that advance information access and privacy protection for the citizens of NSW. Further information about our regulatory approach is contained in our Regulatory Framework and associated plans and policies, which are available on our website.

The functions of the IPC are overseen by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Office of the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the Crime Commission.

Information access

The Information Commissioner administers the following legislation:

The Information Commissioner has the power to review decisions made by other NSW government agencies and deal with complaints about information access, undertake investigations, monitor agency functions and report to the Attorney General about proposals for legislative or administrative change. Additionally, the Information Commissioner provides feedback about the legislation and relevant developments in the law and technological change as it impacts on information access.

The Information Commissioner is also:

  • an investigating authority under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994, and
  • the NSW Open Data Advocate.

In the role of Open Data Advocate, the Information Commissioner encourages the proactive public release of government information by agencies in ways that are respectful of data sharing safeguards, and provides information, advice and assistance to agencies and the NSW Public on access to government information. The role also provides advice to the Data Analytics Centre (DAC) and across NSW Government on the proactive release of non-personal data. The role of Open Data Advocate aligns with the functions of the Information Commissioner under the GIPA Act, in particular with authorising and encouraging the proactive public release of government information by agencies. The work of the Open Data Advocate is underpinned by the Open Data Policy and Action Plan. Further information is available from the Data NSW website.

Privacy

The Privacy Commissioner administers the following legislation:

The Privacy Commissioner’s role includes promoting privacy as well as preparing reports recommending legislative, administrative or other action in the interests of privacy as well as conducting inquiries and investigations into privacy related matters.

The Privacy Commissioner also oversees the conduct of internal reviews by regulated entities, and deals with complaints about privacy related matters.

Corporate functions and services

We have corporate functions and obligations that we are required to fulfil including the effective and efficient management of:

  • finances
  • staff
  • procurement
  • assets
  • annual reporting
  • information technology
  • legislative compliance
  • corporate governance.

These functions are conferred on the IPC under a number of Acts. Some of the key Acts include:

  • Government Sector Employment Act 2013 – employment of staff
  • Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 – publication of certain government information and granting access to other information
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 – standards and requirements for collection and use of personal information
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – requirements for healthy and safe work practices
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 – management of injury and return to work
  • Annual Reports (Departments) Act 1985 – requirements for annual reporting
  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 – management and administration of financial affairs
  • Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 – requirements for dealing with complaints under the Act.

We are supported to undertake many of these functions by the Department of Justice under a Service Level Agreement.

Organisational structure

We are a separate agency under Schedule 1 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act) and the Information Commissioner is appointed as agency head and is responsible to the relevant Minister. As the agency head, the Information Commissioner is responsible for the budget and the general administration of the IPC, including employing and allocating staff to carry out our work.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee oversees the functions of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner reports to the NSW Parliament on the operation of the PPIP Act. The Information Commissioner reports to the NSW Parliament on the operation of the GIPA Act.

The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd was appointed under the Government Information (Information Commissioner) Act 2009 for a term of five years. Ms Tydd was appointed on 23 December 2013.

The Privacy Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Coombs was appointed under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1988 also for a term of five years. Dr Coombs was appointed on 7 November 2011.

We have three core business units established to assist the CEO in the exercise of the functions of the IPC. These units are:

  • Communications and Corporate Affairs – strategically informs, shapes and delivers the IPC’s regulatory message to our stakeholders
  • Performance Reporting and Projects – develops regulatory advice, reporting and intelligence services to support the IPC and the Commissioners
  • Investigation and Review – deliver the IPC’s and Commissioners regulatory functions to promote compliance with the legislation and support members of the public to access their rights.

A full copy of our corporate structure is available from the IPC’s website.

Each year we report on our activities over the course of the year through our Annual Report. The Annual Report is published on our website.

Our location

We are located at:
Level 17, 201 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Our contact details

For further information about us, you can contact the IPC on the details bellows:

Post: Information and Privacy Commission
GPO Box 7011
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Email: ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au
Website: www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
Telephone: 1800 472 679
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The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) is committed to ensuring that citizens can access information about us easily and at the lowest reasonable cost.

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