Resources for public sector agencies

The information here specifically relates to public sector agencies and their responsibilities under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

The Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) has developed a number of resources to assist agencies in complying with their duties under the GIPA Act.

If you are having difficulties reading any IPC documents or require them in an alternative format, please contact us on 1800 472 679.

Guidelines Summary
Guideline 1: For local government on the disclosure of information Assist local councils to determine public interest considerations for and against disclosure of information contained in returns in disclosing interests of councillors. 
Guideline 2: Discounting charges Explains how to discount processing charges for information that is of special benefit to the public generally. 
Guideline 3: For local government – personal information on development applications Assists councils with what can and can't be published on their websites, specifically personal information contained in DAs. 
Guideline 4: Personal information as a public interest consideration under the GIPA Act How to deal with requests for personal information under the GIPA Act and the personal information of third parties. 
Guideline 5: Consultation on public interest considerations under section 54 of the GIPA Act  Promotes consistency about how, when and who to consult with under section 54 of the GIPA Act.
Guideline 6: Agency Information Guides  Summarises the legal obligation for agencies in preparing and updating an AIG, explains the opportunities provided by AIGs to promote Open Government, Open Data and public participation, and offers suggestions for structuring and writing an AIG. 

Checklist Summary
Agency Information Guide Self-assessment Checklist for agencies                                                 This does not prescribe the structure and format that an AIG should follow, but rather assists agencies in reviewing and assessing the AIG to ensure it complies and is effective in promoting Open Government. The IPC also uses this checklist to assess the quality of AIGs received.

Guides Summary
Agency guide on GIPA reporting for 2015 - 2016 (PDF 1.3MB)
This guide is designed to assist agencies to comply with their GIPA reporting requirements. It includes information on what must be included in the reporting, and advice on how to provide the required information via the IPC GIPA Tool
GIPA Compliance Guide To assist agencies in knowing their duties in order to comply.
GIPA compliance checklist for Agencies (PDF, 765kb) A companion to the Compliance Guide for agencies.
GIPA compliance checklist for Councils (PDF, 191kb) To assist councils in complying with the GIPA Act.


Fact sheet Summary
How the GIPA Act applies to agencies' wholly-owned subsidiaries

This fact sheet aims to provide guidance on when agencies' wholly-owned subsidiary entities are captured under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act)

Creating new records under the GIPA Act

This fact sheet aims to provide guidance on the creation of a new record under section 75 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). 

What is the public interest test?

Under the GIPA Act all government agencies must disclose or release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. When deciding whether to release information, staff must apply the public interest test.

Legal professional privilege

This fact sheet has been prepared for agencies and decision makers to assist them in the practical application of this clause under Clause 5(1) of Schedule 1 to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). It is also designed to inform applicants to assist them in understanding the test that agencies should apply when relying on this clause to refuse access to information applied for under the GIPA Act.

Authorised proactive release of government information 

This fact sheet provides guidance and a self-assessment tool to NSW public sector agencies about how they can enhance their approach to authorised proactive release of government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

Restraint orders under the GIPA Act

An agency, the Minister or the Information Commissioner may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order to restrain a person from making unmeritorious access applications.

Offences under the GIPA Act

The purpose of this fact sheet is to raise awareness of Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) rights and responsibilities, highlight the offence provisions and the circumstances and evidence that may enliven consideration of these offence provisions, and inform members of the public and agencies of the IPC’s role and procedures in dealing with allegations that offences under the GIPA Act have been committed.


Knowledge updates Summary
Reasonable searches under the GIPA Act

Section 53 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) sets out the obligations of NSW public sector agencies to undertake searches for information requested in an access application.

Being investigated by the IPC

The Information Commissioner has powers to conduct investigations into how agencies fulfill their functions under the GIPA Act.

Copyright and compliance with the GIPA Act

NOTE: February 2017: This guidance is currently under review by the IPC. Please contact the IPC should you have any questions. 

The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (GIPA Regulation) requires local councils to publish on their websites, and provide copies to the public, of a range of open access information, including architectural plans submitted as part of a development application. However, these plans are protected by copyright law.

Creating agency information guides

NOTE: This Knowledge Update is no longer available and has been replaced by Guideline 6:Agency Information Guides  and Fact Sheet: Agency Information Guides and the public - published December 2016.

What is an agency?

How an agency is defined under the GIPA Act

Informal release of information

The way in which goverment agencies can informally release information under the GIPA Act

Act amendments - information for agencies

Legislative changes to the GIPA Act effective March 2012

Good practice for disclosure logs

This knowledge update provides you with good practice information when publishing disclosure logs

Processing requests for personal information

How to process a request for information under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 or the Goverment Information (Public Access) Act 2009

Government contracts and the GIPA Act (being updated)

Guidance on provisions that give members of the public greater access to information concerning private sector contractors and government agencies

Reports Summary
Advancing the objects of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW): an international comparative evaluation of measures used to promote government information release (PDF 1.07MB) The report, commissioned through the University of Technology, Sydney provides an insight into the types of practical mechanisms utilised in selected international jurisdictions to promote open government through information sharing and citizen engagement.




Third party consultation letter (Word, 53kb)

Consultation with a third party. 

Informal release refusal decision template (Word, 22kb)

Template letter advising decision to refuse informal release of information request.

Consultation with another government agency letter(Word, 38kb)

Consultation with another governement agency letter template. 

GIPA annual report template

This template is no longer available. Agencies should use the IPC GIPA Tool  to submit their annual report data to the IPC. Information on registering for the tool and submitting annual report data is available here. Agencies can also use the tool to produce PDF and MS Word reports for use in internal reporting if needed.

Notice of decision template (Word, 111kb) Notice of decision template. 

Notice to third party regarding disclosure log letter(Word, 42kb)

Notice to third party regarding disclosure log letter template. 

Internal review application form(Word, 38kb)

Internal review application form for agencies.

Running sheet for access application(Word, 17kb)

Running sheet for access applications for agencies.

Clause – access to information (Word, 26kb)

Template clause for agencies to include in contracts with third parties regarding right of access to contractor records - GIPA Act s121. 

Clause – consultation (Word, 26kb)

Template clause for agencies to include for contracts with third parties regarding consultation - GIPA Act s54.

Disclosure log example template(Word, 18kb)

Template example for agencies to record their disclosure log 

Agency template - Access Application Form (Word, 405kb)

Template for GIPA Access Applications for agencies to use and amend specific to their agency 


FAQs Summary

Copyright and the GIPA Act: Frequently Asked Questions for councils

The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (GIPA Regulation) requires local councils to provide members of the public with access to information about development applications. Some of this information may be protected by copyright.

GIPA case management and reporting tool

The new IPC GIPA Tool assists all agencies and organisations regulated by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) to comply with the legislation when processing and reporting on government information access applications.

The Information Commissioner strongly encourages all agencies and organisations to use the new IPC GIPA Tool to more efficiently manage GIPA applications and meet the requirements of reporting on annual GIPA activities under section 125 of the Act. 

Click here to view the GIPA Tool webpage for more information.

Please contact the IPC if you require advice on registering or using the new IPC GIPA Tool – call 1800 472 679 or email

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Resources for public sector agencies
The information here specifically relates to public sector agencies and their responsibilities under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).