Information Access Resources for Agencies

The IPC has developed a toolkit titled, ‘The Essential Guidance Toolkit on information access and privacy fundamentals’ which includes fundamental regulatory guidance to ensure that agencies are able to meet their requirements under NSW information access and privacy legislation. It has been arranged on a functional basis that reflects agency, senior executive and decision-maker responsibilities.

The toolkit is available in different versions for public sector agencies and local government. Download the toolkit below:

There are other specific information access resources available which you can view by clicking on the headings below.

NEW Digital projects
This fact sheet provides guidance to agencies on the information access and privacy issues they should consider where designing and implementing a digital project.

NEW Automated decision-making, digital government and preserving information access rights
This fact sheet provides guidance to agencies on the release of information in relation to the use of automated decision-making systems.

NEW Information Commissioner’s right of appearance in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
This fact sheet has been prepared to provide citizens and agencies information about the Information Commissioner's right to appear and be heard in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in any administrative review of an agency decision under the GIPA Act.

NEW Digital records and the GIPA Act
This fact sheet provides guidance about the definition of record, in particular digital records under the GIPA Act and what it means for agencies. It also outlines the importance of agencies maintaining good digital recordkeeping practices to ensure it is able to comply with its legislative obligations. 

Safeguards to address the misuse of the GIPA Act
There are mechanisms and safeguards available under the GIPA Act to address misuse of the Act and provide protection to citizens and agencies. 

What is an agency?
How an agency is defined under the GIPA Act

UPDATED Changes to GIPA Act in 2018 for agencies
This fact sheet has been developed to inform agencies of the impact the GIPA Act amendments that came into affect on 28 November 2018, will have on their obligations under the GIPA Act.

Calculation of time and the GIPA Act
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) specifies time periods for agencies to make decisions and for applicants to apply for internal or external reviews when notice is given to an access applicant.  

UPDATED Timeframes and extensions for deciding access applications under the GIPA Act
This fact sheet provides guidance on the timeframes for deciding access applications, including circumstances in which extensions may be required or sought, and other special conditions that may extend the decision making period. 

UPDATED Informal release of information
The way in which government agencies can informally release information under the GIPA Act

The GIPA Act: Agency systems, policies and practices - guidance for principal officers
This fact sheet provides assistance to principal officers in the performance of their responsibilities under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). It provides suggested actions informed by a recent investigation, relevant to cluster arrangements, to improve agency systems, policies and practices that relate to functions of agencies under the GIPA Act.

UPDATED Managing access to audio visual information under the GIPA Act - guidance for agencies
Agencies are creating and holding an increasing amount of audio visual (AV) material. It is important that agencies recognise that AV information is a form of government information and needs to be managed to facilitate release to the public consistent with obligations under the GIPA Act.

UPDATED Open access information for agencies
This fact sheet aims to explain to agencies that they are required to make a range of open access information publicly available under the GIPA Act and the GIPA Regulation unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information (OPIAD).

UPDATED The role of principal officers and senior executives in supporting the object of the GIPA Act
This fact sheet is designed to assist principal officers and senior executives to promote awareness and foster an organisational culture that advances the object of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

Why consult third parties
This fact sheet aims to explain to agencies the benefits and requirements of consultation with third parties when considering an application for access to information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

The GIPA Act and Copyright
This fact sheet sets out the open access requirements for local authorities and the form of access provisions applicable to agencies under the GIPA Act as they relate to copyright.

UPDATED Delegation or Authorisation of GIPA Act Functions
This fact sheet is designed to clarify for agencies what is required when the principal officer of the agency proposes to delegate or authorise their functions under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). 

UPDATED Guide to section 121 of the GIPA Act for private sector contractors
This fact sheet provides information to contractors that deliver services to the public on behalf of government agencies to assist those entities in understanding how section 121 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) affects them.

UPDATED Guide to section 121 of the GIPA Act for agencies
This fact sheet aims to help agencies understand how section 121 and clause 12(1)(b) of Schedule 4 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) operates and impacts upon their relationship with contractors who deliver services to members of the public on their behalf.

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.

UPDATED 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).

UPDATED 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.

UPDATED Good practice for disclosure logs
This fact sheet provides you with good practice information when publishing disclosure logs.

UPDATED Being investigated by the IPC
The Information Commissioner has powers to conduct investigations into how agencies fulfill their functions under the GIPA Act.

UPDATED Unreasonable and substantial diversion of agency resources
This fact sheet clarifies what may be considered an unreasonable and substantial diversion of resources and what review rights apply if an agency decides to refuse to deal with an access application.

Non-government organisation's guide to section 121 of the GIPA Act 
This fact sheet provides information to non‑government organisations (NGOs) that deliver services to the public on behalf of government agencies to assist those entities to understand how section 121 of the GIPA Act affects them.

UPDATED 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. 

UPDATED 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.

UPDATED 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.

Guideline 7: Open Data
Informs agencies about Open Data and on opening government data in NSW.

Guideline 8: Care Leavers' access to their Out-of-Home Care Records 
Highlights the public interest considerations in favour of government agencies releasing information to those who have experienced out of home care arrangements & assist agencies in their decision making.

Guideline 9: Cabinet information
Assists agencies to understand how the GIPA Act operates with respect to ‘Cabinet information’, including how to identify which information may be captured by clause 2 of Schedule 1.

Managing formal GIPA applications
A guide for agencies containing a flowchart that outlines how to work through an access application.

Quick Guide to my Responsibilities under the GIPA Act  A quick guide for public sector employees on their responsibilities under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

UPDATED Template Contract Clause – Access to information (Word)
Template clause for agencies to include in contracts with third parties regarding right of access to contractor records - GIPA Act s121. Updated Dec 2019.

UPDATED Template Contract Clause – Consultation with third parties (Word)
Template clause for agencies to include for contracts with third parties regarding consultation - GIPA Act s54. Updated Jan 2020.

UPDATED Template - Disclosure log example (Word)
Template example for agencies to record their disclosure log. Updated Dec 2019.

UPDATED Template Form - GIPA Access Application (Word)
Template for GIPA Access Applications for agencies to use and amend specific to their agency. Updated Dec 2019.

UPDATED Template Form - GIPA Access application running sheet (Word)
Running sheet for access applications for agencies. Updated Dec 2019.

UPDATED Template Form - Internal review application (Word)
Internal review application form for agencies. Updated Dec 2019.

Template Letter - Third party consultation (Word)
Consultation with a third party. 

UPDATED Template Letter - Informal release refusal decision (Word)
Template letter advising decision to refuse informal release of information request. Updated Dec 2019.

UPDATED Template Letter - Consultation with another government agency (Word)
Consultation with another governement agency letter template. Updated Dec 2019.

Template Letter - Third party advice of agency decision to release information and proposal to include disclosure log (Word)
Notice to third party of agency decision to release information including disclosure log letter template. 

Template - Notice of decision (Word)
Notice of decision template. 

GIPA Annual Reporting
Agencies should use the IPC GIPA Tool to submit their annual report data to the IPC. Agencies can also use the tool to produce PDF and MS Word reports for use in internal reporting if needed.

Agency Contract Register self-assessment checklist for agencies
This self-assessment checklist is a practical tool for an agency to ensure its published contract register is presented in compliance with the GIPA Act.

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.

UPDATED Unreasonable and substantial diversion of resources
A checklist to assist agencies with the process for advising and consulting with an access applicant where the Agency forms a view that the access application is potentially an unreasonable and substantial diversion of resources

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.

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.

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

The Contract Register and Contract Disclosures - e-learning module
The IPC has developed an e-elearning module to assist agencies to understand contract registers compliance under the GIPA Act

Public Interest Considerations (PICs) resource sheets
Agencies may wish to refer to these resources in making decisions under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). These resources are not intended as legal advice and agencies should obtain their own independent legal advice.

Advancing the objects of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW): an international comparative evaluation of measures used to promote government information release
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.

Conditions Enabling Open Data and Promoting a Data Sharing Culture 2017
This UNSW Law Report was commissioned by the NSW Information Commissioner and NSW Open Data Advocate to provide contemporary insights to support the promotion of Open Government and Open Data. To do so the Report analysed legislation, policy, regulatory settings, roles and responsibilities for leadership, culture and operations in leading jurisdictions as identified in the Open Data Barometer Report.

Brochure for agencies - Information access FAQs
Citizens' frequently asked information access questions have been compiled in this brochure, and their answers can all be found on the IPC NSW website.