About this report

The State of the NSW Public Sector Report is the Public Service Commissioner’s independent assessment of the performance, notable achievements, challenges and priorities of the NSW public sector. This edition, Progress, is the Public Service Commissioner’s sixth report.

How to read the data discussed in this report

This report draws on additional evidence from a range of sources, including the 2017 People Matter Employee Survey (the Employee Survey), the 2017 NSW whole-of-government Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey (the Customer Survey) and the 2017 NSW Workforce Profile. The report also uses data from previous sector-wide Employee and Agency Surveys, and specific reviews and projects that assessed components of sector workforce management and reform.

The Employee Survey

The People Matter Employee Survey asks those currently working for the NSW Government about their experiences at work, including working with their team, managers and organisations. The survey provides an important opportunity for employees to give feedback about their workplace, by agreeing or disagreeing with a series of statements. Information gathered via this survey is the source of references in this report to what ‘employees said’, noting this relates only to survey respondents. Most scores relate to a percentage ‘agree’ response that combines the number of ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ answers to questions.

The Customer Survey

The 2017 NSW whole-of-government Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey (the Customer Survey), delivered by the NSW Customer Service Commissioner, supports the government’s focus on areas in which customer service can be improved. It assesses how public services are performing against important components of customer services relating to employee values, processes and goals. It does this by measuring the satisfaction and expectations of individual consumers and business customers. It is the source for content in this report referring to customer satisfaction.

The NSW Workforce Profile

The NSW Workforce Profile is a comprehensive annual collection of data about the demographic characteristics and employment arrangements of all public sector employees. The survey is completed jointly by the PSC and all public sector agencies, and the resulting data appears throughout this report.

Public sector agencies classify roles according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO ABS Cat No 1220.0) minor group category. For example, ‘tertiary education teachers’, as discussed in ‘changing the nature of jobs’, is an ANZSCO minor group category that includes employees who educate tertiary students in one or more subjects within a prescribed course of study at universities, polytechnics, technical and further education (TAFE) institutes and other vocational training providers.

Which services does this report cover?

This report addresses performance across the Public Service, Government Sector and public sector:

  • The Public Service includes those employed under Part 4 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW) (GSE Act) in the service of the Crown.
  • The Government Sector is defined by the GSE Act to include the Public Service, as well as the Teaching Service, the Health Service, the Transport Service, the Police Force and other Crown services such as TAFE.
  • The public sector is all of the Government Sector, as well as agencies such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Audit Office of New South Wales, Parliament NSW, the Judicial Commission, and State-owned corporations such as water and energy companies.

Some data relates only to specific elements of the public sector, which is clearly identified in context. For example, progress against the Premier’s Priority to Drive Public Sector Diversity relates only to Government Sector agencies.


The Commissioner would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following:

  • The Public Service Commission Advisory Board – Professor Peter Shergold AC (Chair), Blair Comley PSM, Vince Graham AM, Martin Laverty, Susan Lloyd Hurwitz, Sandra McPhee AM, Michael Pratt AM, and Rob Whitfield (until June 2017).
  • Staff members of the Public Service Commission who developed the report, led by Scott Johnston, Siobhan Brahe, Kent Norton, Alpna Malik and Eliza Quinert.
  • ORC International and the Office of the Customer Service Commissioner, which provided data for the Employee and Customer Surveys respectively.
  • The various departments and other agencies that supported the Employee Survey, Agency Survey and NSW Workforce Profile data collections.
  • Editor Group and Folk for their expertise in editing and designing the report.