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. It is the seventh report of its kind. Like similar reports in other jurisdictions, it focuses on the people who make up the public sector: their capabilities, the organisational contexts in which they work, how their work is organised and how well they deliver services to the public.

How to read the data discussed in this report

This report draws on evidence from a range of sources, including the 2018 People Matter Employee Survey, the 2018 Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey and the 2018 Workforce Profile. The report also uses data from reviews and projects that have assessed components of sector workforce management and reform.

The People Matter Employee Survey

The People Matter Employee Survey (the People Matter survey) asks employees working for the NSW Government about their experiences at work, with their teams, managers and organisations. The survey is open for four weeks and provides an important opportunity for employees to have their say. In 2018, the response rate was 50.7% across the public sector (170,832 employees). Most scores are presented as a ‘percentage agreement’, which combines the number of ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ responses to a question or set of questions.

The Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey

The 2018 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 is the source of content in this report relating to customer satisfaction. The Customer survey assesses how public services are performing against important components of customer service relating to employees, values, processes and goals. It does this by measuring the satisfaction and expectations of individual consumers and business customers.

The Workforce Profile

The Workforce Profile is a comprehensive annual collection of data relating to the demographic characteristics and employment arrangements of all public sector employees. The collection is completed jointly by the Public Service Commission and all public sector agencies, and the resulting data appear throughout this report. Minor updates were made to the 2017 Workforce Profile after the publication of the State of the NSW Public Sector Report 2017. Consequently, some statistics for 2017 contained in this report differ slightly from those in the 2017 report.

The areas of government this report covers

This report addresses performance across the Public Service, government sector and public sector, which are defined below:

  • 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, as defined by the GSE Act, includes the Public Service, the Teaching Service, the NSW Health Service, the Transport Service of New South Wales, the NSW Police Force and other Crown services such as TAFE.
  • The public sector incorporates the government sector and other government agencies, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Audit Office of New South Wales, the Parliament of NSW, the Judicial Commission and State owned corporations such as water and energy companies.

The data in this report relate to the public sector unless otherwise specified.


The Commissioner would like to acknowledge the assistance of:

  • The PSC Advisory Board – Professor Peter Shergold AC (Chair), Tim Reardon, Vince Graham AM, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Sandra McPhee AM, Martin Laverty and Michael Pratt AM
  • PSC staff members who developed the report, led by Assistant Commissioner Scott Johnston, Adam Bove, Frances Parker, Aleksandra The-Tjoean and Cassandra May
  • ORC International, which conducted the People Matter survey, and the Office of the NSW Customer Service Commissioner, which conducted the Customer survey
  • the departments and agencies that supported the People Matter survey and Workforce Profile collection
  • Folk Pty Ltd and Editor Group for their expertise in designing and editing this report.

The PSC proudly acknowledges Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and their rich culture and pays respect to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge the ongoing connection that Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of these lands on which we serve.