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Public Service Commission

About this report

The State of the NSW Public Sector Report is the Public Service Commissioner’s independent assessment of the performance of the NSW public sector. It discusses the sector’s achievements and priorities, plus the challenges it faces in delivering positive and enduring outcomes for the people of NSW.

How to read the data discussed in this report

This report draws on evidence from a range of sources, including the People Matter Employee Survey, the Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey and the Workforce Profile. It also uses data from reviews and projects that have assessed the capability and performance of the sector.

Data for the 2018/2019 financial year (referred to as 2019 in this report) are mostly presented in a way that reflects the new eight-cluster structure of the NSW public sector, even though the machinery of government changes did not come into full effect until 1 July 2019. This allows more relevant discussion, and will enable this report to serve as a benchmark for subsequent years.

The People Matter Employee Survey

The People Matter Employee Survey (People Matter survey) asks NSW public sector employees about their experiences at work, with their teams, managers and leaders, and in their organisations more broadly. The survey is open for four weeks – in 2019, it was accessible from 30 May to 28 June – and provides an important opportunity for employees to have their say. Most of the survey results are presented as ‘per cent positive’ or ‘per cent agreement’, which combines the number of ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ responses to a question or set of questions.

The Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey

The Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey (CSMS), conducted by the NSW Customer Service Commission, provides a rigorous measure by which to assess progress against the Premier’s Priority of improving customer satisfaction with government services. The CSMS provides a holistic view of customer experience, comparing satisfaction with NSW Government services to that in other jurisdictions (for example, Victoria and New Zealand) and in other industries (for example, airlines and banks). The CSMS captures data at a whole-of-sector level and across 23 specific NSW public sector services. It helps to identify the areas requiring most effort to improve customer satisfaction.

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 (PSC) and all public sector agencies, and the resulting data appear throughout this report. The census date is the last payday of the financial year, and the census period is the two weeks leading up to and including the census date. The data in this report are for the census date unless otherwise specified. In 2019, the census date was 27 June.

The areas of government this report covers

This report discusses the performance of 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 the TAFE Commission.
  • 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:

  • PSC staff members who developed this report, led by Scott Johnston, Emilie Priday, Adam Bove, Andrew Novak, Shirley-Ann Ujhazy, Annaliese Hickie, Angela Stuart, Samuel Baburin and Aimee Cassels
  • the PSC Advisory Board – Professor Peter Shergold AC (Chair), Sandra McPhee AM, Vince Graham, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Jordan O’Reilly, Tim Reardon and Michael Pratt AM
  • ORC International for its work on the People Matter survey, and the NSW Customer Service Commission for its work on the CSMS
  • NSW public sector agencies for supporting the People Matter survey and Workforce Profile collection, and for sharing their stories
  • Folk, King Creatives and Editor Group for their expertise in designing and editing this report.

The PSC wishes to advise that this document may contain names and images of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away. It also contains links to sites that may use images of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.