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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 Report. It also uses data from reviews and projects that have assessed the capability and performance of the sector.

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, usually towards the end of the financial year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 survey was open from 19 October to 13 November.

Most of the Health cluster did not participate in the 2020 survey due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant there were around 80,000 fewer respondents than in 2019, a decrease of 44%.

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.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey

The Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey (CSMS), conducted by the Customer Experience Unit in the Department of Customer Service, tracks customer satisfaction with government services. The CSMS provides a holistic view of customer experience, benchmarking satisfaction with NSW Government services against those in other jurisdictions (for example, Victoria and South Australia) and industries (for example, airlines and banks). It captures data at a whole-of-sector level across 22 NSW Government services. The CSMS helps to identify areas requiring the most effort to improve customer satisfaction.

Workforce Profile

The Workforce Profile is a comprehensive annual data collection relating to the demographic characteristics and employment arrangements of all public sector employees. The Public Service Commission (PSC) and all public sector agencies jointly complete the collection. 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. For 2020, the census date was 25 June.

Areas of government this report covers

This report discusses the performance of the Public Service, government sector and public sector, which are defined as the following:

  • 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 of New South Wales 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 – Chris Lamb, Emilie Priday, Adam Bove, Nicholas Di Michele, Joshua Bird, Andrew Novak and Lisa Stewart
  • the PSC Advisory Board – Sandra McPhee AM (Chair), Vince Graham AM, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Jordan O’Reilly, Tim Reardon and Michael Pratt AM
  • the Customer Experience Unit in the Department of Customer Service 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
  • Editor Group and Metro Graphics for their expertise in editing and designing, respectively, this report.

The PSC advises that this resource may contain images or names of deceased persons and links to sites that may also use historical content, photographs, film or audio recordings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed away.