The AI User Guide will assist NSW public sector agencies on the use of AI solutions to ensure its use by government is trusted by the public, meets the highest assurance standards and is focused on the customer.
Consistent with the NSW Government AI principles, the AI User Guide provides practical guidance to help organisations design, plan, implement and manage AI solutions including:
- advice on standards, legislative and policy obligations
- tools and templates agencies can use to help effectively plan, design, implement and manage an AI-enabled project
- guidance on where and how to access additional and specialist advice.
This Guide is a practical “how-to” guide for NSW Government agencies wanting to use AI to improve customer service delivery in a way that builds and maintains public trust. The Guide outlines the steps needed to provide citizens with confidence that AI systems are outcomes-based, reviewable, use data appropriately, respect privacy and are consistent with NSW legislation.
This Guide is designed to:
- Support the use of AI while providing guidance on best practice and risks,
- Encourage innovative approaches to service delivery and decision-making; and
- Build understanding and capability across government.
It is part of a suite of materials for guiding NSW Government in relation to uptake and use of AI solutions:
- AI Policy: Sets out the definitions of AI and principles that all government agencies deploying AI are required to adhere to.
- AI Strategy: Outlines a vision for the use of AI in government, supported by clear commitments that will help build maturity and assurance in the use of this emerging technology.
- AI User Guide: Assists agencies in the planning and design, procuring, deploying and providing assurance in relation to AI solutions.
The AI Policy and User Guide are binding on NSW Government agencies and is mandatory through NSW Circular DCS-XXX.
As part of the AI Policy, agencies are required to abide by the following principles:
- Community benefit - AI should deliver the best outcome for the citizen, and key insights into decision-making
- Fairness - Use of AI will include safeguards to manage data bias or data quality risks
- Privacy and security - AI will include the highest levels of assurance
- Transparency - review mechanisms will ensure citizens can question and challenge AI-based outcomes
- Accountability – decision-making remains the responsibility of organisations and individuals
The AI Strategy, Policy Statement and User Guide are located at Digital.NSW.
The diversity of potential AI applications of AI makes it impossible to provide prescriptive guidance for every AI system.
This Guide focuses on AI applied in a service delivery setting. It provides advice and recommendations for where to find additional information.
Implementing a successful AI system requires strong technical expertise. This Guide is a starting point – it provides foundational level AI knowledge to enable users to have informed conversations with the relevant experts.
This Guide aims to be a useful reference material and guide to a range of audiences:
- Project teams within NSW Government agencies who are planning or currently implementing AI systems.
- Decision makers and executive governance bodies who oversee and approve the AI systems being developed and deployed.
- Internal reviewers and auditors of AI systems.
Relationships to NSW Government policies
This Guide refers to other NSW Government policies, frameworks and tools that provide context and information relevant to AI. This policy is not intended to override existing agency policies and standards.
It is important that subject matter experts are engaged to provide guidance on any organisation-specific policies and standards.
Maintaining this guide
This Guide is a living document. It will be regularly updated as AI evolves, opportunities and risks are better understood, standards develop, and AI maturity across NSW Government grows.
A note about standards
A range of standards at State, National and International levels are referred to in this User Guide.
Work has already begun to develop global standards that specifically relate to the deployment of AI, but which are not yet fully completed, ratified or published. The Guide will refer to development or discussion material that associated standards bodies have made available for consideration.
Over the life of this Guide, such references will be updated with the final published standard, along with confirmation of the standard’s status in an Australian context (i.e. whether the standard in question has been formally adopted as an Australian standard or remains guidance material for agencies to draw on).
The range of issues to be covered in the User Guide, which NSW Government agencies will need to consider across all stages of a project that involves the use of AI, relate to the key considerations outlined below.
As best practice, project leaders and policy makers will review and address each of these considerations as part of the first steps in any AI project design process, and as part of any review of an existing AI solution.
The following are key stages to consider before implementing an AI solution. These considerations are present in each of the stages of developing an AI solution covered in this Guide: