Mandatory Ethical Principles for the use of AI

Community benefit

AI should deliver the best outcome for the citizen, and key insights into decision-making

AI must be the most appropriate solution for a service delivery or policy problem. It should always be considered against other analysis and policy tools. AI should be the best solution that maximises the benefit for the customer and for government.

Projects should clearly demonstrate:

  • that a clear community or government benefit or insight will be delivered
  • that other solutions have been considered and ruled-out because they will not realise the benefits of an AI solution.
  • that the use of the AI solution aligns with NSW Government priorities and/or the agency’s strategic plans.


 Use of AI will include safeguards to manage data bias or data quality risks 

The best use of AI will depend on data quality and relevant data. It will also rely on careful data management to ensure potential data biases are identified and appropriately managed. AI solutions that rely on sub-optimal quality data may result in sub-optimal project outcomes and recommendations. Algorithms that contain systemic and repeatable errors may lead to prejudiced decisions or outcomes.

Projects should clearly demonstrate:

  • a data model that is designed with a focus on diversity and inclusion
  • use of a dataset that is representative for the problem to be solved
  • regular monitoring of data models and outputs.

Privacy and security

AI will include the highest levels of assurance 

NSW citizens must have confidence that data used for AI projects is used safely and securely, and in a way that is consistent with privacy, data sharing and information access requirements. Any project outcome will be undermined by lack of public trust if there is any risk of a data breach or that personal data could be compromised.

Projects should clearly demonstrate:

  • incorporation of privacy by design principles
  • how information privacy, including potential for reidentification, and cyber security risks have been addressed
  • agreement on the consent for data use, with sufficient information provided on how the data will be used to ensure informed consent
  • that a rigorous assurance process against each of the five Ethical Policy Principles has been successfully completed.


Review mechanisms will ensure citizens can question and challenge AI-based outcomes

Not only must the people of NSW have high levels of assurance that data is being used safely and in accordance with relevant legislation, they must also have access to an efficient and transparent review mechanism if there are questions about the use of data or AI-informed outcomes. The development of AI solutions must be robust technically, legally and ethically. The community should be engaged on the objectives of AI projects and insights into data use and methodology should be made publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest in not doing so.

Projects should clearly demonstrate:

  • a publicly available project objective and planned outcomes
  • how the public can question and seek reviews of AI-based decisions
  • how the community can get insights into data use and methodology
  • how the community will be informed of changes to an AI solution, including where existing technology is adapted for another purpose.


Decision-making remains the responsibility of organisations and individuals

AI is a powerful tool for analysing and looking for patterns in large quantities of data, undertaking high-volume routine process work, or making recommendations based on complex information. However, AI-based functions and decisions must always be subject to human review and intervention.

Projects should clearly demonstrate:

  • that the agency remains responsible for all AI-informed decisions and will monitor them accordingly
  • that human intervention in decision-making and accountability in service delivery are key factors
  • that AI projects are overseen by individuals with the relevant expertise in the technology and its benefits and risks
  • that a review and assurance process has been put in place for both the development of the AI solution and its outcomes.