Data & Information

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Why data and information are important 

Data and information are critical assets that drive accountability, enable deep insights and inform decisions. The NSW Government promotes the use of data and information to improve its services and to benefit its citizens. You can learn about the key terms here.

While your agency may have its own data and information requirements, here is an overview of key information and data legislation that impacts the whole sector.


Information Management

In NSW Government, information management is a key component of the digital transformation of government.



Information Management Framework

The IMF outlines a shared direction for information management in the NSW public sector.

The Information Management Framework is a practical tool to help agencies govern, harness, manage, protect, use and reuse information and data in their digital transformation initiatives.

The purpose of the IMF is to:

  • Coordinate management of all forms of government information.
  • Drive information access and sharing across the sector.
  • Increase management of information as an asset.
  • Foster information maturity and capacity.
  • Consolidate and share knowledge.
  • Build community trust in government information management.

NSW Government Information Classification, Handling and Labelling Guidelines

These guidelines help agencies identify the confidentiality requirements of their information assets and apply suitable protective markings.

The Guidelines have been developed to:

  • provide a consistent and structured approach to the classification and labelling of sensitive information to be used by all NSW agencies
  • allow for integration between the existing sensitive information labels in NSW and the information security classification markings used by the Australian Government
  • provide guidance for NSW agencies in transitioning to the system outlined in the Guidelines
  • assist agencies in identifying security classified or sensitive information, and in applying appropriate protective markings to this information
  • clarify where classification and labelling systems overlap
  • encourage better practices in protective security procedures by all NSW agencies



NSW Data and Information Custodianship Policy

This defines a set of principles for the management and maintenance of the State's core data and information assets.

This policy directs the development, implementation and management of data and information custodianship roles and responsibilities, and the formal arrangements that create those roles and responsibilities, for the NSW public sector.



Open Data

NSW government open data is data that is publicly available for anyone to use, for any reason.  The NSW Government is committed to the release of open data to support transparency, innovation and new knowledge and insights from combined data sources when it is safe to do so.



Data NSW

The release of open data is a key component of government transparency, accountability and innovation.

Data NSW brings together thousands of NSW Government open datasets into one searchable website. Many NSW agencies also host their own data portals, including:



Making more government data available as open data is a key commitment of NSW government and a driver of the NSW digital economy.

By providing data to the public, NSW government:

  • Improves transparency and accountability.
  • Empowers citizens.
  • Provides a platform for innovation.

The NSW government is excited to see how citizens and industry will continue to make use of government data in innovative and exciting ways.




NSW Open Data Policy

The NSW Open Data Policy supports NSW government agencies to make NSW government data publicly available for anyone to use.

Open data promotes government transparency, informs decisions and helps to build digital products and services.

The NSW Open Data Policy assists NSW government agencies to:

  • Release data for use by the community, research, business and industry.
  • Accelerate the use of data to derive new insights for better public services.
  • Embed open data into business-as-usual.
  • Use data to inform the design of policy, programs and procurement.
  • Support the use of data by the NSW Data Analytics Centre for research and evidence-based decision making.
  • Advance citizen engagement with government and the work of government.
  • Support the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act) and promote simple and efficient compliance with the requirements set out in that Act.


Make Open Data Safe

The release of open data is a key component of government transparency, accountability and innovation, but open data must never contain personal or sensitive information. This guide provides advice on identifying whether safeguarding methods are required to support open data release.

Data released to the public must not identify an individual or small groups of people, must not contain sensitive information, or include data that could trigger, create or contribute to a threat, issue, breach or vulnerability. To help agencies determine if their data contains sensitivities, this guide provides advice on:

  • Identifying whether safeguarding methods are required to support open data release.
  • Selecting appropriate de-identification or de-sensitisation methods.

Open data checklist  

This page provides a quick summary of the key things agencies need to release open data.  

Releasing open data does not need to be complicated. This guide outlines the essential features of open data release. 


Making open data BAU

This guide contains a range of advice on the levers to pull to make open data release a business as usual activity in NSW government agencies.

Agency policy, practice, leadership and culture should contribute to open data release. There are a range of small changes that can be made in each of these areas to better enable open data release. This guide includes a range of practical techniques and advice for making open data release a more business as usual activity.


High Value Datasets

This page provides a checklist of some of the key characteristics of data that should be prioritised for release as open data. It supports data owners to identify the most useful, timely and important data for public release.

It can be hard for agencies to know which data they can and should release as open data. This guide lists a number of characteristics of the types of data that would be valuable as open data, to help agencies kick start their open data release. 


Making data available through APIs

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable agencies to efficiently share and release data. This guide is designed to help agencies prioritise the development of APIs.

Releasing data via APIs can make open data release seamless and can provide real time data for users to use in products and services. This guide and checklist helps agencies to determine which of their data could be suitable for releasing via API and gives an overview of the process of creating APIs.


Stakeholder Engagement - Open Data  

This page provides guidance on working with data users and the community to improve the quality, quantity and relevance of open data.

Effective stakeholder engagement on issues like dataset design, data quality and open data release will help to improve open data publication and will maximise the value of government open data release. 


Measuring open data maturity

Agencies that want to build their open data culture and maturity can use these self assessment tools to build organisational capability or to improve the machine processability of their open data.  

Agencies needing advice on practical tips for building open data maturity can use these tools to help improve their practices. 


Data Quality Reporting Tool

This tool helps:

  • Generate data quality statements for when data is released
  • Meet the NSW Standard for Data Quality Reporting

When sharing or opening data, it’s important to provide clear information about the data’s quality and history.


Shared Data

NSW Government Shared Data describes data that is distributed and accessed by different parties, subject to agreed terms of use.  Usually, terms of use are put in place because the data may pose risks. The terms of use may relate to the restrictions on who can access the data, how it can be used, where it can be accessed, the project purpose and any conclusions drawn from the data. 



Requesting an agency’s data

This page helps you understand how to request data from a NSW Government agency.

NSW Government agencies need to follow specific steps to request data from another agency.


Responding to agency requests

This page helps you understand how to respond to data request from a NSW Government agency.

NSW Government agencies need to follow specific steps to respond to data requests from another NSW agency.


Spatial Data

Spatial data describes the shape and location of features and boundaries such as natural landmarks, buildings, survey marks, land parcels, street addresses and local government areas. Digital spatial data has become a vital tool for people who need information on land, the environment, transport, communications, utility services and demographics. It is also used in everyday life through services such as GPS and online navigation.  Spatial Services is a division of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. It is the key provider of spatial data and services for NSW and contributes towards a Digital Government. 



Throughout NSW, Australia and internationally the following products and services are available:

This data is available via the Spatial Services Portal. The following Information Sheets on spatial products and services are available, including:



Spatial data, products and services are used for a variety of purposes including: land management, state economic and social development and providing government services to the community, such as event and emergency management. 


Skills and Services

Data enables government decision makers to make increasingly informed decisions. Using data to inform policy and service design can help deliver better services, increase community participation, government transparency and economic opportunity.



The Data Skills pages bring together a broad range of data learning resources to support NSW Government employees improve their data capability. These pages will evolve over time to provide a growing set of learning materials on specific topics.

Access to data and use of data related skills help government agencies develop and deliver better services.



CSIRO’s Data61 is Australia’s largest data innovation organisation and has a track record in providing effective solutions to complex government problems. NSW Government agencies can easily engage Data61 to help solve challenges, find efficiencies and innovate under the a three year agreement between DFSI and Data61.

An applied R&D partner, Data61 can draw on deep capability in a range of data-focused disciplines to scope and develop new solutions to challenging problems, or support future-focused decision making.


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