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Date last emended: 12th September 2018

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), an agency is required to publish an Agency Information Guide. This guide describes the structure and functions of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), how these functions affect the public, and how the public can participate in the department's policy formulation. Additionally, the Agency Information Guide requires the inclusion of the department's categories of information and how this information can be accessed by members of the public, together with any processing charges that may be applicable.

About us

FACS supports vulnerable people and families to participate in social and economic life and build stronger communities. The FACS cluster directly supports people across New South Wales through its own services and through funding non-government organisations to deliver specialist support services.

We provide services to:

  • children and young people
  • families
  • people who are homeless
  • people with a disability, their families and carers
  • older people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our client service districts

  • Hunter New England and Central Coast
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW
  • Mid North Coast and Northern
  • Murrumbidgee, Far West and Western
  • Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains
  • Sydney, South Eastern and Northern Sydney
  • South Western Sydney

FACS divisions include:

Our work

FACS works with children and young people, adults, families and communities to improve lives and help people realise their potential.

We are the agency in NSW with statutory responsibility for protecting children and young people from risk of significant harm.

Together with our partners, particularly our government counterparts and the non-government organisations (NGOs) we fund, we work to achieve these goals by following our Strategic Plan, which sets out the FACS cluster’s visions, values and objectives:

  • children and young people are protected from abuse and neglect, and have the best possible lives
  • people with disability are supported to realise their potential
  • social housing assistance is used to break disadvantage
  • people are assisted to participate in social and economic life
  • people at risk of, and experiencing, domestic and family violence are safer
  • Aboriginal people, families and communities have better outcomes.

We will achieve our objectives by improving the way we work:

  • we put people first
  • we create local solutions tailored to meet local needs
  • we work with government, non-government and community partners to reach more people with better services
  • we build an agile and cohesive department that leads and delivers social policy reform.

Our finances

FACS’ total revenue for the 2016-17 financial year was $6.111 billion. The vast majority of income was provided through appropriation and grants ($5.767 billion) by the NSW and Commonwealth governments and through the provision of goods and services ($209.4 million).

In 2016-17, we had expenditure of $6.111 billion in delivering services across NSW and $123.1 million on capital works. Our largest category of expenditure was in the delivery of our major services and programs, including disability services, Commonwealth home and community care, State community care services, community support, out-of-home care, prevention and early intervention, statutory child protection, Aboriginal housing, homelessness services, social housing assistance and tenancy management.

Many of these programs are delivered by NGOs on our behalf. Other items of expenditure included employee-related expenses ($1.6 billion), other operating costs ($408.5 million) and depreciation and amortisation ($78.7 million).

Further details on our financial performance can be found in our latest Annual Report.

Organisational structure

FACS executive team

  • Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary
  • Deidre Mulkerin, Deputy Secretary, Commissioning
  • Paul Vevers, Deputy Secretary, Southern and Western Cluster
  • Simone Walker, Deputy Secretary, Northern Cluster
  • John Hubby, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services
  • Patricia Oxford, Acting Executive Director and Chief Executive, Aboriginal Housing Office
  • Anne Skewes, Deputy Secretary, Land and Housing Corporation
  • Gary Groves, Executive Director, Their Futures Matter.

A copy of our organisational structure is available here.

Independent statutory organisations also part of the FACS cluster

  • Aboriginal Housing Office - The Aboriginal Housing Office is focused on delivering better housing choices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW.
  • Office of the Children’s Guardian - The Office of the Children’s Guardian promotes the interests and rights of children and young people living in out-of-home care and regulates the quality of child safe organisations and services. The Office reports to the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and to Parliament.
  • Land and Housing Corporation - The NSW Land and Housing Corporation is responsible for the management of the NSW Government’s social housing portfolio.
  • Multicultural NSW – Multicultural NSW promotes community harmony and social cohesion in one of the most culturally diverse states in the world.

Location

FACS is located at:

219-241 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2016
Locked Bag 10
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
Phone: (02) 9377 6000

Open access to information

FACS will make available to you, at no cost, information on the main www.facs.nsw.gov.au website, or any of our below websites.

Information you will find available on our website includes but is not limited to:

Register of Government contracts

FACS is required to maintain a register of government contracts that records information about each contract that has, or is likely to have, a value of $150,000 or more.  Please visit the NSW eTendering website to view the register of FACS contracts.

Documents tabled in Parliament

Please visit the Parliament of New South Wales website to view a complete list of all documents tabled by FACS in Parliament.

Public participation in formulation of FACS policy

FACS is committed to a policy of consultation with clients and community partners. These include funded services, service providers, non-government organisations, local government, philanthropists, citizens, the private sector and other NSW Government agencies.

Any member of the public may participate in our policy formulation by writing to the Secretary with suggestions or raising issues that concern them or the community. Various forums have also been established to facilitate such participation, such as the NSW Government’s Have Your Say community engagement portal.

FACS welcomes feedback from members of the public, community organisations, private organisations and government agencies regarding our policies, services and publications.

Should you wish to provide feedback, please contact the relevant division directly, or you can Contact Us and we will pass your information on to the relevant divisions.

How to access information

All information outlined in this Agency Information Guide can be downloaded free of charge from our website.

Alternatively you may also contact any of our divisions.

Accessing FACS information

Access to FACS information may be considered through either formal or informal applications.

If your application relates to information about FACS or information that is held by more than one division in FACS, you may lodge a request for information online or complete a FACS application form and send it to:

The Manager

Right to Information and Subpoena Unit
Department of Family and Community Services
Locked Bag 4028
Ashfield NSW 2131

Informal access applications

In certain circumstances FACS will consider releasing information in response to an Informal Request for Information (e.g. documents relating solely to personal information concerning the applicant).

There is no requirement to complete a formal access application and there is no application fee. In accordance with the GIPA Act, FACS reserves the right to ask for a formal access application for reasons that may include public interest factors or if the work involved is excessive.

It is also important to note that FACS has no legal obligation to disclose information on an informal basis, in accordance with the GIPA Act.

Formal access applications

Applications for access to information under the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 should be in writing, accompanied by the application fee  and proof of identification. You can lodge an application online or download and complete a Formal Access Application form .

FACS will grant you a 50% reduction in your application fee if you:

  • hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card
  • are a full-time student
  • are a non-profit organisation (including a person applying for or on behalf of a non-profit organisation)
  • are suffering financial hardship.

The application fee for a formal access application that is lodged online must be paid by credit card or debit card. The application fee for a formal access application that is lodged by post must be paid by cheque or money order, made payable to the Department of Family and Community Services.

Your formal or informal application should be directed to the relevant division listed under the contact details.

Fees and charges

Nature of applications Application fee Processing charge*
Access to personal information $30 $30 per hour after the first 20 hours
Access to non-personal information $30 $30 per hour
Review of decision $40 No charge

*You may be eligible for a 50% reduction in processing charges if FACS is satisfied that you are experiencing financial hardship, or that the information applied for is of special benefit to the public.

Disclosure log

Details concerning decisions made by FACS in response to a formal access application that may be of interest to other members of the public may be included on the department’s disclosure log.

The disclosure log provides members of the public with details regarding:

  • the date the application was decided
  • a description of the information to which access was provided
  • a statement as to whether the information is now available to other members of the public
  • how the information can be accessed.

You can view the FACS disclosure log.

Information that is NOT available

There is certain information that FACS cannot release regardless of whether you lodge a formal access request. Information that will not be released is prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and may include the following:

  • Cabinet Information.
  • Executive Council Information.
  • Contempt.
  • Legal Professional Privilege.

Divisional contact details

Enquiries in relation to the administration of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 by FACS should be referred to individual divisions as outlined below:

Right to Information Officer
Aboriginal Housing Office
PO Box W5 Westfield
Parramatta NSW 2150
Phone: (02) 8836 9444
Email: ahoenquiries@facs.nsw.gov.au


Rita Peci
Manager
Right to Information and Subpoena Unit
Department of Family and Community Services
Locked Bag 4028
Ashfield NSW 2131
Phone: (02) 9716 2662
Email: facsgipa@facs.nsw.gov.au


Right to Information Officer
Multicultural NSW
PO Box 618
Parramatta NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 8255 6770
Fax: (02) 8255 6868
Email: contact@multicultural.nsw.gov.au


Right to Information Officer
NSW Office of the Children's Guardian
Level 13, 418A Elizabeth Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Telephone: (02) 9286 7724
Email: kids@kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au


Right to Information Officer
Land and Housing Corporation
Locked Bag 4009
Ashfield BC NSW 1800
Phone: (02) 8753 9063
Email: LAHC.GIPAinbox@facs.nsw.gov.au

Information and Privacy Commission NSW

The role of the Information Commissioner is to raise public awareness of the right to information laws and provide assistance, information, support and advice to government departments and the public.

The Information Commissioner has broad investigative powers and may require government departments to provide information and conduct inquiries pertinent to the administration of the GIPA Act.

The Information Commissioner conducts reviews of decisions by FACS where an applicant is aggrieved by a decision.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the Information and Privacy Commission NSW.

www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 1800 472 679

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