FACS Agency Information Guide

Date last amended: 8 August 2017

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), each NSW Government department and agency is required to publish an Agency Information Guide. The information in 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 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 Northen
  • 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 Statement, 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.

Further information about our objectives and the way we work can be found in our Strategic Statement.

Our finances

FACS’ total revenue for the 2015-16 financial year was $5.998 billion. The vast majority of income was provided through appropriation and grants ($5.660 billion) by the NSW and Commonwealth governments and through the provision of goods and services ($337.9 million).

In 2015–16, we had expenditure of $6.278 billion in delivering services across NSW and $198.2 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 ($1.923 billion), other operating costs ($424.1 million) and depreciation and amortisation ($82.5 million).

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

Organisational structure

  • The Hon. Pru Goward MP is the Minister for Family and Community Services, Minister for Social Housing, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  • The Hon. Tanya Davies MP is the Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for Ageing
  • The Hon. Ray Williams MP is the Minister for Multiculturalism, and Minister for Disability Services
  • Michael Coutts-Trotter is the Secretary of the Department of Family and Community Services
  • Deidre Mulkerin is the Deputy Secretary, Commissioning
  • Paul Vevers is the Deputy Secretary, Southern and Western Cluster
  • Simone Walker is the Acting Deputy Secretary, Northern Cluster
  • Jim Longley is the Deputy Secretary, Ageing, Disability and Home Care
  • John Hubby is the Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services
  • Shane Hamilton is the Executive Director and Chief Executive, Aboriginal Housing Office
  • Anne Skewes is the Deputy Secretary, Land and Housing Corporation.

A copy of our organisational structure is available here.

Location

FACS is located at:

219-241 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2016

Locked Bag 10
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012

Phone: (02) 9377 6000
Email: facsinfo@facs.nsw.gov.au

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:

  • Aboriginal Housing Office
  • The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) is governed by an all-Aboriginal Board, which provides advice to the Minister for Housing on Aboriginal housing issues in NSW.

    In addition, the AHO manages and coordinates an annual capital works program, along with developing and implementing financial and resourcing strategies.

  • Ageing, Disability and Home Care
  • FACS Ageing, Disability and Home Care (FACS ADHC) aims to provide better and more integrated services for vulnerable client groups in NSW.

    FACS ADHC is responsible for providing services and support to:

    • older people
    • people with a disability
    • their families and carers.
  • Community Services
  • FACS Community Services (FACS CS) delivers services to some of the most disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in NSW. FACS CS enables or assists vulnerable people to participate fully in social and economic life and build stronger, more sustainable inclusive communities.

    FACS CS’ main focus is on supporting vulnerable families and keeping children and young people safe from abuse and neglect. We work closely with other government departments, non-government organisations and the community to achieve this.

  • Housing NSW
  • FACS Housing (FACS Housing) is one of the largest providers of social housing in the world, providing a range of housing solutions to meet the needs of today’s community. In partnership with the community, industry and individuals, FACS Housing provides safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for those most in need so that they can live with dignity, find support if needed and achieve sustainable futures.

  • Land and Housing Corporation
  • The NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) is responsible for the management of the NSW Government’s social housing portfolio.  LAHC is a Public Trading Enterprise established in 2001 under the Housing Act 2001and operates under the portfolio and direction of the Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Social Housing.  LAHC and FACS work together to achieve a unified administration of the Act.

    LAHC owns and manages land, buildings and other assets within the social housing portfolio, which comprises some 130,000 properties valued at over $35 billion.

The type of information you will find available on these websites includes but is not limited to:

  • Annual reports
  • Brochures
  • Codes of conduct and statements of business ethics
  • Contact details
  • Fact Sheets
  • Media releases
  • Newsletters
  • Policies
  • Reports tabled in Parliament
  • Research and data reports
  • Child protection reports
  • FACS Statistics webpage
  • FACS Statistics provides the most comprehensive collection of key data released to date in one convenient location.  FACS Statistics helps us meet our commitment to transparency, accountability and open data sharing with our clients, partners, the media and the NSW public.

  • Open Data
  • Data.NSW brings together a list of NSW Government datasets available in one searchable website.  The NSW Government aims to make data more accessible to the public and to industry to stimulate innovative approaches to service delivery.

    FACS publishes an array of information on the Data NSW website and can be accessed at Data NSW.

  • Expected Waiting Times Overview
  • Ministerial Travel
    • Minister Hazzard - United States
    • Minister Ajaka - Japan
    • Minister Goward – New Zealand
    • Minister Davies – No overseas travel has been undertaken
    • Minister Williams – No overseas travel has been undertaken

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 send an email to facsinfo@facs.nsw.gov.au and we will pass your information on to the relevant divisions.

How to access our 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 complete a FACS application form and send it to:

Right to Information 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 (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 $30 application fee in the form of a cheque or money order made able to FACS.

You will also need to provide a copy of proof of identification. If any of the following applies to you FACS will grant you a 50% reduction in your application fee:

  • 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, or
  • Are applying for information that is of special benefit to the public.

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 records $30 $30 per hour after the first 20 hours
Access to non-personal records $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 divisions in response to an application that may be of interest to other members of the public may be included on a disclosure log.

FACS division disclosure logs provide details of:

  • 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, and
  • 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 includes the following:

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

Divisional Contact details

Inquiries in relation to the administration of the GIPA Act 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
Ph: (02) 8836 9444
Email: ahoenquiries@facs.nsw.gov.au

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

Anke Gibbons
Land and Housing Corporation
Locked Bag 4009
Ashfield BC NSW 1800
Ph: (02) 8753 9416
Email: anke.gibbons@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 at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au or 1800 472 679.