FACS Agency Information Guide

Date last amended: 16 May 2017

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) , each NSW Government department and agency is required to publish an annual 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:

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

Our client service Districts

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

FACS divisions include:

Our work

We are committed to achieving the NSW Government targets and ambitions as outlined in the NSW 2021: A plan to make NSW number one. We measure our performance against these targets through indicators which we monitor and review regularly to improve our services.

Further information on our performance can be found in the NSW 2021 Performance Reports.

Our work is broad and challenging. Our objectives for 2014-16 are:

  • Children and young people are protected from abuse and neglect.
  • 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 the FACS Strategic Statement.

Our finances

In 2014-15 we had expenditure of $5.507 billion in delivering services across NSW and $207.4 million on capital works. Our largest category of expenditure was in the delivery of our major services and programs including the 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 non-government organisations (NGOs) on our behalf. Other items of expenditure included employee- related expenses ($1.732 billion), other operating costs ($412.7 million) and depreciation and amortisation ($88.1 million).

Further details on our financial performance can be found in the latest FACS 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
  • David de Carvalho is the Deputy Secretary, Strategic Reform and Policy
  • Maree Walk is the Deputy Secretary, Programs and Service Design
  • Paul Vevers is the Deputy Secretary, Southern Cluster
  • Chris Leach is the Deputy Secretary, Northern Cluster
  • Deidre Mulkerin is the Deputy Secretary, Western Cluster
  • Jim Longley is the Deputy Secretary, Ageing, Disability and Home Care
  • Michael Woodhouse, is the Acting 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 www.facs.nsw.gov.au website or any of the following divisional websites:

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
  • Ministerial Travel

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. www.facs.nsw.gov.au.

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, this is in accordance with the GIPA Act 2009.

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. (see below if you are eligible for a 50% reduction in the application fee).

You will also need to provide a certified 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 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 access disclosure logs on FACS divisional websites, or via this document.

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

FACS
Rita Peci
Manager
Right to Information Unit
Locked Bag 4028
Ashfield NSW 2131
Ph: (02) 8753 9400
Fax: (02) 8753 8233
Email: rita.peci@facs.nsw.gov.au

NSW Land and Housing Corporation
Anke Gibbons
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.