Automated decision-making in the public sector

Information and resources to assist agencies considering the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other automated technologies for decision-making functions.

AI and other technologies are increasingly capable of assisting or even replacing human decision-making in many areas. The use of such technology by government agencies may offer some benefits. These may include the potential for more efficient and consistent decisions.

However, there can also be significant risks. These include large-scale legal risks. Whatever technology is used, decision-making by government agencies must always comply with Administrative Law and good administrative conduct requirements. It must also comply with laws relating to privacy, data protection, anti-discrimination and others that all need to be thoroughly considered.

The Ombudsman can receive and investigate complaints if automated decision-making (ADM) systems have been designed or used by government agencies improperly, or if they may be leading to unlawful, unjust or unreasonable decisions.

Any proposal to introduce new technology or processes to (fully or partially) automate a decision-making process must be carefully designed and planned.

Administrative Law and automated-decision making

How Administrative Law relates to automated decision-making systems.

Implementing automated decision-making systems

What to consider when introducing or reviewing automated decision-making (ADM) systems in your agency.


The new machinery of government: using machine technology in administrative decision-making

Format PDF

Author, Date - NSW Ombudsman, 29 November 2021

Size 3.13 MB


The new  machinery of government - using machine technology in administrative decision-making report describes the increasing use of machine technologies in government decision-making processes. In NSW, agencies are known to be using machine technologies in the areas of fines enforcement, policing, child protection and driver licence suspensions.