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Mapping automated decision-making tools in administrative decision-making in NSW

Focus Areas: Social Services
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Completed

The project is a partnership between ADM+S and the New South Wales Ombudsman to map and analyse the use of automated systems in state and local government sectors in New South Wales (NSW). The project follows from a ground-breaking report on the use of technology in government decision-making published by the NSW Ombudsman in 2022.

The project will first map where and how NSW state and local government agencies are using automated systems in administrative decision processes. This is the first attempt to undertake such a systematic mapping in any jurisdiction in Australia and one of the very few attempts across the world. This first stage, led by Prof Paul Henman, Chief Investigator at ADM+S, and Dr Lyndal Sleep, Research Fellow at ADM+S, will distribute questionnaires and conduct targeted interviews with NSW state and local government agencies; building on the work from the ‘Mapping ADM in Australian Social Services’ project which mapped the use of automated systems in social security settings in Australia.

The second part of the research will be led by ADM+S Chief Investigator Prof Kimberlee Weatherall, and ADM+S Research Fellow Dr José-Miguel Bello y Villarino, which will analyse the different systems planned and in use by NSW public authorities, and the key risks and issues that emerge.

Researchers from ADM+S and Macquarie University will contribute to different legal and technical elements of the project.

The NSW Ombudsman will table a report to NSW Parliament with the findings of the research by the end of 2023.


This project culminated in the release of ‘Automated decision-making in New South Wales: mapping and analysis of the use of ADM systems by State and Local governments’, a report published in partnership with ADM+S and the New South Wales Ombudsman.

The report findings were presented as evidence during the first hearing of the NSW Artificial Intelligence Inquiry at Parliament House in Canberra on 8 March 2024.

Listen to Chief Researcher Prof Paul Henman on the ADM+S Podcast.


Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Researcher, University of Sydney

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Researcher, UQ

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José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Dr José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Principal Researcher, University of Sydney

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C. Allan

Principal Project Officer, NSW Ombudsman’s Office

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K. Whitworth

Senior Project Officer, NSW Ombudsman’s Office

Lyndal Sleep profile picture

Dr Lyndal Sleep

Associate Researcher,
Central Queensland University

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Jenny van der Arend

Dr Jenny van der Arend

Senior Research Assistant, UQ

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Jeffrey Chan

Assoc Prof Jeffrey Chan

Associate Researcher

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Terry Carney

Prof Terry Carney

Senior Researcher, University of Sydney

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Scarlet Wilcock

Dr Scarlet Wilcock

Associate Researcher, University of Sydney

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Rita Matulionyte

Dr Rita Matulionyte

Associate Researcher, Macquarie University

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Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas

Dist. Prof Julian Thomas

Advisory Board Member, RMIT University

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NSW Ombudsman

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