The review process

IPART’s credibility as an independent regulator and advisor relies on the rigour of our process, the effectiveness of our determinations and the impartiality of our recommendations.
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The review process 

Since 1992 we have been using and refining a rigorous, transparent and inclusive review process. The two most important elements in this process are to actively engage with consumers and to undertake research and analysis (seeking expert advice where necessary). This approach to reviews:

  • maintains transparency
  • informs and strengthens our decisions
  • ensures genuinely impartial determinations and recommendations.

Each review is approached individually, so the process can vary in the time it takes and the scope of the questions we ask. We will publish a timetable at the outset and ensure we have allowed enough time for consumers and experts to consider and respond (subject to the timings given to us). Our determinations and recommendations must be based on evidence and this evidence is thoroughly detailed in our final reports.

We usually publish issue papers at the start of a review to explain our objectives, the criteria to be used for a determination, our proposed approach, and any known challenges that may affect our determination.

We make our methodology, models and consultant reports publicly available, subject to any confidentiality. We also conduct hearings to encourage public understanding and debate, and publish transcripts of these events as well as any agendas and accompanying materials.

IPART generally releases draft reports and draft determinations and invites comments from the public ahead of making a final determination or recommendation.

Final pricing determinations are presented to the public immediately as they are made. We publish a report on this website and issue a media release. IPART’s special investigations and licensing recommendations are submitted to the NSW Government and published at its discretion.

Review process for local government charges

IPART’s regulation of NSW local government charges follows a slightly different review process. While the methodology is equally rigorous and transparent, the responsibility for inclusiveness is shared with the affected local councils.

Every year we set the ‘rate peg’ – the percentage increase councils can apply to the income they receive from rates and annual charges. Councils are allowed to apply for a larger increase than the rate peg – known as a ‘special variation’. IPART publishes a list of councils seeking to exceed the pegged rate along with their arguments for the greater increase.

IPART expects these councils to actively engage residents in discussions about the proposed increase.  They can do this with public hearings and other community engagement tools that suit their population. IPART will consider how effective each council’s community inclusion has been before determining its application to increase charges above the set rate.

Councils need to show IPART there is:

  • community awareness of their plans
  • a demonstrated need for higher increases to charges
  • a reasonable impact on ratepayers
  • a sustainable financing strategy
  • a history of well-documented council productivity improvements.

In addition to council’s evidence, we will assess any other information we consider relevant, including letters from ratepayers, submissions from Members of Parliament and local media reports.

IPART can wholly or partially approve or reject a council’s application. Our reasons will be published and available on this website.

Evaluation and improvement

We refine and improve our review process on an ongoing basis.  One important tool in this continuous improvement is our stakeholder survey every two years.  The surveys help us identify any gaps in our process and find more ways to improve our outcomes. 

Have Your Say
IPART routinely seeks public input into our reviews via submissions, public hearings, stakeholder workshops and community surveys.
View all reviews open for submissions