Why we collect data

At the Victorian Public Sector Commission, we collect data through the People matter survey to:

  • understand the views and experiences of Victorian public sector employees
  • learn how public sector organisations engage with the public sector values and employment principles
  • support diversity and inclusion planning across public sector organisations
  • support workforce, integrity and leadership initiatives that drive positive workforce change for the whole public sector
  • provide VPS departments with data about the performance of their portfolio entities (for example, results for hospitals given to the Department of Health)
  • inform public sector and government strategies and campaigns in response to workforce issues, such as sexual harassment and bullying
  • inform workforce gender audits and gender equality actions plans that defined organisations must do under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

The survey is part of our functions under the Public Administration Act 2004 that helps us improve the performance of the public sector and deliver the best outcomes for the Victorian community.

Your participation in the survey

As an employee, it’s up to you if you want to complete the survey or not. As this is an anonymous survey, there are no consequences if you don’t do it.

You must be 18 years of age or older to do the survey.

You can choose to stop part way through the survey.

Your answers won’t be lodged unless you select the ‘submit’ button at the end of the survey.

But we encourage you to have your say, as your participation in the survey helps improve public sector organisations.

If you need support

In the survey, we ask questions about your experiences at work that may cause discomfort.

If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can:

  • pause or save and complete the survey later
  • stop the survey by closing your internet browser.

If you’d like to talk to someone or need support, you can contact your organisation’s employee assistance program.

You can also contact:

How we use your data and protect your anonymity

When you do the survey, we protect your anonymity and privacy rights in line with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and Health Records Act 2001.

We run the survey, manage the data and do all research and reporting in a way that protects your identity:

  • We send everyone in your organisation the same anonymous survey link to do the survey.
  • We don’t collect your name, date of birth or employee ID.

You can enter your email address if you start and want to continue the survey later. We’ll delete your email address at the end of the survey period and never use it.

Data we give to organisations that take part in the survey

We give public sector organisations their survey results and benchmark data to:

  • identify focus areas
  • develop action plans
  • improve how they work.

We give them data as documented reports, spreadsheets and online dashboards. The results have been combined and anonymised.

To protect your anonymity and ensure people can’t identify you in this reporting, we:

  • de-identify all data that employers get
  • de-identify individual survey responses. This means that organisations can’t identify individuals when the data is reported
  • don’t collect identifying information such as name, date of birth or employee ID
  • separate free text responses from data that will identify you – your organisation won’t know you made the comments

In addition, if we get:

  • fewer than 10 responses for teams or demographic groups, we don’t release employee experience results. For example, a demographic group is ‘men in the same salary range’ or ‘women aged 40 to 49’. An experience result is ‘90% of women aged 40 to 49 agreed their manager supports them’.
  • fewer than 30 responses from your whole organisation, we don’t give a breakdown of how many people did the survey by any demographic group.

Here is a list of what we give your organisation:


Executive summary and organisation-level reports

These provide:

  • organisation-level results across a range of indicators including employee engagement, job satisfaction, wellbeing and work-related stress
  • benchmarked survey results against similar organisations.

We deliver this report in PDF, Excel and Word formats.

Employee group (hierarchy) reports

This report has benchmarked survey results for groups, divisions or branches in an organisation.

We deliver this report in PDF, Excel and Word formats.


Organisation and Employee Group (hierarchy) dashboards

This dashboard has detailed and summary demographic results that an organisation can use to generate reporting analysis, such as heat maps and visual comparisons.

We deliver this report in an online dashboard and downloadable PDF formats.

Custom question dashboard

This dashboard has results for custom questions an organisation has asked we include in their survey.

We deliver this report in an online dashboard and downloadable PDF formats.

Free text comments dashboard and report

We only provide this dashboard to the head of your organisation.

They may authorise other members of your organisation to view the dashboard by emailing people.matter@vpsc.vic.gov.au.

To protect your privacy, we don’t link comments to any survey data that will identify the employee who wrote it.

We deliver this report in an interactive dashboard, which a user can filter by topic or keyword or download an Excel version of the data.

How we publicly release survey data

We publicly release survey data on our website to promote transparency on the strengths of organisations and where they can improve.

This includes:

  • result reports for the whole public sector and organisations
  • survey results in reports and online information about the experiences of public sector employees.

With all results we publicly release, we ensure others can’t identify individual participants.

Data we share with other parties

We share the survey results of organisations with some Victorian government agencies and departments.

This is to help them monitor the performance of organisations they oversee.

We currently share survey results with:

  • Victorian Public Service departments (for example, health service results with the Department of Health)
  • Safer Care Victoria (health service results)
  • Victorian Agency for Health Information (health service results)
  • Victorian Auditor General’s Office
  • Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector (workplace gender audit results)
  • Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (for Freedom of Information requests).

We also share data with partners such as universities, to do research in the public interest for the public sector.

We only share data to research partners when we can:

  • protect the identity of individuals
  • manage the data with a contract and in line with privacy laws.

Freedom of information requests

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, we may release organisation results in response to freedom of information requests from interested parties.

We consider each freedom of information request on its terms and in line with the law.

If a request includes documents that affect personal privacy, they may be exempt from release.

Find out how you can make a freedom of information request.

What data we collect

The survey collects personal, sensitive and health information.

In the survey, we ask questions about:

  • you and your job
  • the people you work with
  • how you feel about your organisation
  • how your job makes you feel
  • any negative behaviours you may have seen or experienced.

At the end of the survey, we ask you information about your: 

  • age
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • disability
  • cultural background
  • caring responsibilities.

You can select ‘prefer not to say’ in response to all demographic questions.

We don’t use any information we collect to identify anyone’s survey responses.

Take care not to identify yourself or others in any responses you write yourself.

Why we collect this data

The public sector uses this information to find out how diverse groups of employees view aspects of their workplace.

This includes things like equal employment opportunity, discrimination, fair and reasonable treatment and how inclusive workplaces are.

You can choose if you want to do the survey to share your workplace experiences. There are no consequences if you don’t do the survey.

How we collect, store and manage your data

We use Qualtrics to run the survey and securely collect, store and manage your data.

We do this in line with our contract with Qualtrics and its obligations under Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and Health Records Act 2001.

We maintain a copy of the data in Qualtrics, which is securely stored in a Victorian data centre.

At the end of our contract with Qualtrics, we’ll delete the data stored in Qualtrics.

We tightly control and restrict survey information access to nominated people.

How to access and change personal information

To access or change the information you enter in the survey, email us at people.matter@vpsc.vic.gov.au.

You can’t change your survey responses after the survey period has closed.

Due to the safeguards we have in place to protect your anonymity, we may not be able to retrieve your survey response.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the People matter survey or how we handle your data, email us at people.matter@vpsc.vic.gov.au.