The Department of Services was established in January 1975 as a result of the Machinery of Government review. The new Department provided a range of services to Government and its clients. While the Department continued to deliver many of the services supplied by the recently abolished Chief Secretary's department it also took responsibility for a range of services transferred from other government agencies affected by the review of government. Throughout its history the department was characterised by the addition of new responsibilities of a varied nature.
Initially the major activities of the department included -
a) The conduct of elections, registration of auctioneers and agents, the issue of licenses for theatres and halls, animal boarding establishments, and speedways. These responsibilities had previously been those of the Secretariat and Licensing Division of the former Chief Secretary’s Department.
b) The provision of printing services (Government Printing Office), the supply of stores and equipment (Government Stores), and computer services (Automatic Data Processing Services) from Treasury.
c) The maintenance and repair of motor vehicles (Government Motor Garage) from Public Works.
d) The delivery of documents and Government mail (Letter Delivery Bureau) from Lands.
e) The registration of births, deaths and marriages (Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages) from Justice (1)
From 12 July 1976 the Government Information and Sales Centre assumed the responsibility for the operation of the Sales section of the Government Printing Office (2).
The Publishing Advisory Service was established within the Department of Services in September 1976, following transfer of part of the personnel of the former Division of Communications form the Premiers Department. The Publishing Advisory Service provided services in the areas of publicity, product promotion, and publishing to government agencies (3).
On 31 August 1976 Cabinet approved the establishment of a Government Courier Service (4) which was also managed by the Department
From January 1977 the Industrial Engineering Group was transferred from the Public Service Board’s Management Consultancy Division to the Department of Services. The Group consists of a small number of specialist officers skilled in organisation reviews, production control systems, factory and office layout, warehousing and supervisory training (5).
A Division of Animal Welfare was established in October 1978 being responsible for a pilot scheme for the desexing of dogs and cats, consideration of the need for legislation on the use of animals in research and the provision of an information service on the care and protection of animals (6). The Division was formally transferred to the Department of Youth and Community Services on 31 March 1980 (7).
The administration of the Registered Clubs Act, which provides for the registration of clubs, their rules and management, was transferred from the Minister for Justice to the Minister for Services on 11 May 1979 (8).
The Bush Fires Branch was transferred to the Department of Services from State Emergency Services on 27 October 1978 (9).
From July 1 1979 the Transcription Services Bureau of the Department of Services assumed the administration of the Public Service Board Typing Bureau (10).
The Police Branch of the Community Relations Division of the Premiers Department was transferred to the Department of Services on 14 March 1980 (11).
Upon its abolition on 26 May 1982, functions, branches and organisations administered by the Department were re-allocated as follows -
a) the Police Branch to the Police Department; b) the Charities Branch (i.e.. the registration and supervision of charities and non-profit organisations) to Treasury; c) the Bush Fires Branch and the State Electoral Office to the Office of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services; d) the Government Courier Service to the Government Stores Department; e) the Automatic Data Processing Service Bureau and the Industrial Engineering Group to the Public Service Board; f) the Government Information Service to the Department of Industrial Development and Decentralisation; g) the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to the Department of Attorney General and Justice
h) the Theatres and Public Halls Branch to the Department of Local Government and Lands.
The Administration Division, the Management Services Division, the Internal Audit Branch, and the Bills and Regulations Branch of the Department of Services were abolished. (12).
The administration of the Registered Clubs Act was transferred from the Minister for Services to the Treasurer on 27 May 1982 (13).
Between 3 January 1975 and 23 January 1976 the Department was titled the Department of Services; between 24 January and 13 May 1976, the Chief Secretary's Department (14), and from 14 May 1976 (15) to its abolition in May 1982, the Department of Services.
(1) Annual Report of the Public Service Board, year ended 30 June 1975, p.80 Parliamentary Papers 1975-76, Vol.6, p.96.
(2) Report of the Public Service Board for the year ended 30 June 1977, p. 83 in the Parliamentary Papers, 1976-77-78, Vol. 10, p. 957.
(3) Ibid. p. 957.
(4) Ibid. p. 957.
(5) Ibid. p. 957.
(6) The Public Service Board Report for the year ended 30 June 1979 in the Parliamentary Papers 1979-80, Vol. 6, p.844.
(7) The Department of Youth and Community Services of New South Wales Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 1980, p. 84. This transfer had been preceded by the allocation of the Homing Pigeons Protection Act, 1910 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1901 and subsequent amendments (1928 to 1973) from the administration of the Minister for Services to the Minister for Youth and Community Services. New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1, 14 March 1980, p. 1220.
(8) Op.cit. p. 845.
(9) Op.cit. p. 845.
(10) Op.cit. p. 845.
(11) New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1, 14 March 1980, p. 1220.
(12) New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 2, 26 May 1982, p.2332 - 2333.
(13) New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 2, 27 May 1982, p. 2341.
(14) The Hon. William Peter Coleman was appointed as Chief Secretary on 23 January 1976 - Supplement to the New South Wales Government Gazette, 23 January 1976, Vol. 1, p. 394.
(15) The terms Chief Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Department, and Under Secretary were omitted from a number Acts and Regulations by the Chief Secretary on 12 May 1976 in the New South Wales Government Gazette, 14 May 1976, Vol. 2, pp. 2071-2075. With the new Wran Ministry a Minister for Justice and Services was appointed on 14 May 1976 - Supplement to the New South Wales Government Gazette, 14 May 1976, p.2138.