Improvement at icare

We are actively engaged in a program to improve icare's operations, performance, culture, risk and governance, to ensure better outcomes for our customers, our people and our schemes.

Reviews of icare have highlighted several areas that need improvement and we are taking action to address these through a comprehensive program of reform and remediation.

This work focusses on three key areas: improving risk and governance to meet community and regulatory expectations; improving performance, particularly getting injured workers back to work sooner and reducing internal costs; and driving an accountable culture.

We are determined to learn from the past and to emerge stronger for the changes that we're making, helping us care for the people of NSW, building confidence and trust so our communities can thrive.

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icare's Improvement Program | External reviews and recommendations | Independent assurance | Improvement information | Improvement news

icare's Improvement Program

Many major initiatives have already been undertaken. But we're not stopping there. Our multi-year improvement program will create organisation-wide, lasting change that will strengthen our schemes for the future, and deliver better results for the people and businesses we serve.

Our improvement program focuses on three key areas:

Risk and governance


We’re building capacity around our risk, governance and accountability practice. We're improving our management governance through a new leadership structure and clearer accountabilities for scheme performance.

Risk and compliance

We're embedding new frameworks, committees, oversight and systems that will strengthen our risk and compliances practices.

Procurement practices

We're improving our procurement practices through an icare-wide change program that will strengthen compliance, transparency, frameworks and procedures.


Performance of the Nominal Insurer

We're improving the way we collect, use and store data; improving our claims service model to give employers more choice; and helping injured workers get back to work sooner.

Listening to customers

We're actively listening to our customers and bringing their voices into our decision-making processes.

Financial sustainability

We're improving our return to work rates, and changing the way we work across our schemes to reduce internal costs.

Culture and accountability


We're creating a cultural roadmap to build a truly accountable culture that will inform every action we take as an organisation and as individual employees.

Remuneration and performance

We're improving our remuneration and performance management frameworks with specific focus on transparency, accountability and reporting.

External reviews and recommendations

Recent reviews of icare have provided a range of recommendations for improvement.

We have accepted all recommendations and the work of our Improvement Program will address those changes icare can implement. Some recommendations are for other parties to address, such as the NSW Government.

McDougall Review

This independent review was commissioned by the NSW Government in August 2020.

icare's submissions


Independent review of Comensura commercial arrangements: April 2021

The McDougall Report: April 2021

What we said

Governance, Accountability and Culture Review

The independent review by PWC of icare governance, accountability and culture (GAC Review) was commissioned by the icare Board and provided for consideration to the McDougall Review and provided to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).


The Report: February 2021

What we said

Independent assurance

In November 2021, icare announced the selection of Promontory Australia as Independent Assurer on the progress of its Improvement Program. Promontory reports will be published here.

Improvement information

Improving operational efficiency

The Independent review of icare and SICG Act (2021) by Justice McDougall (the McDougall Review) outlined 31 recommendations related to icare which icare accepted in full and are currently in the process of addressing.

One of the recommendations from the McDougall Review, Recommendation 27, related to a review of icare's expense savings program. Specifically, Recommendation 27 stated:

Recommendation 27: icare's Board should commission an external review of the results of the extant expense savings program after two years and a summary of the results should be made public.

This Expense Savings Program and review (by KPMG) is now complete (learn more*). The review findings indicated a decrease in expenses of $88 million between the FY20 and FY22 years, equivalent to an average rate of 6.5 percent per year.

Financial year ($ million)


  FY20 FY21  FY22 Total
Expenses (excluding scheme agent remuneration and levies) 695 652
Reduction from FY20

Note: The above table provides a summary of the cost savings reported by icare management. If expenses remained at the level in FY20 of $695 million in both FY21 and FY22, total costs over the three years would have been $2,085 million, and not $1,954 million (a total saving of $131 million). Further, expenses have been reconciled to icare's audited financial statements.  

KPMG's findings highlighted the decrease in expenses of $88 million between the FY20 and FY22 years (equivalent to an average rate of 6.5 percent per year) could be attributed to the following spend category reductions:

  • $31 million reduction in spending on leased premises
  • $39 million reduction in bad and doubtful debts expenses and fees
  • $40 million reduction in contingent and contractor costs
  • $18 million in broader organisational efficiency improvements
  • $29 million reduction in enterprise project spending
These outcomes were offset by:
  • $10 million increase in technology costs, due to increased business demand and volumes
  • $60 million adjustment to permanent and fixed term staff, supporting reduction in contingent workers / contractors and enabling other savings.

icare continues to be committed to running operations and insurance functions that meet needs and expectations and improve outcomes for New South Wales and the people we serve.

*icare engaged KPMG to review the expense savings program. The review's primarily focus was on the most significant standalone expense savings, with some secondary consideration of large offsetting expense increases. The scope of KPMG’s services included:

  • workshops with iCare NSW management
  • desktop review of the analysis by icare relating to its expense savings program 
  • Board and other management reporting on expense savings; and
  • 2-3 page summary report providing an overview of the approach taken by iCare NSW management in developing the expense savings program analysis, including high-level outline of any key insights into the reasonableness of the assumptions and logic used.

The scope of KPMG's review did not include recreation of calculations or an independent check for the completeness and accuracy of input data/parameters or any historical analysis of key cost categories.

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