Protective markings

All information handled by the department and shared with its agencies, partners, and third-party providers is labelled with protective markings.

Protective markings are labels applied to Outlook and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) documents. They signify the confidentiality requirements of the information, informing the level of security control to be applied.

Protective markings are mandatory for all Victorian public sector organisations under the Victorian Protective Data Security Standards (VPDSS). The standards are administered by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).

Your contact within the department may request you confirm the privacy and security requirements of the information you have provided. Department staff will not contact you unexpectedly and will only contact you if there is a prior correspondence.

More Information

Please refer to the table below for more information about protective markings used in the department.

If you have queries regarding emails or documents received from the department with a protective marking, you can contact the author to understand the security requirements of the information.

Protective markings labels guide

Protective markingDescriptionExamples
OFFICIAL Most routine emails and documents. This is the most common classification in the department.
  • Press releases
  • Administrative or operational documents
OFFICIAL: SENSITIVE Information that if compromised could cause limited damage to government operations, organisations or individuals.
  • Personal or staff information
  • Information subject to legal privilege
  • Tenders or commercially confidential contracts
PROTECTED Information that if compromised could cause major damage to the Victorian Government, commercial entities or members of the public.
  • Pre-release state budget papers
  • Protected disclosures
  • High-value tender negotiations

Information prepared for consideration by or that discloses a deliberation or decision by Cabinet or a Cabinet Committee.

This information must be handled in compliance with the Victorian government Cabinet Handbook. More information can be found at

All information that is prepared for Cabinet consideration (including drafts)

Page last updated: 6 April 2023