Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to clarify responsibilities and to advise staff and contractors what information can be routinely destroyed in the course of normal business.

The benefits of compliance with this policy include more efficient work practices and the management of retained information as a business asset.

This policy is written within the context of the Archives' Information Governance Framework and Information Management Policy.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Archives' staff and contractors.

It applies to business information in all formats including documents, email, voice messages, audio-visual materials and data in business systems (eg websites, social media applications, databases).

Individual staff and contractors are responsible for deciding what low risk business information can be destroyed as a NAP and when it can be destroyed (ie when the information is no longer needed for business purposes).

3. Policy Statement

Normal administrative practice — also known as NAP — is used to delete certain low-value and short-term information where there is a low level of risk. 

Everyone working with government information can and should apply NAP regularly as part of your normal working day. You are personally responsible for ensuring you apply NAP appropriately. 

The National Archives recognises its regulatory requirements as a Commonwealth agency under the Archives Act 1983 for the legal destruction and retention of its information and records. Use of a normal administrative practice for destroying information is permitted under the Archives Act 1983 section 24(2)(c).

Destruction of information can also occur under NAP in accordance with relevant Archives’ policy, once business use has ceased, such as back-up tapes and recorded and still images from the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system.

4. Risk Assessment

This policy and the use of NAP is based on an assessment of the risks associated with the destruction of business information in the Archives.

Individual staff members are responsible for deciding which low-risk business information can be routinely destroyed using a NAP once the information is no longer needed for business or other purposes.

This policy is supported by additional implementation guidelines.

The Information Governance Section can provide specific advice for business areas or functions. You should seek advice from Information Governance Section if you have any questions. The risk categories for business information are as follows:

Delete with confidence

  • Non-business information such as personal unofficial emails, spam, unsolicited junk mail like 'hot offers', non-business related material.
  • Duplicates of information that has already been saved into the RkS or another business information system.
  • External publications, catalogues and offers.
  • Reference copies (not master copies) of newsletters, procedures, guidelines, manuals, policies.

Needs consideration

  • Low-risk emails such as system reminders and alerts, discussion lists and RSS feeds, duplicate emails kept for reference purposes, parts of an email thread where the full thread is saved into the RkS, 'for your information' communications, email bounce backs.
  • Invitations, diaries and calendars (with the exception of SES)
  • Duplicates of the Archives’ publications and promotional material. Note: the business area responsible for the publication has responsibilities to keep master copies. Contact the Information Governance Section for advice.
  • Drafts, rough or routine calculations and working papers.
  • Business information held in shared work spaces such as shared drives and business systems.
  • Documents prepared with the involvement of senior staff; these are often important and may not be appropriate for destruction using NAP.

Do not delete

Valuable business information that is required:

  • for accountability purposes
  • for the ongoing efficient administration of agency business
  • to protect rights and entitlements of individuals, groups, or the Government, or
  • because of its cultural or historical value, or to meet community expectations.

See 'Using NAP at the Archives' for more specific guidance.

5. NAP Exceptions

The following information cannot be destroyed under NAP:
  • Policy drafts and working papers
  • Report drafts and working papers
  • Review drafts and working papers
  • Research working papers
  • Standards and guidelines working papers
  • Working papers for the development of whole-of-government procedures
  • Working papers for records transfers and sentencing
  • System logs which are used to show a history of access or change to data (eg system access logs, internet access logs, system change logs and audit trails etc)
  • Records documenting the migration of records between electronic systems and from one electronic medium to another. Includes strategies for the migration and quality assurance checks to confirm accuracy of the migration process
  • Information that is likely to be required as evidence in current or future legal proceedings
  • Information that is required to be kept by law (including by a records authority or disposal freeze)
  • Information that is required to be kept under an agency policy, procedure or guideline
  • Information that is a draft of a Cabinet or ministerial submission
  • Information that is a draft of an agreement or other legal document
  • Information that is needed to document a significant issue
  • Information that is needed to clarify, support or give context to an existing record
  • Information that is needed to show how a decision was made
  • Information that is needed to show when or where an event happened
  • Information that is needed because it indicates who made the decision or gave the advice
  • Information that is needed because it contains information on the rights, privileges or obligations of government, organisations or private individuals
  • Information that is a draft or working paper that contains decisions, reasons, actions and/or significant or substantial information where this information is not contained in later documents or the document remains not finished.

If you are unsure about any of these contact the Information Governance Section before destroying the information.

6 Policy responsibilities

6.1 Archives staff and contractors

All Archives staff and contractors:

  • are familiar with the Archives' NAP policy;
  • understand their personal obligations and responsibilities when using NAP;
  • are responsible for identifying information connected with their business activities that may be eligible for destruction as NAP;
  • destroy information that clearly meets the NAP policy criteria when it is no longer required for business purposes;
  • ensure that where information is identified for destruction under NAP, the method of destruction employed is appropriate to the security classification of the content; and
  • seek guidance from the Information Governance Section if there is any uncertainty over the use of NAP.

6.2 Information Governance Committee

The Information Governance Committee:

  • authorises the Archives' Normal Administrative Practice policy; and
  • provides sufficient support and resources for ensuring the successful implementation of the policy and guidance.

6.3 Chief Information Governance Officer

The Chief Information Governance Officer:

  • promotes compliance with the policy;
  • ensures that adequate guidance is produced to support Archives' staff and contractors in understanding and implementing the NAP policy;
  • ensures that the NAP policy is adequate to the needs of the Archives and is consistent with the Information Management Policy and the Information Governance Framework; and
  • reviews and revises the NAP policy as required to ensure it remains appropriate.

6.4 Managers and supervisors

All managers and supervisors of Archives' staff and contractors:

  • promote understanding and use of the NAP policy to staff and contractors under their supervision;
  • incorporate NAP policy directives into their business unit work procedures, where appropriate;
  • liaise with the Information Governance Section in relation to using the NAP Policy or any barriers to its use and advise the unit of any changes in the business environment which would impact on information management requirements, such as new areas of business that need to be covered by a records authority.
  • encourage and support staff and contractors in the compliant destruction of information that is eligible for destruction under the NAP policy once they are no longer required for business purposes; and
  • monitor staff and contractors under their supervision to ensure that they understand and comply with the NAP policy and guidance.

6.5 Contract managers

All contract managers:

  • are responsible for the insertion of information management provisions (including NAP) into agency contracts with outsourced providers and contractors;
  • regularly monitor outsourced service providers and contractors with whom they have a contract to ensure that they understand and comply with the NAP policy and guidance.

6.6 Information and Technology Branch staff

All Information and Technology Branch staff:

  • assist in incorporating NAP policy into the design and development of the Archives' information management systems, including business and IT systems;
  • ensure that any actions, such as removing data from systems, storage or folders, are undertaken in accordance with this and other relevant policies.

6.7 Information Governance Section

The Information Governance Section:

  • promulgates the NAP policy and provide guidance to all Archives' staff and contractors;
  • provides appropriate training and advice to all staff on the appropriate implementation of the NAP policy;
  • encourages the incorporation of NAP policy directives into business unit work procedures;
  • ensures that the NAP policy is incorporated into the design and development of the  Archives' information management systems, including business and IT systems; and
  • monitors compliance with the NAP policy.

7. Communication and Training

The Information Governance Section will provide the following guidance:

  • an online training module for all Archives staff and contractors on using NAP;
  • a short implementation guide, 'Using NAP at the Archives';
  • specific advice and guidance to Archives and staff on request;
  • annual reminders to staff on using NAP, or more frequently if necessary.

9. Authorisation

This policy has been approved by: 

Signature of David Fricker, Director-General

David Fricker
National Archives of Australia 

19 June 2018

Appendix A Related documents

APS legislative framework and policies

National Archives policies and processes

  • Information Governance Framework
  • Information Management Policy
  • Risk Management Framework
  • Privacy Framework
  • Procedure for Determining Breaches of the Code of Conduct
  • Procedure for Handling a Public Interest Disclosure
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • RkS Quick Reference Guide – Saving Records of Social Media
  • Fraud and Corruption Control Framework
  • Computer Use Policy and Computer Use Guidelines

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019