Case study – National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator

A case study in digital excellence in records and documents management for decision making systems.


Awards for Digital Excellence - Winner 2015

An EDRMS was seamlessly integrated with other agency business systems through mapping various existing information management systems and utilising automatic metadata generation to improve efficiency. This resulted in better supported decision making processes and governance, and reduced file creation time.

Agency overview

The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) is a branch of the Resources Division of the Department of Industry and Science.

The establishment of NOPTA was part of the regulatory reform program for the offshore oil and gas industry, as recommended by the Productivity Commission. A key purpose of the reforms was to relieve regulatory burden on industry and thereby streamline titles administration.


In order to implement a robust information management, records management and national offshore titles register, NOPTA established a standalone ICT environment from its portfolio Department. “NOPTANeT” also features an integrated workflow system linked to its bespoke National Electronic Approvals Tracking System, which is a key plank in NOPTA’s strategic direction and engagement with its stakeholders.

NOPTA has two offices: Perth, Western Australia and Melbourne, Victoria. Both offices process and administer petroleum titles information, applications and documentation. The geographical separation of NOPTA’s offices, and in keeping with its mandate of relieving regulatory burden, it was a prime candidate for a completely digital EDRMS. Prior to the establishment of its EDRMS, NOPTA was reliant on the issuing of hardcopy files from services based centrally within the Department.

Project objectives

Started in 2013, NOPTA’s EDRMS project was centered on the need for the organisation to manage its digital records in a secure, concise, compliant and collaborative environment. NOPTA in its operation of records and documentation handles a vast array of information and records consisting of 61501 through 61504 and AFDA classed documents.

Of primary importance to NOPTA in establishing the project was its ability to maintain compliance to the Commonwealth requirements in relation to record keeping and to provide an EDRMS that integrated seamlessly to NOPTA collaborative, portal based productivity environment using Microsoft SharePoint 2013.

NOPTA described the primary objectives as:

  • Seamless integration with online portal services within NOPTA’s intranet environment;
  • Direct connectivity between NOPTA’s MS Office productivity suite and the collaborative portal;
  • Minimal metadata specification by staff where metadata is “built” as a document or record moves through its lifecycle;
  • Seamlessly and automatically connect NEATS applications to an EDRMS;
  • Administration of titles applications in a secure and centralised digital repository;
  • Audit, recording and management of tasks within a legislative process as formal records;
  • Incorporation of automatic records generation for email based on where an email is stored;
  • Incorporation of automatic records specification for scanned materials through integration of hardcopy scanning services within SharePoint;
  • The ability to store voice call receipt information through Microsoft Lync;
  • Execution of a “single source of truth” approach to document management, where systems and staff draw on the approved “official” version of a document for decision making;
  • Execution of a check-in/check-out service for the modification of documents;
  • Execution of true and accurate version control for document verification;
  • Execution of workflow based approval processes for document finalisation and approval; and
  • Implementation of ISO 16175 compliant management practices for records management.

Reasons for the project

Apart from the objectives listed above, the primary reason for the project was the need to reduce the hardcopy storage of files and provide the connection between NOPTA’s National Electronic Application Tracking System (NEATS) for offshore petroleum titles administration. As described in its title, NEATS plays a pivotal role in the processing of application from NOPTA stakeholders as "electronic" applications and files.

Given that the bulk of applications are spatially oriented and processed through an electronic medium, the need for and EDRMS within NOPTA was paramount. Linking SharePoint to the EDRMS, Geographic Information System (GIS) and workflow services was seen as a means of providing enhanced visibility of NOPTA records and increased productivity, accountability, scalability and integrity into NOPTA’s records management and document management processes.

Project Execution

The project was formed as part of the primary SharePoint collaborative portal rollout due to its close ties to content created within NOPTA and the need to store these records in electronic format within and EDRMS.

NOPTA quickly identified that there was a direct link between content types, templates and library specifications in SharePoint and the ability to automate a large majority of the records creation tasks within an EDRMS.

For example, a SharePoint content type, template or library can be associated with a metadata “term store”, based on the template used, content type created or library in which the content was stored, NOPTA is able to automatically create of the bulk of the metadata (including spatial metadata) associated with a record as a record moves through its lifecycle to finalisation. SharePoint was the collaborative document portal, RecordPoint was the EDRMS tying them together was as simple as linking the BCS to the content types used by staff to store the documents.

Using workflow processing and automated tasking, NOPTA has been able to generate the required records automatically, allowing staff to concentrate on the document content rather than the management of the record itself. Apart from the Records Management team, Staff are not required to know how to use the EDRMS. NOPTA’s EDRMS integration is now seamless with core business activities.

NOPTA accomplished the records management solution as a set of 4 interrelated projects:

  1. Quality Management Services,
    1. Mapping the legislative and business processes to ensure a single process delivering a quality outcome;
    2. Provision of quality processes against NOPTA digital continuity requirements;
    3. Identification of artefacts (which became records) at stage gates within a process; and
    4. Development of the automation schemas for these artefacts including content type, library specification and template specification.
  2. Creation of SharePoint artefacts including the document template, content type and libraries and relevant metadata specification
  3. BCS/RDA and functional mapping
    1. Mapping the NOPTA RDA to core business activities;
    2. Mapping the BCS to core business activities;
    3. Mapping the BCS to the RDA through the identified business activity; and
    4. Mapping the artefacts, library and content types to the BCS.
  4. Document migration and legacy
    1. Migrate legacy documents and records to appropriate libraries and content type. Automation enabled the automatic creation of records for legacy content.

Project outcomes

By utilising a shared collaborative portal service such as SharePoint, which hosts comprehensive search services and document management services, NOPTA identified it would be able to increase its accountability through information management through the links between RecordPoint and SharePoint via metadata. Staff can now review all records that relate to a particular topic whether through spatial interfacing or through search services.

NOPTA’s decision making processes and information governance practices have improved considerably through the ability of staff and decision makers to quickly and comprehensively link to any document or record on a specified subject. Regardless of the files stored or the records location, staff can use comprehensive search services through record keeping metadata to locate documents.

NOPTA’s innovative solution through the use of SharePoint, RecordPoint and spatial GIS has delivered a comprehensive EDRMS and document management system that reduces staff input and file creation tasks, increases information awareness through search over official records and increases accountability and decision making through presentation of all records relating to a topic.

NOPTA being a relatively small organisation within a highly structured regulatory regime has achieved a compliant outcome for records management using minimal resources and without impacting service delivery.

NOPTA has been able to provide automation and quality management in its records management environment through a well-defined solution design, a comprehensive understanding of the compliance requirements and the use of technology designed to reduce input and maximize output. Staff are free to concentrate on tasks rather than management or filing of the records. Records managers within the organisation concentrate on the RDA and disposals rather than file locations, retrieval and archiving.

The shift to an enhanced digital culture has been achieved with a minimum of effort and without distraction or frustration. The rewards, however, are significant. By reducing the amount of time spent entering metadata, or determining a records or files location, means NOPTA is able to maximise the value of its digital records, streamline its internal administrative processes and relieve regulatory burden.

* case study as supplied by the agency, with minor formatting changes made by the Archives

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018