Access to other agencies' information

How to find and use information when ownership has changed

The need to access information does not change when a core business moves from one agency to another following a Government restructure. If the information was required to support the business in one agency, it is likely that it will be required in the next. When a business responsibility moves, the supporting information also needs to move.

Administrative arrangements orders contains a history of how administrative arrangements have changed over time.

Records may also move if some part of the Government business is privatised or corporatised. When this happens, records associated with that business need to be identified and accessed, so that they can be transferred to the new entity. It is important that you establish which agency now owns those records. It may be that the records already in existence continue to be owned by the Commonwealth, while any new records created are owned by the privatised body.

Transferring record ownership has information on moving records between agencies and to private entities.

Sometimes you may find that other agencies request access to records in your agency. This can happen if records have not been transferred following an administrative change, or if agencies are working collaboratively. Occasionally, the record in question may be with the Archives. If the record is not open to the public, the Archives will direct the inquiring person to contact your agency to apply for official access. If the record is in the open access period, and cleared for public release, the Archives will make the record available in one of its reading rooms.

In each of these instances, your agency will need processes in place to identify the records in question, to determine if access should be approved and, if so, how to make those records accessible. Having good metadata and security for your records will make this task much easier.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019