Requirements for managing information

When you create information and records you are documenting your business. It helps an agency conduct its business in an efficient and accountable way.

Information and records can be a range of different things: maps, written reports, minutes, email, file notes, film or sound recordings. Drafts and working papers are also considered to be information and records. The format of the information and record you create doesn't matter.

What is important is that evidence of your activities is recorded in a way that supports your agency's business needs.

Your agency should have procedures in place to ensure all information and records are created routinely by staff and safeguarded in a system that will keep them authentic, reliable and useable for as long as they are needed.

Identifying information and records requirements

The difference between records and other types of business information is that records provide evidence of business activities. It is important that you should know what information and records should be created and managed.

Things to remember:

  • know the legislative requirements for your agency’s business, including its policies, procedures and directives
  • use work process analysis to identify what information and records are needed to document business or work processes
  • assess risks associated with not creating or managing information and records.

Various legislation and standards determine how Australian Government agencies create and manage their information and records.Some legislation is relevant to most government agencies while other is agency specific.

The Archives Act 1983 outlines the information and records management requirements for all Australian Government agencies, including the destruction of information and records.

Normal administrative practice (NAP) assists your agency with how information and records are managed and allows certain types of information and records to be destroyed in the normal course of business. Your agency does not need to contact the Archives for permission to dispose of records that fit within the scope of NAP.

Types of information and records management requirements

From 1 January 2016, all information and records that are created digitally are to be stored and managed digitally.

It is essential that everyone in your agency save their information and records into your agency's records management systems. This action will ensure that information and records:

  • are genuine, accurate and can be trusted
  • are complete and unaltered
  • are secure from unauthorised access, alteration and deletion
  • can be found when needed
  • are related to other relevant records.

Information and records need to be found and managed over time, this means that you need to add descriptive information about their content and context. This descriptive information is called describing process.

Our training package, Keep the Knowledge – make a record, can help you and your agency understand the importance of creating effective records.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019