Records Authority 2010/00715878

Department of Human Services – Service Delivery

25 May 2010

This is an accurate reproduction of the authorised records authority content, created for accessibility purposes.


The Department of Human Services and the National Archives of Australia have developed this Records Authority to set out the requirements for keeping or destroying records for the core business area of Service Delivery. It represents a significant commitment on behalf the Department of Human Services to understand, create and manage the records of its activities.

This Authority is based on the identification and analysis of the business of the Department of Human Services. It takes into account the agency's legal and organisational records management requirements, and the interests of stakeholders, the agency and the National Archives of Australia.

The Authority sets out those records that need to be retained as national archives and specifies the minimum length of time that temporary records need to be kept. This Authority gives the Department of Human Services permission under the Archives Act 1983, for the destruction of the temporary records described after the minimum retention period has expired. Retention periods for these temporary records are based on: an assessment of business needs; broader organisational accountability requirements; and community expectations, and are approved by the National Archives of Australia on the basis of information provided by the agency.

As changes in circumstances may affect future records management requirements, the periodic review of this Authority is recommended. All amendments must be approved by the National Archives.

Application of this authority

  1. This Authority is to be used to sentence records. Sentencing involves the examination of records in order to identify the individual disposal class to which they belong.  This process enables sentencers to determine how long records need to be kept. Advice on sentencing is available from the National Archives.
  2. This Authority should be used in conjunction with general records authorities such as:
    • the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA)  and/or AFDA Express issued by the National Archives to cover business processes and records common to Australian Government agencies;
    • encrypted records; and
    • source records that have been copied.
  3. The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act gives agencies permission to destroy certain records without formal authorisation. This usually occurs where records are duplicated, facilitative or for short-term use only.  NAP does not replace arrangements agreed to in this Authority but can be used as a tool to assist in identifying records for destruction together with an agency's Record Authority or Authorities, and with AFDA and AFDA Express. The National Archives recommends that agencies develop and implement a Normal Administrative Practice policy.  Advice and guidance on destroying records as a normal administrative practice and on how to develop an agency NAP policy is available from the National Archives' website at
  4. Where the method of recording information changes (for example from a manual system to an electronic system, or when information is migrated from one system to a new system) this authority can still be applied, providing the records document the same core business. The information must be accessible for the period of time prescribed in this Authority. The Department of Human Services will need to maintain continuing access to the information, including digital information, for the periods prescribed in this records authority or until the information is transferred into the custody of the National Archives.
  5. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Department of Human Services may extend minimum retention periods if it considers that there is an administrative need to do so, without further reference to the National Archives. Where the Department of Human Services believes that its accountability will be substantially compromised because a retention period or periods are not adequate, it should contact the National Archives for review of the retention period.
  6. From time to time the National Archives will place a freeze on some groups of records relating to a particular topic or event which has gained prominence or provokes controversy.  While the freeze is in place no records relating to the topic or event may be destroyed.  Further information about disposal freezes and whether they affect the application of this Authority is available from the National Archives website at
  7. Records which relate to any current or pending legal action, or are subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983 or any other relevant Act must not be destroyed until the action has been completed.
  8. Records in the care of agencies should be appropriately stored, managed and preserved.  Agencies need to meet this obligation to ensure that the records remain authentic and accessible over time.  Under Section 31 of the Archives Act 1983, access arrangements are required for records that become available for public access including those records that remain in agency custody.
  9. Advice on how to use this Authority is available from the Department of Human Services records manager. If there are problems with the application of the Authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the National Archives.

Contact information

For assistance with this authority or for advice on other recordkeeping matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

PO Box 7425
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610



Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Ms Kathryn Campbell
Department of Human Services
65 Canberra Avenue
Griffith ACT 2603


Authorises arrangements for the disposal of records in accordance with Section 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983.


All core business records relating to:
Service Delivery

This authorisation gives permission for the destruction, retention or transfer to the National Archives of Australia of the records described. The authority will apply only if these actions take place with the consent of the agency responsible for the core business documented in the records.

Signature of Margaret Chalker, Assistant Director-General, Government Information Management, National Archives of Australia, dated 25 May 2010

Margaret Chalker
Assistant Director-General
Government Information Management
National Archives of Australia


Service Delivery

The core business of developing Government service delivery policy and of overseeing service delivery for social and health-related services in ways that are consistent with Government legislation, policies and priorities. Current priorities include service delivery reform to achieve improved accessibility, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency and improving service delivery to Indigenous Australians. Includes:

  • providing whole of government policy advice on service delivery and ensuring that service delivery implications are taken into account in policy development
  • coordinating the management and evaluation of service delivery within the portfolio department
  • coordinating service delivery in whole of government responses to national initiatives and emergencies such as drought assistance, the Northern Territory Emergency Response and the 2009 Victorian bushfires
  • strategies and initiatives to improve service delivery including joint strategies and partnerships with relevant Government and non-government stakeholders

Core business tasks include:

  • Addresses and speeches to Government, stakeholders and the general public
  • Coordinating, developing and managing service delivery and related initiatives, strategies and whole of government responses in collaboration with departmental agencies and business areas, and Government and non-government stakeholders. Includes
  • Planning including risk management
  • Research and analysis
  • Committees, working groups, consultations, liaison, meetings and enquiries
  • Project management
  • Implementation
  • Performance
  • Purchaser-provider relationships
  • Evaluation including monitoring performance and quality
  • Providing policy advice to Government and the department concerning the delivery of social, health and welfare related services
  • Policy development including proposals, research, consultations, submissions, supporting reports and final versions
  • Reporting to Government and executive management
  • Reviews - external and internal.

For submissions to Government and contributions to, or involvement in, Government inquiries including Royal Commissions, use AFDA / AFDA Express – Government Relations.
For the administration of contracted services and agreements, use AFDA/AFDA Express – Procurement.

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records documenting service delivery issues and activities that have continuing value to Australia. Includes:

  • Advice provided or received, final versions of plans, policies, reports, reviews and other high level records concerning service delivery issues and activities that are: controversial; precedent setting or innovative; or with wide ranging social and health related benefits and/or consequences for the Australian people such as whole of government responses to national initiatives and emergencies. Includes major supporting documents and results of consultations.
  • Minutes and supporting records of core business decision making bodies such as the Service Delivery Reform Board; and
  • Final versions of speeches/presentations made by the portfolio Minister or senior agency officers at public and government occasions.
Retain as national archives

Records documenting the planning, research, scoping and project management business of service delivery including:

  • Memorandums of understanding, intergovernmental and other stakeholder agreements and joint ventures;
  • Final versions of strategic documents such as plans, program goals and the implementation approach that are not covered by the class 21924 description. Includes business cases and new policy proposals;
  • Research and analysis;
  • Advice to the Minister about appointments to portfolio agency boards;
  • Reviews that are not covered by the class 21924 description including routine gateway and periodic reviews, materials for review, review reports;
  • Advice provided or received, final versions of policies, reports and other records that are not controversial, precedent setting/innovative or do not have wide spread benefits/consequences for the Australian people. Includes major supporting documents and results of consultations and
  • Project Management, including the development and operation of management frameworks such as governance structures and processes, risk and uses management, quality management, stakeholder engagement, benefits realisation management, change control and scheduling. Documents and records produced through this process include: templates; plans and schedules; and reports.
Destroy 10 years after action completed.

Records documenting routine operational and administrative activities in the performance and support of service delivery. Routine activities include:

  • receiving and responding to enquiries;
  • records of meetings not covered by class 21924;
  • provision of routine information on the service delivery of health, social and welfare programs;
  • preparation of progress reports;
  • records of committees and working groups not covered by class 21924;
  • supporting records for advice, plans, policies, reports, reviews and other records not covered by records description in class 21924 or 21925; and
  • liaison with private and public sector organisations.
Destroy 5 years after action completed.
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