General Records Authority: Transfer of custody and ownership of Personal Security Files (PSFs)
Transfer of custody and ownership of Personal Security Files (PSFs)
18 April 2008
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The National Archives of Australia, in consultation with the Attorney General's Department, has developed this authority to permit the transfer of Personal Security Files (PSFs) to State and Territory government agencies and police services. This follows the signing, in 2007, of a memorandum of understanding between the Commonwealth and all States and Territories for the protection of national security information. One of the agreed arrangements is that the parties will apply the minimum standards of the Australian Government Protective Security Manual (PSM).
Under the PSM, agencies should keep PSFs for all employees and contracted service providers with a security clearance, and for some uncleared people. The PSM also notes that PSFs are intended to be portable between agencies, subject to certain limitations outlined in the PSM. The extension of the PSM scheme to State and Territory agencies opens the way for PSFs to be portable between agencies in different jurisdictions.
PSFs raised by Commonwealth agencies are Commonwealth records subject to the Archives Act 1983. The Archives Act prohibits the transfer of the custody or ownership of Commonwealth records, subject to a number of exceptions. This authority gives Commonwealth agencies the permission they require under the Archives Act to transfer Commonwealth PSFs to agencies in other jurisdictions. The transfer of PSFs between Commonwealth agencies in accordance with the PSM is a long-standing normal administrative practice of which the Archives does not disapprove.
PSFs that remain with Commonwealth agencies should be retained in accordance with the PSM. Their destruction, when eligible, is authorised by the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA) in the section PERSONNEL – Security, and a separate authority for Defence Military personnel. These arrangements also apply to PSFs whose ownership has transferred to Commonwealth agencies from State and Territory agencies and police services.
Any amendment of this authority must be approved by the National Archives. Officers using the authority should advise the National Archives of any changes considered desirable.
For assistance with this authority or for advice on other records management matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.
Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600
PO Box 7425
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610
Agency Service Centre
Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:
Heads of Commonwealth Institutions under the Archives Act 1983.
Authorises arrangements for the transfer of records in accordance with Section 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983.
Permits the transfer of custody or ownership of Personal Security Files (PSFs) to State and Territory government agencies and police services in accordance with the Protective Security Manual.
This authority gives permission for the alteration of the records described. This authority will apply only with the consent of the agency currently responsible for the business documented in the records described.
National Archives of Australia
18 April 2008