Records disposal freezes and retention notices
Records related to Trade union governance and corruption
The National Archives has issued a notice to a limited number of relevant Commonwealth agencies requiring the retention of records relating to Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
The notice takes effect on the 21 March 2014, and will be in force until further notice by the National Archives.
Records related to the Home Insulation Program
The National Archives has issued a notice to a limited number of relevant Commonwealth agencies requiring the retention of records relating to the Home Insulation Program of the former Government. The Program is now the subject of an inquiry by the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program. The notice is effective from 20 December 2013 and will be in force until further notice by the National Archives.
Records related to institutional responses to child sexual abuse
The National Archives has imposed a disposal freeze on Commonwealth records likely to be required by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and any subsequent actions by the Australian Government. The freeze takes effect on 31 January 2013 and will be in force until further notice by the Archives. It applies to all Australian Government agencies.
Records related to allegations of abuse in Defence
The Archives, in consultation with the Defence Organisation, has imposed the disposal freeze on Commonwealth records potentially related to allegations of abuse in the Defence Organisation. The freeze takes effect on 22 October 2012 and will be in force until further notice by the National Archives.
Superannuation Disposal Freeze 2010
The Archives, in consultation with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, has extended the disposal freeze on selected personnel and superannuation records until 31 December 2015.
Keep, destroy or transfer
Decide what to do with your records and take action
Once records are no longer needed for business, you need to decide whether they should be kept, destroyed or transferred. Keeping, destroying or transferring records to the National Archives or out of Australian Government custody or ownership is regulated by Section 24 of the Archives Act 1983.
Records can either be:
- kept in your agency for continuing business use
- destroyed or deleted if they have no business use and do not need to be kept
- transferred to another agency or to the Archives.
The Archives Act indicates the ways in which agencies may keep, destroy or transfer records:
- Your agency can destroy records with the permission of the Archives by using records authorities which relate to agency-specific business.
- Your agency can also use general records authorities. General records authorities cover business performed by many agencies. An example is the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority, which covers common administrative business. The Archives prepares and issues both agency-specific and general record authorities.
- Your agency can apply a normal administrative practice (NAP). NAP makes it easier for agencies to dispose of many low-level records of short-term value. Records can be routinely destroyed using a NAP if they do not provide evidence of agency business and do not form part of its corporate records.
- Your agency may operate under specific legislation which requires the destruction of particular records.
- Your agency must not destroy records covered by a disposal freeze or records retention notice issued by the Archives.
What is Sentencing?Sentencing is the process of using a Records Authority or General Records Authority to decide whether to keep, destroy or transfer a record.
What to do in case of unauthorised destruction of information
The National Archives takes any suggestion of the inappropriate destruction of information and records seriously. If you discover any instances where information may have been destroyed or disposed of without appropriate authorisation, you must advise the National Archives through the Agency Service Centre. For more information see the new advice on What to do in cases of unauthorised destruction of information.
When should records be transferred to the Archives?
The process of transferring records to the Archives can occur once you have identified records to be preserved and managed as national archives. For further advice, contact the Archives' Agency Service Centre.
When should records be transferred?
- Records affected by administrative change should be transferred to the inheriting agency
- Records affected by a change of ownership should be transferred to the new owner.