Digital Transition Policy

The Government's Digital Transition Policy aims to move Australian Government agencies to digital recordkeeping for efficiency purposes.  This includes all agencies regardless of their legislative status.

Digital recordkeeping means that the majority of your agency's records will be created, stored and managed digitally and, where possible, incoming paper records will be scanned so that new paper files are not created. For many agencies this policy means digital transition or moving from paper-based records management to digital information and records management.

In accordance with the Digital Transition Policy, records that are created digitally after 2015 will be accepted for transfer to the National Archives in digital formats only.

The policy sets out the requirements for all Australian Government agencies.

Requirements for your agency

Senior management support to drive change

Secure senior management support to drive a change to digital information and records management. Leadership support is needed to develop a culture which values effective information and records management practices and which invests in staff awareness and training in digital records management. To help advance this requirement the Director-General of the National Archives wrote to agency heads on 11 July 2011 seeking their support to drive change in agencies.

Check-up 2.0 self-assessments

All agencies are required to assess their information and records management capabilities annually using the National Archives' self-assessment tool Check-up. 

Reduce paper stockpiles

Focus on reducing paper stockpiles that are overdue for disposal by conducting regular sentencing and disposal programs using records authorities issued by the Archives.

Manage digital information wherever it is held

When acquiring business systems consider how the records will be managed for as long as they are needed and, where possible, give preference to those systems that effectively support records management and comply with the international standard ISO 16175 Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic environments, which has been endorsed by the Archives for use in Australian Government agencies.

Consider what resources are needed

Information and records areas need to be adequately resourced with suitably skilled staff and systems to support the transition and the on-going management of digital information and records. Savings made, for example by reducing storage costs for paper records are to be invested in appropriately qualified staff and systems to support effective digital information and records management.

Requirements for the National Archives

The Archives, in consultation with other agencies, has developed a Digital Continuity Plan to provide practical guidance to agencies on the management of digital information for as long as it is needed.

The Archives, with AGIMO, will provide opportunities for agencies to receive additional guidance and advice on the policy. This will be done through AGIMO, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and National Archives networks, including the Archives' GAIN Australia online and face-to-face forums.

Requirements for AGIMO

AGIMO will collect details of agencies’ current records management systems including proposed upgrades or replacement of those systems, as part of the Government Solutions Register (GSR) annual refresh. The information gathered will allow AGIMO to advise on opportunities for improved efficiency, consistency and collaboration in Government. The GSR is refreshed in consultation with agencies annually, and updated data is made available to agencies through GovDex in the third quarter of each year.

Agencies are also expected to comply with the requirements of the ICT Customisation and Bespoke Development Policy and Central ICT Governance Arrangements which requires them to use off-the-shelf solutions to support records management.

Reporting

The Archives, in consultation with AGIMO and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, is required to report annually for three years to the Minister, commencing in March 2012, on the status of agencies' information and records management practices, and advise on opportunities and strategies to improve efficiency.

The Minister will report to the Prime Minister in 2014 on the progress of agencies in transitioning to effective digital records management and provide options for any additional strategies that may be required to achieve this goal.

Updated February 2014

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