Our Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to clarify responsibilities and to advise staff and contractors what information can be routinely destroyed in the course of normal business.

The benefits of compliance with this policy include more efficient work practices and the management of retained information as a business asset.

This policy is written within the context of the National Archives’ Information and Data Governance Framework and Information and Data Management Policy.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all National Archives' staff and contractors.

It applies to business information and data in all formats including documents, email, voice messages, audio-visual materials, and data in business systems (e.g. websites, social media applications, databases).

Individual staff and contractors are responsible for deciding what low risk business information can be destroyed as a Normal Administrative Practice policy (NAP) and when it can be destroyed (i.e. when the information is no longer needed for business purposes).

3. Policy Statement

Normal administrative practice – also known as NAP – is used to delete certain low-value and short-term information and data where there is a low level of risk.

Everyone working with government information can and should apply NAP regularly as part of your normal working day. You are personally responsible for ensuring you apply NAP appropriately.

The National Archives recognises its regulatory requirements as a Commonwealth agency under the Archives Act 1983 for the legal destruction and retention of its information, data and records. Use of a normal administrative practice for destroying information is permitted under the Archives Act 1983 section 24(2)(c).

Destruction of information can also occur under NAP in accordance with relevant National Archives' policy, once business use has ceased, such as recorded and still images from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system.

4. Risk Assessment

This policy and the use of NAP is based on an assessment of the risks associated with the destruction of business information in the National Archives.

Individual staff members are responsible for deciding which low-risk business information can be routinely destroyed once the information is no longer needed for business or other purposes or when the specified retention period is met.

This policy is supported by the additional guideline Using NAP at the National Archives.

The Information Governance Section can provide specific advice for business areas or functions. You should seek advice from the Information Governance Section if you have any questions.

The risk categories for business information are as follows:

Delete with confidence

  • Non-business information or data such as personal unofficial emails, spam, unsolicited junk mail like 'hot offers', non-business-related material.
  • Duplicates of information and data that has already been saved into the Recordkeeping System (RkS) or another business information system.
    • Data of separated staff (H-Drive, OneDrive and Exchange accounts) Retain for 6 months after separation.
    • Data of former Director-Generals (H-Drive OneDrive and Exchange accounts) Retain for three years after separation.
  • External publications, catalogues and offers.
  • Reference copies (not master copies) of newsletters, procedures, guidelines, manuals, policies.
    • Low value facilitative information or data.
  • Meeting or invitation registrations.
  • Information and data authorised in a current Records Authority for retention in accordance with the agencies Normal Administrative Practice policy.
    • System and Event logs which are not used to show a history of access or change to data (e.g. backup logs)

      Logs to be retained for a period of 5-18 months from date of creation before destruction, dependent on log type
  • Record authority classes or application notes allowing agency evaluation (Specific types to be defined and retention period agreed).

Needs consideration

  • Low-risk emails such as system reminders and alerts, discussion lists and RSS feeds, duplicate emails kept for reference purposes, parts of an email thread where the full thread is saved into the RkS, 'for your information' communications, email bounce backs.
  • Invitations, diaries and calendars (with the exception of SES)
  • Duplicates of the National Archives’ publications and promotional material. Note: the business area responsible for the publication has responsibilities to keep master copies. Contact the Information Governance Section for advice.
  • Drafts, rough or routine calculations and working papers.
  • Business information held in shared work spaces such as shared drives and business systems.
  • Documents prepared with the involvement of senior staff; these are often important and may not be appropriate for destruction using NAP.

Do not delete

Valuable business information that is required:

  • for accountability purposes
  • for the ongoing efficient administration of agency business
  • to protect rights and entitlements of individuals, groups, or the Government, or because of its cultural or historical value, or to meet community expectations.

5. NAP Exceptions

The following are examples of information that cannot be deleted under NAP:

  • Policy drafts and working papers
  • Report drafts and working papers
  • Review drafts and working papers
  • Research working papers
  • Standards and guidelines working papers
  • Working papers for the development of whole-of-government procedures
  • Working papers for records transfers and sentencing
  • Periodic backups of information and (records) data, software and configuration settings for business continuity and recovery purposes (e.g. daily backups)
  • Records documenting the migration of records between electronic systems and from one electronic medium to another. Includes strategies for the migration and quality assurance checks to confirm accuracy of the migration process
  • Information that is likely to be required as evidence in current or future legal proceedings
  • Information that is required to be kept by law (including by a records authority or disposal freeze)
  • Information that is required to be kept under an agency policy, procedure or guideline
  • Information that is a draft of a Cabinet or ministerial submission
  • Information that is a draft of an agreement or other legal document
  • Information that is needed to document a significant issue
  • Information that is needed to clarify, support or give context to an existing record
  • Information that is needed to show how a decision was made
  • Information that is needed to show when or where an event happened
  • Information that is needed to show who made the decision or gave the advice
  • Information that is needed because it contains information on the rights, privileges or obligations of government, organisations or private individuals
  • Information that is a draft or working paper that contains decisions, reasons, actions and/or significant or substantial information where this information is not contained in later documents or the document remains not finished.

If you are unsure about any of these contact the Information Governance Section before destroying the information.

6 Policy Responsibilities

6.1 National Archives staff and contractors

All National Archives staff and contractors:

  • are familiar with the National Archives' NAP policy
  • understand their personal obligations and responsibilities when using NAP
  • are responsible for identifying information connected with their business activities that may be eligible for destruction as NAP
  • destroy information that clearly meets the NAP policy criteria when it is no longer required for business purposes
  • ensure that where information is identified for destruction under NAP, the method of destruction employed is appropriate to the security classification of the content; and
  • seek guidance from the Information Governance Section if there is any uncertainty over the use of NAP.

6.2 Chief Information Governance Officer

The Chief Information Governance Officer:

  • promotes compliance with the policy
  • ensures that adequate guidance is produced to support National Archives' staff and contractors in understanding and implementing the NAP policy
  • ensures that the NAP policy is adequate to the needs of the National Archives and is consistent with the Information and Data Governance Framework and Information and Data Management Policy; and
  • reviews and revises the NAP policy as required to ensure it remains appropriate.

6.3 Information and Data Governance Committee

The Information and Data Governance Committee:

  • authorises the National Archives' Normal Administrative Practice policy; and
  • provides sufficient support and resources for ensuring the successful implementation of the policy and guidance.

7. Communication and Training

The Information Governance Section will provide the following guidance:

  • Keep It or Delete It - online training module through eLearning on using NAP
  • Short implementation guides, 'Using NAP at the National Archives Decision tree', 'Using NAP at the National Archives poster'
  • specific advice and guidance to National Archives and staff on request
  • annual reminders to staff on using NAP, or more frequently if necessary.

8. Monitoring and Review

The Chief Information Governance Officer, in collaboration with the Information and Data Governance Committee (IDGC), will review this policy every three years, or earlier if required.

Requirements for continuous update will be included in the standing report of the IDGC for noting these may include:

  • Changes to specific NAP items for example the addition of a new category of system logs.
  • Changes to reflect Record Authority updates such as: back-ups changed from NAP to a specified retention class.
  • Changes to NAP Exceptions.

The Information Governance Section (with the support of workplace supervisors) will monitor the compliance with the NAP policy. Levels of compliance will be reported at least annually to the Information and Data Governance Committee.

Supervisors and managers will monitor their respective staff and contractors to ensure the NAP policy is implemented correctly.

Contract managers will monitor compliance of contractors and outsourced service providers with the NAP Policy.

9. Authorisation

This policy has been approved by:

Yaso Arumugam

Assistant Director-General

Data and Digital Branch

National Archives of Australia

22 October 2022

APS legislative framework and policies

National Archives policies and processes

  • Information and Data Governance Framework
  • Information and Data Governance Framework
  • Information and Data Management Policy
  • Risk Management Framework
  • Privacy Framework
  • Procedure for Determining Breaches of the Code of Conduct
  • Procedure for Handling a Public Interest Disclosure
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • RkS Quick Reference Guide – Saving Records of Social Media
  • Fraud and Corruption Control Framework
  • Computer Use Policy and Computer Use Guidelines