Digital Continuity 2020 Policy


The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy is available in full below, and you can download a copy in PDF or Word format. For a broader introduction read our introduction to the Digital Continuity Policy.


The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy plays a key role in supporting the Australian Government's digital transformation initiatives and driving e-government. Agencies that understand and fully realise the benefits of their assets – information, technology, people and processes – will deliver better and more efficient services to Australians.

The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy enables the integration of information governance principles and practices into the work of agencies and their governance arrangements to:

  • optimise the delivery of government programs and services;
  • enable information reuse for economic and social benefits; and
  • protect the rights and entitlements of Australians

The policy promotes a consistent approach to information governance across the Australian Government and within individual agencies. It applies to government information, data and records, as well as systems, services and processes, including those created or delivered by third parties on behalf of Australian Government agencies.

The Digital Continuity 2020 policy is aligned with the work of the Digital Transformation Office and builds on the foundations of previously issued transition policies. The National Archives is responsible for leading the implementation of the Digital Continuity 2020 policy.


Under the Archives Act 1983, the National Archives has the authority to issue standards for Commonwealth records, and to preserve and make accessible the archival resources of the Commonwealth.

Under the Act, 'Commonwealth records' cover all information in digital and non-digital formats that is created, used or received as part of government business.

The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy identifies digital information management principles and practices recommended for non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entities, and wholly owned companies including government business enterprises. These are collectively referred to as 'agencies'.

The National Archives will report annually to government on the status of digital information management in agencies and make recommendations for further enhancements.

Policy statement

Agencies will manage their information as an asset, ensuring that it is created and managed for as long as required, taking into account business and other needs and risks.

Agencies will transition to entirely digital work processes, meaning business processes including authorisations and approvals are completed digitally, and that information is created and managed in digital format.

Agencies will have interoperable information, systems and processes that meet standards for short and long-term management, improve information quality and enable information to be found, managed, shared and re-used easily and efficiently.

Principle 3 – Information, systems and processes are interoperable

The Australian Government's digital transformation initiatives will make government services simpler, faster and easier to use. These initiatives are enabled by interoperable information, systems and processes that make it less costly and easier to share information, improve information quality, reduce unnecessary duplication and reduce the impact of structural changes in government.

Achieving interoperable information, systems and processes takes time and requires interoperability to be planned, designed and integrated from the initial stages. This work has commenced at whole of government and cross-agency levels but there is still much to be done.

Individual agencies support digital transformation initiatives by ensuring that information systems are interoperable, and created and managed in accordance with standards endorsed by government.

What success looks like

  • Agencies have information, systems and processes that are interoperable and meet standards for short and long-term management. This includes standards for describing information (recordkeeping metadata), information quality, and file and data formats.
  • Business systems have been assessed for information management functionality to ensure that information is available and usable for as long as it is required and in accordance with business outcomes and risks.
  • Australian Government processes incorporate information governance requirements and specifications to ensure that information, systems and services meet standards and information remains findable, sharable and re-usable.



Recommended action

Target date


Information is managed based on format and metadata standards for information governance and interoperability

31 December 2020


All business systems meet functional requirements for information management

31 December 2020


Cross-agency and whole of government processes incorporate information governance requirements and specifications

31 December 2020

Accountability framework

Agencies are required to create and manage their information as a public resource in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, as well as the Protective Security Policy Framework, Commonwealth Resource Management Framework and internal corporate controls.

The National Archives provides an accountability framework for the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy including:

  • annual agency survey reporting to the National Archives
  • National Archives annual reporting to the responsible Minister

The National Archives will use annual agency reports and other information as part of performance monitoring. This includes identifying agencies that need assistance to complete the recommended actions. The National Archives will work with these agencies to improve their digital information management.

Guidance and support

The National Archives collaborates with agencies and key partners to develop advice, products and tools that support information governance, digital information management, and interoperable information, systems and processes.

A range of strategies, implementation pathways, guidance and standards to help agencies implement the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy are available from the National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Policy documents

Related content

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