AFDA Express Version 2 – Establishment




This is an accurate reproduction of the authorised records authority content, created for accessibility purposes


The National Archives of Australia (National Archives) has developed this records authority to set out the requirements for keeping or destroying records for the general administrative function of Establishment.

This records authority is based on the identification and analysis of the Establishment function. The records authority sets out those records that need to be retained as national archives and specifies the minimum length of time that temporary records need to be kept. This records authority gives agencies permission under the Archives Act 1983, for the destruction of the temporary records described after the minimum retention period has expired. Retention periods for these temporary records are based on: an assessment of business needs; broader organisational accountability requirements; and community expectations.

As changes in circumstances may affect future records management requirements, this authority may occasionally be amended by the addition of new classes and the variation of existing classes. The National Archives will notify agencies of any such changes.

Application of this Authority

  1. The National Archives is progressively reviewing and retiring the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (2010) and AFDA Express (March 2010) and will periodically issue revised functions that will ultimately comprise the revised version of AFDA Express Version 2. To aid agencies with implementation of the revised AFDA Express Version 2 functions, the Archives will generally permit agencies the option of using either the existing AFDA functions or the newly issued revised functions until 1 July 2019 (by which time all revised functions are expected to be have been issued).
  2. This authority supersedes:
    • classes 1181-1213 in the ESTABLISHMENT function of the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (2010); and
    • classes 20257-20258 in the ESTABLISHMENT function of AFDA Express (March 2010).

    The superseded records classes cannot be used to sentence records after 1 July 2019.

  3. This authority should be used in conjunction with record authorities issued to agencies for their core business and other General Records Authorities issued by the National Archives.
  4. This records authority is to be used to determine how long records must be kept. Records are matched to the relevant core business and records class in the records authority:
    • Where the minimum retention period has expired and the records are not needed for agency business they should be destroyed as authorised in this records authority.
    • Records that have not reached the minimum retention period must be kept until they do.
    • Records that are identified as Retain as National Archives (RNA) are to be transferred to the National Archives for preservation.
  5. The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act 1983 gives agencies permission to destroy certain records without formal authorisation. This usually occurs where records are duplicated, facilitative or for short-term use only. NAP does not replace arrangements agreed to in this records authority but can be used as a tool to assist in identifying records for destruction together with this records authority and with records authorities specifically issued to an agency. The National Archives recommends that agencies develop and implement a Normal Administrative Practice policy. Advice and guidance on destroying records as a normal administrative practice and on how to develop an agency NAP policy is available from the National Archives’ website at
  6. Records that are reasonably likely to be needed as evidence in a current or future judicial proceeding or are subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or any other relevant act must not be destroyed until the action has been completed.
  7. Records subject to a disposal freeze must not be destroyed until the freeze has been lifted. Further information about disposal freezes and whether they affect the application of this records authority is available from the National Archives website at
  8. Where the method of recording information changes (for example from a manual system to a digital system, or when information is migrated from one system to a new system) this records authority can still be applied, providing the records document the same core business. The information must be accessible for the period of time prescribed in this records authority. There is a need to maintain continuing access to the information, including digital information, for the periods prescribed in this records authority or until the information is transferred into the custody of the National Archives.
  9. In general retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. Agencies may extend minimum retention periods if there is an administrative need to do so, without further reference to the National Archives. Where an agency believes that its accountability will be substantially compromised because a retention period is not adequate, please contact the National Archives for review of the retention period.
  10. Records coming within 'retain as national archives' classes in this authority have been determined to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under section 3C of the Archives Act 1983. The determination of Commonwealth records as archival resources of the Commonwealth obliges agencies to transfer the records to the National Archives when they cease to be current and, in any event, within 15 years of the records coming into existence, under section 27 of the Archives Act 1983.
  11. Records in the care of agencies should be appropriately stored, managed and preserved. Agencies need to meet this obligation to ensure that the records remain authentic and accessible over time. Under Section 31 of the Archives Act 1983, access arrangements are required for records that become available for public access including those records that remain in agency custody.
  12. Appropriate arrangements must be made with the National Archives when records are to be transferred into custody. The National Archives accepts for transfer only those records designated as national archives, and in line with an approved transfer schedule.
  13. Advice on how to use this authority is available from your agency’s records manager. If there are problems with the application of the authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the National Archives.

Contact Information

For assistance with this authority or for advice on other records management matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.


Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Heads of Commonwealth institutions under the Archives Act 1983.


Authorises arrangements for the disposal of records in accordance with paragraph 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983.

Determines records classed as 'retain as national archives' in this Records Authority to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under section 3C of the Archives Act 1983.


All records relating to the following general administrative business area: Establishment.

This authority gives permission for the destruction, retention or transfer to the National Archives of Australia of the records described. This authority will apply only if these actions take place with the consent of the agency responsible for the administrative business documented in the records.

Authorised by:

Linda Macfarlane
Assistant Director-General (Acting)
National Archives of Australia

6 June 2019




The function of establishing and changing the organisational structure, including internal reorganisations to meet agency goals. Includes moving employees from one agency to another, reducing and increasing an agency’s staffing levels, the nomination, classification and allocation of duties of staff, and reassessment and variation of positions. Also includes structural changes resulting from privatisation of government functions or the transfer of government functions to or from another jurisdiction.

Note: Before using this authority, agencies that employ staff under legislation other than the Public Service Act 1999 should check their own enabling legislation and other regulatory directives for major variations from this Act. In cases where the variations differ greatly this authority is not applicable and should not be used. In such circumstances relevant classes must be included under the agency’s own records authority.

The core activities include:

  • establishing the organisational structure;
  • reviewing and reassessing existing agency organisational structures against identified corporate requirements;
  • restructuring resulting from the reassessment of the activities, goals and structure of an organisation, including consideration of the number and disposition of employees, equipment and resources required to meet objectives. Includes machinery of government or internal organisational changes;
  • implementing structural changes to support the transfer of a function of government to the private sector (ie privatisation) or outsourcing of government functions, or the transfer of a function of government to or from, another jurisdiction, including liaising with stakeholders to facilitate the resulting transfer of positions and assets;
  • developing and implementing work level standards; and
  • creating, varying, abolishing, transferring or reclassifying positions (managing variations).

The performance of the function is supported by general activities such as:

  • developing and implementing policies and procedures;
  • providing and receiving advice;
  • establishing, managing and participating in committees and meetings;
  • delegating powers and authorising actions;
  • planning and reporting;
  • evaluating and reviewing; and
  • identifying, assessing and managing risks.

Cross references to the AFDA Express records authority

For high-level corporate committees responsible for the overall strategic direction of an agency, including establishment structures, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

For agreements between transferred employees and the receiving agency relating to remuneration and conditions of employment, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.

For the assignment of duties to individual employees, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.

For corporate plans that include the establishment structure of the agency, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

For developing and executing contracts under seal or deeds, including signed joint venture contracts under seal, use CONTRACTS UNDER SEAL/DEEDS.

Cross references to other records authorities

For establishing and winding up entities and companies which are established as separate Commonwealth bodies, use General Records Authority 34.

For authorisation to transfer custody and ownership of Commonwealth records following a government privatisation process, use the relevant agency specific custody and ownership records authority.

Class no

Description of records

Disposal action


Records documenting:

  • final approved versions of agency-wide organisational charts produced at the time an agency is established or after a major restructure (eg after a machinery of government change, an extensive internal restructure, as a result of privatisation or outsourcing, or the transfer of a function of government to or from another jurisdiction); and

  • changing the organisational structure in response to privatisation or the outsourcing of agency core business functions, or the transfer of a core business function to or from another jurisdiction. Includes:

    • records of transitional arrangements;

    • copies of instruments, ministerial directives or orders giving effect to organisational changes;

    • restructure proposals;

    • approval to transfer positions and assets;

    • stakeholder consultation; and

    • reports and supporting research.

[For agreements relating to the privatisation or outsourcing, or transfer of a function of government, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

For the privatisation of Australian Government entities and companies in their entirety, use General Records Authority 34.]

Retain as national archives


Records documenting:

  • applications to vary positions and assigned duties not approved or proceeded with; and

[For variations approved or proceeded with including abolition, reclassification and transfer of position or assigned duties, use class 62600.]

  • working papers documenting the development of procedures, reports and reviews supporting the establishment function. Includes drafts and stakeholder feedback; and

[For final versions of agency procedures, reports and reviews supporting the establishment function, use class 62600.]

Destroy 3 years after action completed


Records documenting:

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the function; and

  • establishment activities, other than those covered in classes 62598 and 62599.

Destroy 10 years after action completed

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