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 External Relations.
This records authority is based on the identification and analysis of the business of External Relations. 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 records 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
- This authority supersedes:
- classes 1003-1016, 1018-1019, 1021-1036, 1040-1074, 1085-1088, and 20921-20925 in the COMMUNITY RELATIONS function of the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (2010);
- classes 20439-20443 in the COMMUNITY RELATIONS function of AFDA Express (March 2010);
- classes 1342-1352, 1354-1417, and 20948-20950 in the GOVERNMENT RELATIONS function of the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (2010); and,
- classes 20268-20270 and 61244 in the GOVERNMENT RELATIONS function of AFDA Express (March 2010).
The superseded records classes cannot be used to sentence records after the date of issue of this authority.
- This Authority should be used in conjunction with records authorities issued to agencies for their core business and other General Records Authorities issued by the National Archives.
- 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 of Australia for preservation.
- The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act 1983 gives agencies permission to destroy certain types of records without formal authorisation. This usually occurs where records are duplicated, facilitative or for short-term use only. NAP does not replace arrangements 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 a NAP policy is available from the National Archives' website at www.naa.gov.au.
- 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:
- 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 Authority is available from the National Archives website at www.naa.gov.au.
- Where the method of recording information changes (for example from a manual system to an electronic system, or when information is migrated from one system to a new system) this records authority can still be applied, provided 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.
- 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 or periods are not adequate, it should contact the National Archives for review of the retention period.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Advice on how to use this Authority is available from your agency's information manager. If there are problems with the application of the Authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the National Archives.
For assistance with this authority or for advice on other information management matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.
RECORDS AUTHORITY 2019/00276855
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: External Relations.
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.
Assistant Director-General (Acting)
National Archives of Australia
2 July 2019
The function of managing relationships with external entities, including relations with individuals and organisations in the broader community both domestically and internationally, and relations with other governments and government organisations. Includes:
- administering the formal relationship between the organisation and those processes of government not covered by other general administrative or agency core functions, such as the organisation's relationship with Ministers and Members of Parliament and the political processes of Government; liaison with bodies carrying out investigations and participating in formal inquiries and investigations, such as Royal Commissions and inquiries by Parliamentary Committees and the Ombudsman; and relationships with Local, State or overseas governments;
- establishing rapport with the community and raising and maintaining the organisation's broad public profile, including maintaining relations with professional and community bodies, industry and the media; and
- establishing and maintaining international contacts and protecting, enhancing and promoting the prestige, influence, agenda and position of the organisation and the Australian Government, including facilitating international engagement, maintaining and strengthening relationships with other governments, regions and international agencies, and developing global and regional partnerships, strategies and institutions.
Note:Where an agency has specific or unique relationships with external stakeholders, such as an extensive customer service role or regular ongoing contact with other government agencies, the relevant core business activities should be covered in the agency's own records authority. This function should only be used if the agency's current records authority does not include relevant classes, or if activities are not covered in another general records authority. For example: marketing campaigns developed by Austrade are central to its operations and would not be adequately covered under EXTERNAL RELATIONS; and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT should be used to cover interaction between the agency and the Department of Finance.
The core activities include:
- providing and receiving advice, including advice provided to Cabinet, the portfolio Minister and other government agencies. Includes providing advice on the appointment, reappointment or termination of individuals to boards, committees and statutory positions administered by the agency;
- responding to representations received by the Minister from stakeholders (ie 'Ministerials'), including questions raised in Parliament by Members of Parliament on behalf of their constituents and community-based representations (received from interest groups or individual members of the public) directed to the Minister seeking formal response;
- managing the preparation and passage of an agency's legislation through Parliament;
- making formal proposals and submissions, including to national and international bodies and forums, governments, Cabinet, the portfolio Minister, agencies and other organisations;
- contributing to inquiries;
- preparing and providing advice and briefs to a Minister, government or incoming government;
- fulfilling compliance requirements, including fiscal, legal, regulatory and quality standards and requirements;
- developing and implementing external relations programs, schemes and projects, such as international engagement and exchange of personnel programs;
- participating in the development of whole-of-government, national and international policies, standards and codes of practice relating to areas of interest to the agency;
- negotiating, establishing, managing, implementing and reviewing agreements and contracts, including joint venture agreements and memoranda of understanding;
- managing joint ventures undertaken to support the external relations function, including managing joint operations with both domestic and foreign governments and organisations;
- forming and maintaining co-operative arrangements with other nations, government agencies, forums and institutions, including developing partnerships;
- monitoring developments at local, national and international levels that are relevant to the agency's interests;
- advocacy and representations made to domestic and international organisations to strengthen relationships and strategic alliances;
- establishing, managing and participating in internal and external committees, meetings, forums, working groups and other bodies;
- managing agency representatives on community organisations, government bodies or other entities, including their nomination, appointment and resignation or termination;
- liaising, collaborating and consulting with stakeholders, including liaising with other government agencies;
- planning, managing, and monitoring general customer services provided to public and private sector clients and the general public (eg enquiry desk; telephone information service), including developing service charters and handling general enquiries, complaints, feedback and suggestions;
- undertaking marketing and promotional activities, including developing advertising and social media campaigns and developing, delivering and promoting education and information awareness tools, publications and events;
- arranging, managing and attending agency and external events, including celebrations, ceremonies, social functions, visits, and other events and activities;
- receiving and responding to greetings and invitations;
- preparing and presenting speeches;
- arranging and attending conferences, seminars and workshops;
- managing award schemes, including selecting recipients and conferring awards, to promote agency services, programs and products, reward innovation and excellence or to support government policy objectives;
- managing media relations and public reactions to agency activities, including issuing media releases;
- receiving and making donations, sponsorships and gifts and applying for grant funding from government and non-government sources;
- managing and undertaking trips and visits by representatives of the agency to other organisations, including to promote the image or services of the agency;
- managing visits to, or conducting tours of, the agency by the general public and receiving delegations from external stakeholders to promote the agency, inform, and educate; and
- managing security arrangements to support external relations, including arranging security for visiting dignitaries, government representatives and the general public.
The performance of the function is supported by general activities such as:
- developing and implementing external relations policies, procedures, strategies and frameworks;
- delegating powers and authorising actions;
- making administrative arrangements to support events, trips and visits;
- planning and reporting;
- undertaking research and analysis;
- evaluating and reviewing;
- planning, conducting and facilitating audits; and
- identifying, assessing and managing risks.
Cross references to the AFDA Express records authority
For managing the acquisition of goods and services to support the external relations function, including tendering and contracting-out arrangements, use PROCUREMENT.
For financial transactions supporting the external relations function, including the general management of monetary donations received or given by the agency, use FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
For legal advice supporting external relations activities, such as advice received on the interpretation of legislation and legislation proposals, use LEGAL SERVICES.
For developing initial proposals for new legislation and amendments to existing legislation, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.
For the production and distribution of agency publications developed in support of external relations, such as published versions of conference proceedings hosted by the agency, service charters and annual reports, use PUBLICATION.
For registers tracking the handling of Cabinet documents and registers of Ministerial correspondence, use TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION 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 providing financial assistance through grants for projects or programs to strengthen the agency's domestic or international relationships, including funding of scholarship programs, use General Records Authority 28 – Grant Management.
For managing agency representatives appointed to governing bodies, use General Records Authority 27 – Governing Bodies.
For managing agency representatives appointed to advisory bodies, use General Records Authority 26 – Advisory Bodies.
For managing the official operations and activities of Ministers of State, including records created or received by Ministers or Ministerial office staff in the exercise of official Ministerial duties, use General Records Authority 38 – Ministers of State.
For developing and managing exhibitions and displays of material contained in collections acquired by the agency, use General Records Authority 32 – Small Collection Management.
For developing and providing training courses to directly support the core functions of the agency, use the relevant function in an agency-specific records authority or an appropriate general records authority that corresponds with the subject of the training.
Description of records
Includes final versions of advice and working papers such as reports, supporting research, and stakeholder consultations.
[For final versions of Cabinet documents (eg numbered Cabinet memorandums, numbered Cabinet submissions), use class 62658.]
[For managing employees involved in staff exchange programs, including personnel records documenting employment conditions, salaries, leave and transfers, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.]
[For inquiries with no direct relation to the agency's core functions, use class 62661.]
[For developing initial proposals for new legislation and amendments to existing legislation, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.
For legal advice received on the interpretation of legislation and legislation proposals, use LEGAL SERVICES.]
[For the production and distribution of published versions of reports (eg annual reports), use PUBLICATION.]
[For direct agency communication with stakeholders via social media channels, such as interactions with agency clients (eg complaints, enquiries, feedback), use the relevant core business in an agency-specific records authority or an appropriate general records authority that corresponds with the topic of the communication.]
[For agencies that receive or give donations as part of their core business, such as where public donations provide major support for core functions (eg National Library of Australia and the National Museum of Australia) or the agency makes substantial donations of aid (eg Department of Foreign Affairs), use the agency's own records authority.
For managing financial transactions associated with donations and gifts received or made by the agency, use FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.]
[For international visits made by members of agency advisory bodies, use General Records Authority 26 – Advisory Bodies.]
Retain as national archives
The following records regulated by Cabinet Handbook instructions:
[For registers tracking the handling of Cabinet documents, use TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT.
For copies of Cabinet documents that have been substantially annotated by the Minister or Ministerial office, use General Records Authority 38 – Ministers of State.]
[For working papers documenting the development of Cabinet records, use class 62657.]
Destroy in accordance with Cabinet Handbook instructions
Destroy 10 years after action completed
[For attendance of staff or members of the governing or advisory bodies at conferences and seminars for staff development purposes, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.]
[For final versions of unpublished proceedings, reports, presentations and papers for agency hosted conferences, use class 62657.]
[For 'Ministerials' from peak industry bodies, leading community groups, and other influential stakeholders (including companies, organisations and individuals) concerning issues of a contentious or high-profile nature, or which are of major significance to the agency and/or the community, use class 62657.]
[For final versions of media releases and transcripts of interviews, use class 62657.]
[For travel arrangements for staff to attend promotional activities supporting the external relations function, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.
For visits by royalty, Heads of State or similarly significant personages to the agency, use class 62657.
For visits made to the agency by important community representatives, use class 62661.
For building security arrangements made for a visit, use PROPERTY MANAGEMENT.
For staff social clubs and associated functions, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.]
[For suggestions received from personnel, use PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.]
[For agency-wide external relations plans, use class 62661.]
[For final versions of agency procedures supporting the external relations function, use class 62661.]
Destroy 3 years after action completed
Destroy 7 years after action completed