Australian Government agencies are undertaking and documenting a variety of activities relating to their unique business functions and administrative responsibilities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The retention of the records resulting from these activities will be covered both by agencies’ own specific records authorities and by general records authorities, particularly AFDA Express Version 2 which covers administrative responsibilities common to most agencies.
This guide can assist with sentencing records arising from administrative activities related to the response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is arranged by function. Each function lists administrative records that may be created by agencies when undertaking activities in response to COVID-19, and provides the corresponding disposal classes for these records in AFDA Express Version 2.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is a significant event in world history and the Australian Government’s response is likely to be of historical and research interest. The following list of COVID-related records will periodically be reviewed and updated with additions and amendment to retention requirements where applicable. It is possible that some of the classes identified in this guide may subsequently be identified for retention as national archives. For assistance or clarification with this guide, please contact the Agency Service Centre.
We recommend that agency-specific records authorities are reviewed as many core business records relating to the COVID-19 outbreak may meet the criteria to be retained as national archives. Please contact the Agency Service Centre if you identify a potential gap in your records authority.
Note: Where an agency provides programs or services as part of its core business to support the national response to COVID-19, the relevant core business activities should be covered in the agency’s own records authority. For example: nationwide COVID-19 advertising and public awareness campaigns produced by the Department of Health.
- Allocation, distribution and/or installation of additional equipment and stores obtained as a consequence of COVID-19, such as the provision of products to enable workplace hygiene – class 62391
- Plans and procedures relating to the allocation, distribution and installation of equipment and stores – class 62392
Records relating to the compensation claims by employees and members of the public who contracted COVID-19 while on agency premises.
- Compensation claim cases submitted by:
- an employee or on behalf of an employee – class 62608
- a member of the public over the age of 18 at the time of the incident – class 62611
- a member of the public under the age of 18 at the time of incident – class 62662
- Policies and procedures – class 62611
- Committees and meetings – class 62611
- Media releases relating to COVID-19 matters (master set) – class 62657
- Arrangements for media liaison – class 62661
- External or inter-governmental committees and taskforces formed relating to COVID-19 – classes 62657/62661
- Provision and receipt of advice to and from other government agencies or international stakeholders – classes 62657/62661
- Submissions and reports relating to agency functions and concerning COVID-19 – classes 62657/62659
- Compliance with regulatory requirements and other standards during the agency’s COVID-19 response, such as notifying other agencies of a virus outbreak – class 62661
- Grievances and complaints arising from the impact of the agency’s COVID-19 response raised on behalf of employees, such as those relating to the work environment and conditions – class 62596
- Medical records held on personnel or service history files for employees who have contracted COVID-19 – classes 62641/62629
- Records of incidents held on personnel or service history files for employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace – classes 62641/62629
- Policies and procedures developed in response to COVID-19, such as arrangements for working from home, recruitment and general requirements – class 62638
- Provision and promotion of a healthy lifestyle and work environment to support staff during the COVID-19 outbreak, such as influenza vaccination programs and providing advice relating to general health – class 62638
- Training arising from new roles or redeployment of staff between agencies as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak – classes 62635/62638
- Records of vaccination status or copies of vaccination certificates for employees, contractors, and volunteers that are retained on an individual’s personnel or service history files – classes 62641/62629 (employees and contractors) and classes 62641/62638 (volunteers). For vaccination records that are centrally recorded, such as in a COVID-19 vaccination register, see Work Health and Safety (below).
- Work health and safety training for staff relating to COVID-19 – classes 62631/62635/62638
- Purchase of COVID-19 related goods and services, such as those to protect the safety of staff and members of the public (eg personal protective equipment) or to commission related data or research reports – class 62544
- Fitting-out or installation of modifications to agency premises arising from COVID-19, such as protective screens or other alterations to ensure safe distancing for staff or members of the public – class 62671
- Master versions of publications produced or commissioned by the agency for external audiences that relate to COVID-19, such as those which support major publicity and community awareness campaigns in relation to an agency’s core business – class 62613
- Master versions of publications produced or commissioned by the agency for internal stakeholders (eg employees) that relate to COVID-19, including circulars, newsletters and other advice – classes 62613/62619
- Production processes and distribution for agency publications relating to COVID-19 – class 62618
- Committees, taskforces, working groups and other bodies formed to manage the agency’s strategic response to COVID-19 – classes 62602/62603
- Agency-wide strategic policies relating to COVID-19 – class 62602.
- Agency-wide internal COVID-19 related plans and supporting procedures – classes 62604/62605
- Agency-wide risk management activities arising from COVID-19 – class 62605
- Compliance with regulatory requirements and other standards during the agency’s COVID-19 response – class 62605
Technology and Information Management
- Policies, procedures and advice relating to information management practices for employees who are working from home as a consequence of COVID-19, including guidance for the creation, capture, control and security of data and information – class 62625
- Supply and provision of technology and telecommunications to enable staff required to work from home as a result of COVID-19, including implementing, configuring and modifying specific software based technology solutions to support staff – classes 62622/62624/62625
- Security breaches arising from a cyberattack during the COVID-19 outbreak – classes 62621/62625
Work Health and Safety
- Workplace incidents where employees or members of the public have tested positive to COVID-19 (includes relevant contact tracing records) and the result is:
- serious illness or death – class 62648
- minor or no illness where individual is under 18 – class 62649
- minor or no illness where individual is over 18 – class 62652
- Inquiries or inspections arising from an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace – class 62646/62650
- Plans for and provision of a safe work environment and promotion of safe work practices (at home and workplace) to protect staff during a COVID-19 outbreak – class 62652. For publications produced to support health promotion, see Publication (above).
- Policies and procedures for the handling of COVID-19 incidents and cases – class 62652
- Health surveillance and monitoring relating to issues arising from COVID-19, such as staff surveys and medical examinations – classes 62645/62652
- Compliance with regulatory requirements and other standards during the agency’s COVID-19 response – class 62652
- Contact tracing records such as registers and data collected from online booking systems and apps to enable contact tracing where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 on the agency’s premises – class 62652 will apply unless the government directives (eg Chief Health Officer directives) of the relevant state or territory where the premises are located, positively require the destruction of the contact tracing records within a certain period. For example, at the time of writing, Queensland requires contact tracing information to be kept for a minimum of 30 days but it must be destroyed no longer than 56 days after collection.
- Records of vaccination status or copies of vaccination certificates for employees, contractors, and volunteers that are centrally recorded, such as in a COVID-19 vaccination register – either an organisation-wide register, or a location specific register. Such an approach may be required to meet local public health orders and the registers will be considered work health and safety compliance records – class 62652. For vaccination records on an individual’s personnel or service history file, see Personnel Management (above).