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For the Record February 2008

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ISSN 1321-6260 February 2008 • Number 67

2008 Storage and Disposal Survey | Working towards better digital recordkeeping - what do you need? | March 2008 Records Managers' Forum | Transfers of records as State archives | New retention and disposal authorities approved for use

For The Record

Managing Records in the New South Wales Public Sector

ISSN 1321-6260
February 2008 • Number 67

2008 Storage and Disposal Survey

The 2008 Storage and Disposal Survey commenced in early February. This benchmark survey is designed to identify the nature of storage arrangements, the cost of storing non-current records across the sector, and the level of agencies' implementation of their records retention and disposal authorities.

The online survey form is available from the 2008 Storage and disposal survey link from the recordkeeping part of our website.

As the survey questionnaire requires each public office to calculate quantities of non-current records in storage and associated storage costs, we strongly recommend that you use the pdf copy of the questionnaire (also available from the 2008 Storage and disposal survey link) as a guide for preparing your answers.

The survey is mandatory for NSW Government agencies, authorities, Departments and State Owned Corporations and survey returns, using the online form, must be forwarded to State Records by Wednesday 5 March 2008. Area Health Services will be surveyed in March/April 2008. Local Government and universities are not required to complete the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Catherine Robinson, Senior Project Officer, Government Recordkeeping, by telephone on 02 8247 8631, or by email at

Working towards better digital recordkeeping - what do you need?

State Records is updating the suite of rules and tools to help you implement digital recordkeeping to support better business, within the broader context of efficient and effective management of all your organisation's information assets.

What is digital recordkeeping?

Digital recordkeeping is the creation, capture and management of data, documents and other digital content as records - that is, as fixed representations of official business activity.

Digital recordkeeping can mean implementing an EDRMS, allowing you to save emails, webpages and Word documents as records, or routinely creating and saving records in core business systems, such as case management databases.

Keeping records in digital form has many benefits including better information sharing and reuse, and reduction in costs of paper storage. But to be relied upon as good evidence for business and legal purposes, digital records must be kept in systems that have been designed to keep records.

Help us develop practical tools with your input

As part of our Digital Records and Information Management Strategy we want to develop practical tools and guidance to help you to implement systems for keeping digital records.

You can help us by answering our online digital recordkeeping mini questionnaire (it's just 3 questions!) The mini-questionnaire is available on our website.

We are also convening focus groups to discuss future digital recordkeeping standards and guidance. If you are interested in contributing to a focus group with your views on how to achieve better digital recordkeeping, please contact Cassie Findlay, ph (02) 8247 8629 or email:

March 2008 Records Managers' Forum

When: 19 March, 9.30 am - 12.00pm.
Where: Conference Room, Western Sydney Records Centre, 143 O'Connell Street, Kingswood.

The forum will include:

  • A presentation from Dawn Routledge, Manager Information Management, NSW Fire Brigades, on her experience of disaster recovery at the Cayman Islands National Archive.
  • A presentation from Elizabeth Hadlow, Senior Conservator, State Records, on how to assemble and maintain a disaster recovery bin for your organisation.
  • Updates from State Records staff.

The forum will also include a short tour of the facilities at the Kingswood site. Those of you that have not had a look at the site before are invited to join a tour.

Registration is essential as spaces are strictly limited. To register for the Forum, follow the Records Managers' Forum link.

Transfers of records as State archives

Previous issues of For The Record highlighted the Premier's Memorandum M2007-08 Efficient and Cost Effective Management of Records.

This Memorandum asks NSW Government agencies to do three things:

  • Have in place comprehensive retention and disposal authorities for functional records by 2009/2010.
  • Implement retention and disposal authorities regularly and systematically and manage storage costs.
  • Transfer to State Records those records designated as State archives in retention and disposal authorities when they are no long required for official purposes.

Many NSW Government agencies have contacted State Records to discuss transfer, and to organise the transfer of State records. Some agencies that haven't transferred for many years have developed disposal programs and recommenced transferring records.

The Department of Forensic Medicine, Sydney South West Area Health Service, had never transferred records as State archives, and made a decision to do so and reduce their storage bill. Disposal coverage for their records is provided by GDA 19 - Departments of Forensic Medicine (Public Health System).

Following a visit to discuss the records and procedures for boxing and listing, staff of Forensic Medicine have achieved significant transfers. Since March 2007 they have transferred close to 800 boxes with well over 40,000 files. This has reduced their storage bill and ensured the long term preservation of records of continuing value. There are more records awaiting approval to transfer now.

New retention and disposal authorities approved for use

State Records recently approved functional retention and disposal authorities for the Department of Lands - Emergency Information Coordination Unit, the Sydney Catchment Authority, the Department of Lands - Crown Lands Division, the Department of Premier and Cabinet - Cabinet Secretariat, the Workers Compensation Commission, and the Department of Water and Energy.

PDF copies of current functional retention and disposal authorities approved for use by State Records since 1999 are available from the Disposing of records link from the recordkeeping part of our website. The list is arranged alphabetically by department/organisation.

If you wish to obtain copies of disposal recommendations authorised prior to 1999, or authorities listed where no PDF has been provided, please contact us at or telephone (02) 8247 8627.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2008.
First published February 2008
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.
ISSN 1321-6260