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Recordkeeping In Brief 40 - Dealing with applications for access directions

This Recordkeeping in Brief outlines your responsibilities when receiving and processing an application to make an open to public access (OPA) direction to records over 30 years of age that are not already subject to an access direction.

Who can apply to have an OPA direction made?

If records are not covered by an access direction, anyone can apply, including the State Records Authority, to have an access direction made for records in the open access period.

What can an application cover?

An application can relate to any records in the open access period that are not covered by an access direction. An application can relate to an individual record, classes, groups, series or all records not covered by an access direction.

Note: This is an ideal opportunity to make access direction for all your records not already subject to an access direction.

How is an application made?

An application to make an access direction must:

  • be made in writing to the responsible public office
  • accurately identify the records that require an access direction, and
  • include the name and contact details of the applicant.

The applicant does not need to demonstrate a need or give a reason for the application.

An application form to make an open to public access direction under s.54 of the State Records Act form is available on State Records' web site and in our reading room upon request.

Is there a fee for applying to have an access direction made?

There is no fee for processing an application to make an access direction.

When does the direction need to be made?

A public office must make an access direction within 14 days of the application being made.

What if an access direction is not made?

If an access direction is not made within 14 days the records subject to the application are considered to be open to public access.

Steps for processing an application to make an OPA direction

Below is a table outlining the steps involved in processing an application.

Step Action
1 Acknowledge the receipt of the application in writing to the applicant and State Records.
2 Identify the records that are subject to the application
3 Check to make sure the records are not already covered by an access direction on the Register of access directions
4 Identify any other records not covered by an access direction that can be included in the direction
5 Make an access direction by consulting: Tip: remember you can make more than one access direction for the records in cases where some records can be opened and others may need a longer period of closure.
6 Inform the applicant and State Records in writing of the direction within 14 days of the application being made.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2003.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.
ISSN 1440-3978