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Codes of best practice

AS ISO 15489 Records Management | AS 4390 Records Management

This page summarises information about Australian and international standards affecting records management. For information about the standards issued by State Records to govern recordkeeping in the NSW public sector, please see the Standards section of the Government Recordkeeping Manual.

AS ISO 15489 Records Management

On 13 March 2002 Standards Australia published a new Australian Standard on records management. The Standard is in two parts: 

  • AS ISO 15489.1-2002, Records Management - Part 1: General
  • AS ISO 15489.2-2002, Records Management - Part 2: Guidelines

AS ISO 15489.1 is a high level statement of records management principles and policy and is supported by AS ISO 15489.2, a technical report which provides more detail and guidance to assist with the implementation of best practice recordkeeping.

This Standard replaces Australian Standard, AS 4390-1996, Records Management. However, it is based on AS 4390 and so there is significant continuity between the standards. 

The new standard is an Australian codification of the International Standard on Records Management, ISO 15489, approved in October 2001. It therefore represents international best practice for recordkeeping.

An Introduction to AS ISO 15489 briefly discusses the structure and requirements of the standard and summarises its relationship to and differences with AS 4390. 

Purchasing AS ISO 15489

To purchase copies of AS ISO 15489 Parts 1 and 2, please contact SAI Global (distributor of Australian Standards).

The standard can be purchased in paper and electronic form. Prices differ according to format. 

AS ISO 15489 as a code of best practice in NSW public sector

Since it represents national best practice, State Records proposed that both parts of the new Australian Standard, AS ISO 15489.1-2002, Records Managementbe approved as a code of best practice for records management by public offices, under s. 13 of the State Records Act1998.

State Records is required to consult with public offices on any proposed code of best practice prior to its approval. Details of the consultation undertaken and the responses received are available in the Table of Commentary for the Standard. The Standard was ratified as a code of best practice by the Board of State Records on 19 June 2002.

Documents approved as codes of best practice under the State Records Act do not establish mandatory requirements. Rather, they codify and describe best practice and function as a benchmarks against which organisations can measure their systems and practices. They may also be used by external bodies to assess whether accepted best practice has been followed in a particular instance.

AS 4390 Records Management

Issued in 1996, AS 4390-1996 had and continues to have a significant impact on the Australian business environment. It was the first records management standard in the world and is the basis for the new international and Australian records management standards. AS 4390-1996 was issued as a code of best practice for the NSW public sector under section 13 of the State Records Act from February 1999 until June 2011.