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Records of a Ministers' Office (GDA13)

This general retention and disposal authority covers records relating to Ministers' portfolio responsibilities.

Part 1: The General Retention and Disposal Authority | Part 2: Understanding and Using the Authority

Part 1: The General Retention and Disposal Authority

1.1 Statement of authority

GDA No GDA 13
Public office Offices of Ministers of the NSW Government, including the Premier, in respect of their responsibilities for the administration of government and which come within the meaning of public office as defined in the State Records Act 1998
Scope This general retention and disposal authority covers records relating to Ministers portfolio responsibilities.
Authority This general retention and disposal authority is issued under section 21(2)(c) of the State Records Act. It has been approved by the Board of the State Records Authority in accordance with section 21(3) of the State Records Act.
Authorised   David Roberts
Director
State Records Authority of New South Wales
23 December 2002

1.2 Records authorised for disposal

The following table describes classes of records [1] and indicates the authorised disposal action applying to them.

No Description Disposal Action
1.0  RECORDS OF PORTFOLIO RESPONSIBILITIES  
1.1 Records relating to the creation of new agencies, changes to the Minister's portfolio responsibilities or changes to the functions of an agency within the Minister's portfolio.

This includes records documenting official assignments from the Premier which are outside the Minister's current portfolio but may be expected to lead to the creation of new agencies.
Required as State archives 
1.2 Records relating to the development, implementation or review of government policy and legislation.

This includes records relating to the preparation of Cabinet submissions including Cabinet Minutes and correspondence between the Minister and other members of Government, Parliament or other parties concerning matters relating to the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister. This also includes records that originated in a department or agency within the Minister's portfolio and which resulted in further action or were significantly annotated or added to.

Note All other agency files and correspondence should be returned to the appropriate agency.
Required as State archives 
1.3  Records relating to appointments made by or appeals to the Minister as part of their legislative responsibilities or to deliberations, decision making and actions on matters relating to their portfolio or other official responsibilities. Required as State archives 
1.4  Correspondence from members of the public or organisations concerning matters relating to the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister and receiving further action. Required as State archives 
1.5  Correspondence concerning matters of a routine nature or referred to another Minister for action and receiving no further action.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy
1.6  Records relating to Committees, Royal Commissions or Commissions/Committees of Inquiry where the Minister has been a member, was required to give evidence or had any other association.

Note This does not include departmental, Parliamentary or Cabinet committees (where the main record is retained by the agency, Cabinet Office or Parliament).
Required as State archives 
1.7  Briefing notes or papers maintained in the Premier's Office.  Required as State archives 
1.8  Briefing notes or papers of other Ministers concerning portfolio specific or whole of government issues of significance, such as those attracting media attention, public controversy or debate or resulting in public inquiries. This may include briefings prepared for parliamentary question time or for meetings with stakeholder groups or their representatives. Required as State archives 
1.9  Other briefing notes or papers. Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy
1.10 Final transcripts of speeches, addresses and presentations delivered by the Minister in their capacity as Minister or as a representative of the Government.

Note This does not include party political speeches or speeches made in relation to the Minister's parliamentary responsibilities on constituency matters.
Required as State archives
1.11  Audio, video or other recordings of speeches or addresses delivered by the Minister.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.12  Records relating to functions, ceremonies and celebrations attended by the Minister, or their representative, of State significance or organised to mark major anniversaries of significant events or structures (eg the Centenary of Federation, opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Sydney Opera House). This includes photographs, invitations, addresses etc.  Required as State archives 
1.13  Records relating to all other functions, celebrations or ceremonies.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.14  Media releases or statements issued by the Minister.  Required as State archives 
1.15  All other media or publicity material, including records relating to the organisation of interviews or general media access to the Minister.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.16  Originals or master copies of circulars and newsletters originating from the Minister's office.

Note Duplicate copies can be disposed of when reference ceases.
Required as State archives 
1.17  Newspaper cuttings, journal articles, recordings or transcripts of media programs or broadcasts etc.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.18  Diaries or appointment books of the Premier.  Required as State archives 
1.19  Diaries or appointment books of Ministers which have been used to record detailed information concerning significant matters that are not recorded elsewhere.  Required as State archives 
1.20 Other diaries and appointment books.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.21  Records relating to routine enquiries or information requests concerning the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister.  Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 
1.22  Material supplied to or obtained by the Minister for reference purposes. Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy 

[1] All entries apply to records in any format, including electronic media, unless otherwise specified.

1.3 Records not affected by this authority

The following table describes types of records created or received in a Minister's Office which are not affected by this Authority and provides guidance on their disposal.

Type of records Description Guidance
CABINET DOCUMENTS  Cabinet documents are designated as belonging to The Cabinet Office records system. They are controlled and circulated under The Cabinet Office's direction and supervision to authorised recipients only (mainly Ministers and their immediate advisors).

Cabinet documents can include:
  • Cabinet agendas
  • Cabinet minutes
  • Cabinet committee agendas
  • Cabinet committee minutes
  • Cabinet committee reports
  • memoranda to the Cabinet
  • draft bills
  • records of Cabinet decisions, and
  • advice, legal and other, relating to Cabinet matters.
When a Minister ceases to hold Cabinet office all Cabinet documents held by the Minister should be returned to The Cabinet Office. 
AGENCY RECORDS  Agency records are records created and maintained by departments or agencies within the Minister's portfolio and forwarded to the Minister.   
  Agency records, such as registered files and correspondence, which have been passed to the Minister from an agency.  Return to the appropriate responsible agency 
  Copies of records created by an agency and maintained by the Minister for reference purposes.  Retain until no longer required for administrative or reference purposes, then destroy 
CONSTITUENCY/PARTY POLITICAL RECORDS  Records relating to electoral or political party matters, including leadership, party organisation, caucus affairs and appointments. This includes records relating to the Minister's constituency business and role as an elected member of Parliament (but does not include records that are part of the records of Parliament and which are State records, such as Parliamentary committee records etc).  These are not State records and should be dealt with by the Minister or their representative 
PERSONAL RECORDS  Records relating to the private life, personal interests and associations of the Minister.  These are not State records and should be dealt with by the Minister or their representative 

Part 2: Understanding and Using the Authority

2.1 Overview

Purpose of the Authority

The purpose of issuing the General Retention and Disposal Authority - Records of a Minister's Office (GDA 13) is to permit Ministerial and/or Departmental staff to destroy certain records relating to a Minister's portfolio responsibilities, after they are no longer required for administrative purposes, and to identify which records are required as State archives. The disposal actions in this Authority should enable Ministerial and/or Departmental staff to better manage records created in a Minister's office.

What records does the Authority cover?

This Authority authorises the disposal of records relating to a Minister's portfolio responsibilities. This includes electronic records such as email messages and wordprocessed documents where they are the official record of the Minister's activities.

What records are not covered?

This Authority does not cover all records created or received in a Minister's Office. The following table indicates general rules for managing other records:

Type of records General rule
Cabinet documents  Return to The Cabinet Office when no longer required (in accordance with Cabinet Office procedures) 
Agency/Departmental records  Return to the responsible agency/department when no longer required 
Constituency/Party political records  These are not State records and should be dealt with by the Minister or representative 
Personal records  These are not State records and should be dealt with by the Minister or representative 

How long is the Authority in force?

This Authority will remain in force until it is superseded or withdrawn from use by State Records.

Structure of the Authority

The structure of the Authority is a table of three columns comprising a number of information components.

Column Information Components
No.  Each disposal class has a unique number used to identify it. 
Description  Each disposal class has a description which gives its scope. Additional information is sometimes included in a note. 
Disposal action 

This identifies what should happen to the records. In this Authority there are two disposal actions:

  1. Required as State archives
  2. Retain until no longer required for administrative purposes, then destroy

Providing feedback and seeking further assistance

To suggest amendments or alterations to this Authority, or to obtain assistance in the interpretation or implementation of the Authority, contact us.

2.2 Guidelines for implementation

Introduction

This document provides summary guidance on implementing the General Retention and Disposal Authority - Records of a Minister's Office (GDA 13).

Identify records relating to portfolio responsibilities

The Authority establishes rules for the management of records relating to a Minister's portfolio responsibilities. It is important that records relating to portfolio responsibilities are identified from the other records that may be found in a Minister's office.

Other rules and guidance exist for managing Cabinet documents, agency records, constituency/party political and personal records (see What records are not covered? above)

Electronic records

The retention and disposal authority applies equally to electronic records, including email, wordprocessed documents and database records. Electronic records relating to a Minister's portfolio responsibilities should be captured into official filing systems (either paper-based or electronic). Electronic records should also be protected and readily accessible for as long as they are required for administrative purposes. See Managing digital records for information relating to managing the accessibility of technology dependent records.

Destroying records

When records are no longer required for administrative purposes (and they are not required as State archives) destruction of the records may be undertaken without further reference to State Records. Persons using the Authority should apply it with caution, bearing in mind that the authorisations for disposal are given in terms of the State Records Act only. It is the responsibility of every public office to ensure that all legal and other requirements for retention of records have been met before disposing of any records.

Note that where copies exist of records that have been captured onto an official file, or into an electronic records or document management system, they may be destroyed as a normal administrative practice. This applies to copies of email and wordprocessed documents that may have been printed and filed or captured electronically into a records system.

Transferring records required as State archives

Records required as State archives under the Authority should be clearly identified so that they can be transferred to State Record's custody when they are no longer required for administrative purposes or when the Minister retires or otherwise leaves office.

Transfer of ownership must be authorised

Regardless of whether a record has been authorised for destruction or is required as a State archive, ownership of a State record must not be transferred to any person or organisation without the explicit authorisation of State Records.

Further guidance

More comprehensive information about implementation of retention and disposal authorities is found in State Records' guidelines:

2.3 What to do when a Minister retires or leaves office

Introduction

When a Minister retires or otherwise leaves office all records held by the Ministerial office should be disposed of in accordance with appropriate guidelines applicable to the type of records.

Procedure for disposing of a Minister's records

The table below describes the steps to take to dispose of a Minister's records.

Step Action
1 Determine whether the records belong to The Cabinet Office or a department or agency within the Minister's portfolio.

If the records are... Then...
Cabinet documents return them to The Cabinet Office (in accordance with Cabinet Office procedures)
departmental or agency records return them to the responsible department or agency


Note: Records belong to The Cabinet Office, a department or agency if they originated or were registered in these offices and were passed to the Minister's office for action or information 

2

Determine whether the records relate to the Minister's portfolio responsibilities

If yes, go to Step 3

If the records are constituency, party political or personal records of a Minister they are not State records and should be disposed of by the Minister or their representative

3 Determine whether the records are required as State archives

If yes, go to Step 4

If no, go to Step 5 
4 Prepare records required as State archives for transfer to the custody of State Records

If the format of the records is… Then…
paper box and list the records
electronic copy the records to appropriate media (eg CDRom, tape) and list the contents of the CD or tape

Note: Records should be boxed and listed in accordance with the guidelines contained in our publication Procedures for transferring custody of records as State archives
5 Destroy paper and electronic records that are no longer required for administrative purposes 

Further assistance

For further assistance with disposing of a Minister's records when they retire or otherwise leave office contact us.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of New South Wales, 2003.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.
ISBN 0-9750563-0-1