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Part 2: Understanding and using the authority (GDA21)

Overview of GDA21.

2.1. Overview2.2 Guidelines for implementation2.3 Records required as State archives

2.1. Overview

Purpose

The purpose of issuing the General Retention and Disposal Authority - Public Health Services: Administrative records is to identify which records relating to the administration of health care services are required as State archives and to permit public health organisations and the services and facilities operated by them to destroy certain other administrative records when they are no longer required.

What records does this authority cover?

This Authority authorises the disposal of:

  • records relating to the corporate management and governance of organisations. This includes records of Boards of management, committees and strategic planning processes
  • records relating to the development, delivery and funding of health care services
  • records relating to the surveillance, promotion and protection of the health of the community. This includes the oversight and management of research activities and all core public health functions of environmental health and food safety, including tobacco control and water safety, and the monitoring and surveillance of outbreaks of disease and infections
  • records relating to education, training and development of health care workers, workforce planning and the employment conditions of certain personnel
  • records relating to the administration of related support services such as childcare, corporate services and property management.

Date range covered

Records listed in this authority created wholly or in part prior to 1940 are required as State archives (see also 2.3 Records required as State archives below). For records created wholly after 1940 the minimum retention periods and disposal actions identified in this authority apply to the various classes of records listed.

What records are not covered?

This Authority does not cover all records relating to the management and administration of public health organisations and should be used in conjunction with other General Retention and Disposal Authorities issued by State Records. Services should also consult the following for disposal authorisation.

For records relating to... Use the following general retention and disposal authority
Patient/client treatment and care General Retention and Disposal Authority - Public Health Services: Patient/Client records
General administration (ie not health sector specific) General Retention and Disposal Authority - Administrative records
Personnel General Retention and Disposal Authority - Administrative records
Financial management General Retention and Disposal Authority - Administrative records

How long is this authority in force?

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

Providing feedback

To suggest amendments or alterations to this authority please contact us via email disposal@records.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 8247 8636.

Further assistance

To obtain assistance in the interpretation or implementation of this authority, or any of our general retention and disposal authorities, contact us via email disposal@records.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 8247 8636.

2.2 Guidelines for implementation

Introduction

Comprehensive information about implementation of disposal authorities is found in State Records' guideline on sentencing records, guideline on destruction of records and procedures for transferring records as State archives.

Minimum retention periods

The authority specifies minimum retention periods for all records not required as State archives. A Service must not destroy or otherwise dispose of records before the minimum retention period has expired. Services may retain records for longer periods of time, subject to organisational need, without further reference to State Records. Reasons for longer retention can include legal requirements, administrative need, on-going research use or government directives.

Retention of electronic records

Electronic records must be protected and readily accessible for the specified minimum retention period. See Managing digital records for information relating to managing the accessibility of electronic and other technology dependent records.

Destroying records

When the authorised minimum retention period has been reached, appropriate arrangements for the destruction of records may be undertaken without further reference to State Records, unless otherwise advised. 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 the public office to ensure that all legal and other organisational requirements for retention of records have been met before disposing of any of its records. A public office must not destroy any records where the public office is aware of possible legal action, investigation or inquiry where the records may be required as evidence.

Transferring records required as State archives

Records identified in the Authority as being required as State archives should be prepared for transfer to State Record's custody and/or control only when they are no longer required for ongoing business use.

Transfer of ownership must be authorised

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

2.3 Records required as State archives

Records which are to be retained as State archives are identified with the disposal action Required as State archives.

Pre 1940 records

Records listed in this authority created wholly or in part prior to 1940 are required as State archives (for example a file started in 1913 and ending shortly after 1940). Prior to proposing to transfer pre 1940 records as State archives services should contact State Records to discuss the condition, types, content and quantities of records involved. Some records may be subject to further appraisal and review if State Records does not consider their retention as State archives is warranted.