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Revising an approved functional retention and disposal authority

Determine the need to review | Consolidate existing disposal authorisation | Review a disposal authority | Submit a revised disposal authority

Organisations should review functional retention and disposal authorities regularly to ensure that they remain relevant as functions and activities, the operating environment and requirements for records change.

Determine the need to review

Retention requirements may change over time. This can occur when:

  • business needs or practices change
  • new laws, regulations or standards are introduced
  • new technology is implemented
  • government is restructured and functions are moved between entities, or
  • unforseen community expectations become apparent.

Remember, records that are not listed in the functional retention and disposal authority cannot be destroyed or transferred to State Records.

A review is necessary when:

  • the disposal authorisation specific to your organisation was approved 10 or more years ago
  • changes in recordkeeping requirements for the organisation are not reflected in current appraisal decisions
  • your organisation has undergone substantial changes to its functions, activities and business processes, including when functions have moved or evolved as a result of administrative change, or
  • you want to reduce the minimum retention periods or change the disposal actions (extending the minimum retention periods does not require approval).

State Records recommends that organisations check any functional retention and disposal authorities more than 5 years old to ensure that the retention periods and disposal actions remain relevant.

Consolidate existing disposal authorisation

Your organisation may have a number of existing functional retention and disposal authorities, or disposal authorisation for only a portion of its unique records. In these cases, the review process provides a good opportunity to consolidate existing disposal authorisation and prepare a functional retention and disposal authority that covers all of your organisation's unique functions.

Review a disposal authority

Use the methodology outlined in these procedures to review a functional retention and disposal authority. This methodology is based on the DIRKS methodology described in Strategies for Documenting Government Business: The DIRKS Manual.

Submit a revised disposal authority

The process for submitting a revised functional retention and disposal authority is the same as the process for submitting a new authority. However, if the revised authority will supersede the organisation's current authority you need to ensure that the justification information included with the revised authority clearly identifies:

  • any new entries included to cover records not previously covered
  • the equivalent entry in the organisation's current authority
  • the consolidation or merging of entries from the current authority
  • where minimum retention periods are consistent with current approved decisions
  • any proposed changes to the current approved disposal triggers from which minimum retention periods are to be calculated and the reasons for the proposed changes
  • any proposed changes to retention periods or final disposal actions and the reasons for the proposed changes.

See this example of a draft retention and disposal authority (pdf, 32kb) for how this information should be documented.

Your supporting documentation (required to be submitted with the initial draft of the authority) should also note any functions/activities/disposal classes in the organisation's current authority that have not been included in the revised authority, e.g. because the function/activity is no longer carried out by the organisation and records of that process are no longer created/maintained by the organisation, either because they have been appropriately destroyed or transferred to the relevant successor organisation.

This information ensures some continuity in decision making about the retention of records. Documenting this information also assists State Records in reviewing revised retention and disposal authorities. Importantly, it will also assist your own organisation to track or map changes required to update existing records management, EDRMS or business systems information supporting records disposal implementation processes.