For ministers' offices
Any information that is created or received in the course of official duties in a NSW public office is considered to be a record. Records can be in any format. Records may need to be kept for certain periods of time to provide evidence of the business conducted and to meet legal or other obligations.
Responsibilities of public offices
Under the State Records Act, NSW public offices are required to:
- create full and accurate records of the official business transacted
- capture and retain those records for as long as they are required
- dispose of records legally and appropriately, and
- transfer permanently valuable records to State Records NSW (where they will be retained as part of the State’s official archives).
To meet these requirements each public office needs to ensure that it has appropriate systems, policies and procedures in place.
In addition, the public office should ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities to create and capture records of the official business that they undertake.
Digital records present a number of unique opportunities and challenges. The following guidance may assist in the management of these records:
- FAQs: emails and recordkeeping (Recordkeeping in brief 49)
- Your responsibilities for managing email (online module)
- Managing shared drives (Recordkeeping in Brief 57)
- Templates for records creation, including email templates
Other resources which may be of assistance to Minister's offices in setting up records management systems and practices include:
|Records Management Program Toolkit for small public offices||A toolkit designed to assist small public offices. Includes practical templates and tools to streamline the production of key documents to support their records management program and meet their obligations.|
|How to take control of your records (Guideline 18)||A guide to establishing simple records systems utilising common office applications. Includes a number of templates for downloading and an Excel spreadsheet for records control.|
|These leaflets are designed to inform all employees about their broad recordkeeping responsibilities. They can be downloaded or hard copy versions can be obtained by contacting us.|
State Records offers a range of short courses in records management in both Sydney and regional areas of New South Wales. Course outlines and information on prices and locations are available in our current Training calendar.
State Records also provides a number of free on-line training modules on records management and recordkeeping in the public sector. These can be accessed through our Training resource centre.
Any disposal of records should be in accordance with retention and disposal authorities authorised by State Records and departmental policy.
Ministers' offices should refer to General retention and disposal authority - Records of a Minister's Office (GDA13) to manage the disposal of records relating to a Minister's portfolio responsibilities.
This authority can be used in conjunction with other general retention and disposal authorities issued by State Records which cover financial, personnel and other administrative records.
The following records are not covered by General retention and disposal authority – Records of a Minister’s Office:
|Types of documents||Action|
|Cabinet documents||These should be returned to the Cabinet Office when they are no longer required by the Minister's office|
|Agency/departmental records||These should be returned to the responsible agency/department when no longer required by the Minister's office|
|Constituency, party political records or personal records||These are not State records and should be dealt with by the Minister or representative.|
Guidance on implementing this authority is available in Disposing of records of a Minister's office (Recordkeeping in brief 25).
See also Quick tips: retention and disposal of records to assist in making retention and disposal decisions.
When a Minister retires or otherwise leaves office, any records that have been identified as State archives in the General retention and disposal authority - Records of a Minister’s Office or in another general retention and disposal authority should be transferred to State Records.
Transfer to archives involves boxing and listing the records and arranging with State Records for collection or delivery. State Records staff should be contacted at the beginning of this process.
These records will also require an access direction at time of transfer. See the Sample letter setting out access directions.
More guidance is available in Disposing of records of a Minister's office (Recordkeeping in brief 25).