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For small public offices

Small and very small organisations can face particular challenges in meeting their responsibilities under the State Records Act.

What is a small public office? | State Records Act | Where do I start? | What help can I get?Records management training | Information resources

Overview

All NSW public offices have a range of responsibilities under the State Records Act. All public offices must meet these responsibilities but with fewer staff and other resources, small and very small organisations can face particular challenges in meeting their responsibilities.

What is a small public office?

Small public offices are public sector organisations who employ less than eighty staff, while very small public offices employ less than twenty staff. They can be offices within the government, local government or public health sectors.

State Records Act

Public offices in NSW of all sizes are subject to the requirements of the State Records Act 1998.

For more information about how State Records monitors public office compliance with the Act, see the Monitoring Framework.

For a concise summary of the key responsibilities under the State Records Act please see Key obligations under the State Records Act.

Where do I start?

Under the State Records Act, NSW public offices are required to create full and accurate records and to establish and maintain a records management program. For information on some useful records management tools please see the page Where do I start?

While it is not comprehensive, this page contains information on a number of key records management tools that you will need to improve recordkeeping and demonstrate compliance with the State Records Act. Links to more detailed guidance are included with each tool.

What help can I get about recordkeeping?

State Records is happy to provide a range of assistance to help improve recordkeeping in small public offices.  You can contact us to:

  • seek advice about any recordkeeping issues you are facing - these could include email management, the lawful disposal of records, obtaining organisational support for records management, the purchase of records management software etc
  • discuss tools and strategies that can help you to improve your organisational recordkeeping
  • review documentation and ideas you have for supporting your records management program
  • discuss requirements of the State Records Act, and
  • request contact information of staff in other public offices who are facing similar recordkeeping issues.

For further information about any of these services, please contact us.

The Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia (RIMPA) and the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) are two professional organisations that support recordkeeping in Australia. Both organisations provide a range of educational, networking and other opportunities that may be able to assist you with your recordkeeping needs. See the Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia and the Australian Society of Archivists websites for more information.

Records management training

State Records offers a range of short courses in records management. Training is offered in Sydney, Western Sydney and regional areas.  For further information, please see our current training calendar.

We also have range of free online training modules on records management and recordkeeping in the NSW public sector. To access online training, please see our elearning resource centre.

Information resources

The following State Records information resources may be useful to staff of small public offices.

» How to take control of your records
A set of guidelines produced by State Records that cater particularly to the needs of smaller public offices which do not have dedicated records management staff or software.
The guidelines include sections on basic records management techniques such as registration, classification and tracking, and provide a number of practical tools including an Excel spreadsheet set up with records control information fields and a set of records management forms.

» 'How to get ahead with recordkeeping' training material
State Records has developed a PowerPoint slideshow and associated notes for use by staff in in-house training sessions. The training material can be used to raise awareness of recordkeeping in their public office. See How to get ahead with recordkeeping … to find out more and view the slides.

» What have records got to do with me?
What have records got to do with me? is a leaflet that has been designed as a general information resource that can be distributed to all staff of a public office. It explains:
* what records are
* why they are important, and
* the role that each staff member has in the effective management of records.

Download What have records got to do with me? (PDF, 86kb)
Go to an HTML version (text only)
Email govrec@records.nsw.gov.au to order paper copies (each public office is entitled to its first 100 copies of this leaflet for free).

» Recordkeeping reminders
Recordkeeping reminders is a leaflet that has been designed as a general information resource that can be distributed to all staff of a public office. It outlines some common situations where public officials in NSW should make and file records.

Download Recordkeeping reminders (PDF, 36kb)
Go to an HTML version (text only)
Email govrec@records.nsw.gov.au to order paper copies (each public office is entitled its first 100 copies of this leaflet for free).

» Records Management Program Toolkit
The Records Management Program Toolkit can assist small public offices by providing practical tools and templates to streamline the production of key documents to support their records management program and meet their obligations under Part 2 of the State Records Act 1998. The toolkit includes:
* a sample records management policy
* a sample long and short term plan
* documents to help assess and improve recordkeeping skills, and
* recordkeeping tools such as survey forms, vital records lists and email templates.
State Records does not suggest that small public offices should use these documents without alteration. Documentation to support a records management program should be carefully developed to suit the specific needs and environment of a public office, and with careful attention to the compliance requirements of the Standard on Managing a Records Management Program.

» Examples of records management policies and procedures
On its website State Records provides access to a collection of records management policy, procedure/guideline and planning documentation that has been developed by NSW public offices. Each example has been made available, with permission, for other public offices to use. It also includes some sample policies and procedures developed by State Records.

Information briefings
We provide briefings on a range of recordkeeping topics. Copies of the presentation and handouts can be accessed below:
better recordkeeping
controlling your records
disaster planning and management