May 2021 - 146
Records Management Assessment Tool
We are making good progress with the new Records Management Assessment Tool (RMAT) and anticipate launching it in July.
The RMAT will allow public offices to:
- self-assess their records management practices and how well they are meeting the requirements of the State Records Act 1998 and the standards issued under the Act (Standard on records management and the Standard on physical storage of State records), and
- make an assessment of the organisation’s records management maturity.
It will also enable public offices to identify those areas of practice which require improvement.
In conjunction with our consultant, we have been developing the content or question bank, and the response statements which will enable an assessment of maturity. During April we held a workshop with 21 public offices to discuss design, useability, and content, and also conducted pilot testing in four public offices to confirm that the new assessment tool was ‘fit for purpose’ and met the needs of public offices. All pilot test organisations reported that they had been able to use the draft RMAT and noted that the assessment process had started a range of conversations in their organisations about records management capability and maturity.
We are very grateful to all the public offices that have been involved with the project and appreciate your help and contributions!
Managing Records In NSW Government
On 16 March 2021 the Department of Premier and Cabinet issued C2021-05 Managing records in NSW Government.
This Circular requires all public offices covered by the State Records Act 1998 to ensure appropriate creation, management and disposal of State records, including transfer of those records required as State archives to the State Archives Collection. This includes:
- ensuring all staff are aware of their responsibilities to make and keep records of their work
- managing and storing records appropriately, and protecting records from unauthorised access, alteration, loss or destruction
- ensuring that records remain accessible for as long as they are required and are disposed of in accordance with requirements in authorised retention and disposal authorities, and
- applying the decisions set out in the authorised retention and disposal authorities to records, ensuring that records are destroyed promptly and securely when their retention period has ended, and transferring those records identified as State archives to the State Archives Collection.
There is a range of guidance on our website which can help your organisation to create, manage, store and dispose of records correctly. Here are some links to key resources:
- Recordkeeping Requirements guidance advises on requirements for creating records, including those types of records which need to be created to document meetings, decisions and telephone conversations.
- Recordkeeping Awareness Resources can be used with your organisation’s staff to raise awareness and promote good recordkeeping to ensure that they are managing records correctly and implementing retention and disposal authorities.
- Solutions for Storage can help your organisation implement good hard copy records storage which helps protect records from unauthorised access, alteration, loss or destruction, while the Cloud Computing Recordkeeping Requirements Checklist can help your organisation ensure that records stored in the cloud are protected and accessible for as long as possible
- Retention and Disposal guidance is available to assist your organisation implement the retention and disposal authorities, and transferring records to the State Archives Collection
- webinars and online training modules.
Webinar recording and presentation are now available
The recording and presentation from our Determining requirements for digitisation programs and disposal of source records webinar are now available.
Recordkeeping in focus: childcare records
In May 2019 we issued a disposal authority to cover the regulation and provision of early childhood education and care (FA402), and removed coverage for these records from the disposal authorities used by local government, health districts, universities and the Department of Education.
The first part of FA402 covers the provision of childcare services. The second part of FA402 is only for use by the current regulator – the Early Childhood Directorate of the Department of Education.
FA402 allows public offices to destroy records in accordance with the relevant legislation covering childcare - currently the Education and Care Services National Regulations, in particular S183(2). These require:
- any record relating to an incident, illness, injury or trauma suffered by a child while being educated and cared for to be retained until the child reaches the age of 25
- other records relating to the child to be retained until 3 years after the last date on which the child was educated and cared for
- records relating to staff members to be retained until the end of 3 years after the last date on which they provided care. Please note that the requirements for personnel records in other relevant disposal authorities (General retention and disposal authorities: administrative records (GA28) and local government (GA39), also have to be adhered to for staff records.
Records that were previously required to be retained until the child reached the age of 25 (e.g. enrolment records) can now be destroyed 3 years after the child leaves the service. If you can’t determine whether the records relate to an illness, incident, injury or trauma then it is safer to retain them until the child would have reached the age of 25. Your normal internal approval processes still apply which will incorporate any internal business requirements around childcare records.
We are often asked if childcare records can be destroyed after scanning and quality assurance is carried out under the General retention and disposal authority: original or source records that have been copied (GA45). The answer is yes. There are exemptions in GA45 relating to special circumstances personal information of high personal value to the subject of the record. This exemption was included primarily to ensure the original records of Care leavers (children and young people removed from home by the Government) were not destroyed after scanning. These records are held by Communities and Justice. The other exemption of records that have intrinsic value in their original format does not cover artwork produced by children at centres (they are private records and can be given to the child/carer).
Disposal authorities approved and revoked
The Board of the NSW State Archives and Records Authority recently approved a revised retention and disposal authority for the NSW Trustee and Guardian that incorporates the records of the Public Guardian.
It also approved the revoking of DA109 (Waste management and ninimisation) and DA171 (Office for Women) as these authorities are more than 10 years old and are covered appropriately by other disposal authorities.
Copies of our retention and disposal authorities are available from our website.
Senior Responsible Officer and records management contacts
The Standard on records management requires each public office to have a designated Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for records management. The SRO supports the Chief Executive by providing oversight of the public office’s records and information management. We recommend that the SRO should be the most senior officer with responsibility for records and information. If you haven’t nominated a SRO or your designated SRO has changed, please let us know using the form available from the website.
We also like to keep in contact with records management staff in public offices. If you would like to advise us of records management contacts at your organisation, please let us know using the form available from the website.