Currently many of us are working remotely from our usual workplaces. COVID-19 may be disrupting our lives, but we still need to meet our recordkeeping obligations under the State Records Act 1998.
It’s important to ensure that during this disruption, we make and keep records of our actions, decisions, and communications. Records provide an audit trail that supports organisational decision-making and provides transparency.
Briefly, your recordkeeping responsibilities include:
- Make records - Records should be created as part of your daily routine. If the activity doesn't automatically create a record, then you must do so (e.g. minutes of meetings, notes of telephone conversations).
- Avoid using your private email, messaging apps or social media accounts for work - If you do use your private accounts, any record created or received in those accounts, must be captured into your organisation’s records management system (e.g. a work email in your private email account can be emailed to your official account and then captured into the EDRMS).
- Keep records in your organisation’s recordkeeping systems – Don’t store records in your own private store/drive. If you can’t access your organisation’s recordkeeping system, then follow your organisation’s guidance on where to store records during the disruption (e.g. One Drive; Microsoft team files; specific location in the cloud).
- Comply with your organisation’s records management policy and procedures.
- Prevent unauthorised access to records - records can contain personal, confidential and sensitive information. Ensure records are kept secure and only shared according to your organisation’s policies.
- Don’t dispose of records unless you have authorisation - Check with your records and information manager if you have records for disposal.
- Look after any physical records that you are temporarily storing – Paper-based records need to be stored away from hazards such as heat or moisture.
If you have remote login access to your work systems, either through a work device or your own, continue to save records in your normal work systems. If you can’t do this, when you return to work, you’ll need to transfer your records and save them in your approved work systems.
Remember that you need to protect records from theft, loss, misuse and inappropriate or unauthorised access or modification. Records that contain highly confidential or highly classified material, commercially sensitive material or personal or sensitive information are particularly high risk. Check your organisational information and records management policy for more information.
NSW State Archives and Records acknowledges the Queensland State Archives blog post Pjs, dining tables and public records: Working from home and COVID-19, published 30 March 2020, and the Tasmanian Office of the State Archivist On the Record, March 2020.
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Published April 2020