- Part 1: The General Retention and Disposal Authority: Records of a Minister's Office
- 1.0 COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT
- 2.0 GOVERNMENT RELATIONS & PORTFOLIO RESPONSIBILITIES
- 3.0 FINANCE, IT, PERSONNEL AND PROCUREMENT
- 4.0 NORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE
- 5.0 RECORDS NOT AFFECTED BY THIS AUTHORITY
- Part 2: About the General Retention and Disposal Authority
|GDA No||GDA 13|
|Scope||This general retention and disposal authority covers records created and maintained during the term of office of all ministers and in relation to ministerial office and portfolio responsibilities.|
Offices of Ministers of the NSW Government, including the Premier, in respect of their responsibilities for the administration of government and which come within the meaning of public office as defined in the State Records Act 1998.
|Authority||This general retention and disposal authority is issued under section 21(2)(c) of the State Records Act. It has been approved by the Board of the State Records Authority in accordance with section 21(3) of the State Records Act.|
|Approval||23 December 2002|
|Revised||16 July 2021|
The following table describes classes of records relating to the activities and decisions of the Minister in the course of carrying out their portfolio responsibilities and duties, and indicates whether the records are required as State archives or whether destruction of the records is permitted in accordance with the provisions of the State Records Act.
The GDA13 applies to both paper based and digital format records such as emails, social media, audio visual formats, documents or files maintained on network drives or cloud-based applications.
1.0 COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT
Records of ministerial engagement with the community in their capacity as a minister. Includes:
|Required as State archives|
Routine administrative records. Includes:
|Retain until administrative or reference use ceases, then destroy|
2.0 GOVERNMENT RELATIONS & PORTFOLIO RESPONSIBILITIES
Records relating to advice received or provided to the minister, actions taken or decisions made by the minister in their capacity as a minister, on matters relating to the minister’s portfolio. Includes:
|Required as State archives|
|2.2||Routine contact, liaison and correspondence between the minister/minister’s office and other government agencies such as agency newsletters, administrative arrangements for meetings, etc.||Retain until administrative or reference use ceases, then destroy|
3.0 FINANCE, IT, PERSONNEL AND PROCUREMENT
See the General retention and Disposal Authority: Administrative records (GA28) for records documenting:
- the financial spend of allocations provided to a Minister’s Office (GA28 – FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT e.g. 7.1.1 Records documenting financial transactions are required to be retained for a minimum of 7 years after the end of the financial year in which the transaction was completed, and can then be destroyed).
- the management of Minister’s Office staff (GA28 PERSONNEL), examples such as:
- Personnel files or Employee Service History - e.g. 15.4.1 records summarising the employment or service history of personnel are required as State archives
- Staff Development - e.g. 18.6.1 Final, approved versions of staff development plans are required to be retained for a minimum of 3 years after plan is superseded and can then be destroyed.
- the procurement of goods and services for or by a Minister’s Office, see the appropriate GA 28 classes such as:
- GA28 EQUIPMENT AND STORES - e.g. 5.1.1 records relating to the acquisition of equipment and stores (quotations, orders) are required to be retained for a minimum of 7 years after the end of the financial year in which the transaction was completed, and can then be destroyed
- GA 28 CONTRACTING-OUT - e.g. 4.0.1. standard contracts or agreements with consultants, vendors, contractors, etc. are required to be retained for a minimum of 7 years after expiry or termination of agreement or after action completed, whichever is later, and can then be destroyed
- GA 28 TENDERING - e.g. 21.0.1 Successful tenders are required to be retained for a minimum of 7 years after tender process completed, and can then be destroyed. Unsuccessful tenders Responses received for RFQs / RFTs
4.0 NORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE
The State Records Regulation 2015 permits the disposal of certain records under Normal Administrative Practice (NAP):
Facilitative: records of little value and of a routine instructional nature that are used to further some activity. Most records that are facilitative have no continuing value to the public office and, generally, are only needed for a few hours or a few days.
Ephemeral: records of little value that only need to be kept for a limited or short period of time. Records that are ephemeral have no continuing value to the public office and, generally, are only needed for a few hours or a few days.
- Drafts that are routine or only contain facilitative corrections
- Working Papers such as dictation, calculations, statistics and figures, and rough notes
- Duplicates that have been captured elsewhere in the public office
- Facilitative instructions
However, where records have continuing value (i.e. administrative, business, fiscal, legal, evidential or historic) NAP does not apply. Records that contain significant information, decisions or advice that is not present in the final record cannot be disposed of under NAP.
Please see Schedule 2, State Records Regulation 2015 for a full list of examples.
5.0 RECORDS NOT AFFECTED BY THIS AUTHORITY
The following types of records created or received in a Minister’s Office which are not affected by this Authority.
Official Cabinet documents means all records managed by, stored in and retrieved from the Cabinet Branch electronic records management system and includes:
- Cabinet and Cabinet committee agendas
- Cabinet submissions and attachments to submissions, including agency comments, presentation documents, Ministerial and departmental advice on submissions
- records of attendance and records of decisions.
Other documents which relate to Cabinet but are not considered to be official Cabinet documents should be retained in accordance with the relevant part of this retention and disposal authority.
It is expected that all registered agency records will be returned to the originating department or agency when no longer required, or treated in accordance with the agency’s directions.
Records made or received and kept by departmental liaison officers (DLOs) stationed in Ministerial offices are considered to be agency records and should be returned to the relevant agency or captured into the agency’s records systems.
Personal and Party Political Records
These are not State records:
- records relating to electoral or political party matters, including leadership, party organisation, party room affairs and appointments.
- records relating to the private life, personal and social activities, engagements, interests and associations of the Minister.
Records relating to the Minister's constituency business and role as an elected member of Parliament are covered under the Functional retention and disposal authority: Parliament of NSW, including the Houses of Parliament and parliamentary departments (FA325).
However, where a particular record comprises a record of both ministerial responsibilities and other matters, it is considered to be a State record and as such records of the minister's office.
Part 2: About the General Retention and Disposal Authority
Purpose of the Authority
The purpose of this retention and disposal authority is to identify the records created and received by ministers and their offices in the course of carrying out their portfolio responsibilities that are required as State archives and to provide approval for the destruction of certain other records created and maintained once they are no longer required for administrative, reference or other official purposes.
The disposal actions in this Authority should enable ministerial and/or departmental staff to better manage records created in a minister's office on an ongoing basis or when a minister leaves office.
The approval for disposal given by this authority is given under the provisions of the State Records Act 1998 only and does not override any other obligations of an organisation to retain records.
Public offices authorised to use this authority
The General retention and disposal authority: records of a minister’s office applies to all ministers offices during their term of office, including the Office of the Premier.
All members of staff employed by the minister, including senior staff and ministerial advisers, contractors, consultants and other officers (including departmental liaison officers) engaged to provide advice and assistance to Ministers in the performance of their portfolio responsibilities, should manage and retain records as set out under GDA13.
How long is the authority in force?
This authority will remain in force until it is superseded by a new authority or it is withdrawn from use by State Archives and Records NSW.
Implementing the authority
This retention and disposal authority covers records controlled by the ministers’ offices and applies only to the records or classes of records described in the authority. The authority should be implemented as part of the records management program of the office. Two primary objectives of this program are to ensure that records are kept for as long as they are of value to the organisation and its stakeholders and to enable the destruction or other disposal of records once they are no longer required for business or operational purposes.
The implementation process entails use of the authority to sentence records. Sentencing is the examination of records in order to identify the disposal class in the authority to which they belong. This process enables the organisation to determine the appropriate retention period and disposal action for the records.
It is important that records relating to the activities and decisions of ministers in the course of carrying out their portfolio responsibilities and duties are identified and described.
For further advice see Implementing a retention and disposal authority.
Where the format of records has changed (for example, from paper-based to digital) this does not prevent the disposal decisions in the authority from being applied to records which perform the same function. The information contained in digital records must be accessible for the periods prescribed in the classes. Where a record is copied, or digitally scanned/imaged, the original should not be disposed of without authorisation (see the General Retention and Disposal Authority – Original or source records that have been copied). Public offices will need to ensure that any software, hardware or documentation required to gain continuing access to technology dependent records is available for the periods prescribed.
Records required as State archives
Records which are to be retained as State archives are identified with the disposal action 'Required as State archives'. Records required as State archives under this retention and disposal authority should be clearly identified so that they can be transferred to NSW State Archives and Record's custody.
Records required as State archives can be transferred at any time. Ministerial offices may transfer records:
- during a minister's term of office
- when they are no longer required for official purposes
- when the minister retires or leaves office
- when there is a change of government.
Records approved for destruction
Records that have been identified as being approved for destruction may only be destroyed once a public office has ensured that all other requirements for retaining the records are met. When records are no longer required for administrative, reference or other official purposes (and they are not required as State archives) destruction of the records may be undertaken without further reference to NSW State Archives and Records.
Ministers’ offices must not dispose of any records where the public office is aware of possible legal action where the records may be required as evidence.
Transfer of ownership must be approved
Regardless of whether a record has been approved for destruction or is required as a State archive, a public office or an officer of a public office must not permanently transfer possession or ownership of a State record to any person or organisation without the explicit approval of State Archives and Records NSW.
To suggest amendments or alterations to this authority please contact us via email at email@example.com.
See Recordkeeping Guidance for Ministers' Offices for further information on managing, disposing and transferring records to the State Archives Collection.
State Archives and Records NSW provides guidance and training other aspects of records and information management. More information is available on our website at www.records.nsw.gov.au/recordkeeping.
To obtain assistance in the interpretation or implementation of this authority, or any of our general retention and disposal authorities, contact us at:
State Archives and Records NSW
PO Box 516
Kingswood NSW 2747
Telephone: (02) 9673 1788