The purpose of this policy is to establish the framework needed for effective records management at RRA. This policy provides advice to RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers and affiliates on the creation and use of RRA records, and sets standards for classifying, managing and storing those records. It therefore provides a framework for the management of information consistent with the Strategic Plan.
A good record keeping program is fundamental to RRA’s commitment to administrative transparency and accountability. It enables the RRA to account for decisions and actions by providing essential evidence in the form of records and ensures the preservation of the collective memory of the RRA.
The RRA is concerned with all aspects of its record keeping independent of the technological medium. This policy seeks to ensure that the RRA’s business is adequately documented through the creation of records that are then managed in accordance with best practice.
Appraisal: the process of evaluating business activities to determine which records need to be captured and how long the records need to be kept, to meet business needs, the requirements of organisational accountability and community expectations.
Archive: the whole body of records of continuing value of an organisation or individual. Sometimes this is called ‘corporate memory’.
Archives: those records that are appraised as having continuing value.
Business activity: umbrella term covering all the functions, processes, activities and transactions of an organisation and its staff (paid and unpaid).
Disposal: a range of processes associated with implementing appraisal decisions. These include the retention, deletion or destruction of records in or from record keeping systems. They may also include the migration or transmission of records between record keeping systems, and the transfer of custody or ownership of records.
Electronic records: records communicated and maintained by means of electronic equipment.
Evidence: information that tends to prove a fact. Not limited to the legal sense of the term.
Information systems: organised collections of hardware, software, supplies, policies, procedures and people, which store, process and provide access to information.
Record keeping: making and maintaining complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in the form of recorded information.
Record keeping systems: information systems which capture maintain and provide access to records over time.
Records: records information in any form including data in computer systems, created or retrieved and maintained by an organisation or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs and kept as evidence of such activity.
This policy is applicable to all areas and locations of the RRA. It is intended to comply with relevant legislation in all states and territories in which RRA has a presence.
Some teams within the RRA that create, store and maintain organisational records may have separate guidelines for records management that supplement, but do not supplant, this policy.
RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers and affiliates should be aware that electronic documents have the same status as paper documents. Both electronic and paper documents are bound by the same legislative requirements and are subject to the same degree of confidentiality and care. Therefore, electronic records must be managed as part of a comprehensive record keeping program (See Appendix B – Electronic Records).
Legislative Framework and Standards
State and Commonwealth legislation and International Standards establish the conditions and standards by which records and archival management in the RRA will be guided.
RRA must comply with the following state records and archives legislation:
- Queensland Libraries and Archives Act 1988
As a registered incorporated association, the RRA is also bound by the National Privacy Principles as set out in the following Commonwealth legislation:
- Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000.
The relevant International Standard on Records Management is ISO 15489. This standard has been adopted by Standards Australia and supersedes Australian Standard on Records Management AS4390.
Roles and Responsibilities of Record Keeping
Overall responsibility for records management rests with the President and has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the RRA complies with the legislation and standards specified in 4.1 and 4.2 of this Policy.
Management Board and Managers
Management Board and Managers are responsible for implementing and maintaining sound record keeping practices.
The Management Board and Managers must ensure that records are created, maintained and stored in accordance with the standards outlined in this policy, and that no records are destroyed except as authorised by the Retention and Disposal Schedule or Normal Administrative Practice. (See Appendix A – Normal Administrative Practice)
Employees and Volunteers
Record keeping is not the province of archivists, records managers or systems administrators alone, but is an essential role of all staff (paid and unpaid). Every member of staff is responsible for making and keeping such records as may be necessary to fully and accurately record the functions, activities, transactions, operations, policies, decisions, procedures, affairs, administration and management of the RRA.
Employees and volunteers are to follow authorised procedures in carrying out records management functions, and must observe security, privacy and confidentiality requirements at all times, in accordance with the RRA’s Privacy Statement.
Employees and volunteers are to handle records sensibly and with care and respect so as to avoid damage to the records and prolong their life-span. Smoking, eating and drinking should not occur near or in records storage areas.
Creation of Records
In accordance with section 5.3 of this policy, RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers are required to create full and accurate records which adequately document the business activities in which they take part.
Records should be full and accurate to the extent necessary to:
- Facilitate action by RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers, at any level, and by their successors;
- Make possible a proper scrutiny of the conduct of businesses by anyone authorised to undertake such scrutiny;
- Protect the financial, legal and other rights of the organisation, its clients and any other people affected by its actions and decisions.
Control of Records
Earlier versions (i.e. drafts) of a document may be deleted once the previous versions are no longer needed to create future records. However, drafts that must not be disposed of are those that document significant decisions, reasons and actions and contain significant information that is not contained in the final form of the record. This applies to both paper and electronic drafts.
Records must be made accessible to authorised users. RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers enacting the normal course of their duties must have access to relevant records of the RRA.
Personal information about RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers must be secured within all levels of RRA records [For further details on handling personal information refer to the RRA Privacy Statement].
Records should be stored in conditions that are clean and secure, with low risk of damage from fire, water, dampness, mould, insects and rodents. They should also be kept away from direct sunlight and other sources of light and heat. The storage area should be well ventilated and ideally maintained at a stable temperature and humidity. Records in non-paper formats such as photographs, maps or computer disks require specialised storage conditions and handling process that take account of their specific physical and chemical properties. Irrespective of format, records of continuing value require higher quality storage and handling to preserve them for as long as that value exists.
Disposal and Destruction of Records
RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers may only destroy or dispose of records in accordance with the RRA’s Retention and Disposal Schedule or in accordance with Normal Administrative Practice (See Appendix A – Normal Administrative Practice].
The Retention and Disposal Schedule provides a listing of routine administration, personnel, accounting, member and property records across the RRA. It complies with legislation in each state or territory in which RRA has a presence and should be accepted as the minimum retention period for records.
Where records are scheduled for destruction this should be undertaken by methods appropriate to the confidentiality status of the records. All RRA records approved and eligible for destruction must be destroyed under confidential conditions, unless the material is widely published. If RRA Board Directors, employees and volunteers are uncertain of the status of a record, it should be treated it as confidential and destroyed under confidential conditions.
Confidential records should be destroyed as follows:
- Destruction of paper records. Paper records must be placed in security bins. They must never be placed in unsecured bins or rubbish tips.
- Destruction of optical media. Records held on optical media such as rewritable disks must be destroyed by cutting, crushing or other physical means.
Audit and Review
All record systems may be subject to audit and review to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and with the requirement of this policy.
To accommodate changes in legislation, technologies, programs and resources available to the RRA this policy is to be reviewed on a biennial basis.
The following documents were of significant value in developing this policy:
AS4390 Records Management, Standards Australia
Normal Administrative Practice
Destruction as a normal administrative practice usually occurs because the records are duplicated, unimportant or for short-term use only. This applies to both paper and electronic records.
The following categories of records may be destroyed as normal administrative practice:
- Superseded manuals or instructions
- Catalogues and trade journals
- Copies of press cuttings, press statements or publicity material
- Letters of appreciation or sympathy, or anonymous letters
- Requests for copies of maps, plans, charts, advertising material or other stock information
- Address lists and change of address notices
- Calendars, office diaries and appointment books (other than those for senior management as covered in the Retention and Disposal Schedule)
- Facsimiles where a photocopy has been made
- Telephone message
- Drafts of reports, correspondence, speeches, notes, spreadsheets, etc. (See 6.1 for drafts that cannot be destroyed) and
- Routine statistical and progress reports compiled and duplicated in other reports.
Electronic records that contain evidence of official transactions should be backed up and migrated to new systems or transferred to off-line storage such as CD-ROM for longer-term retention. Strategies should be developed to ensure that these records remain accessible and useable in all future generations of software, for the entire period of their retention.
- Records held on optical media, such as rewritable disks, must be destroyed by cutting, crushing or other physical means.
- Records stored on magnetic media such as floppy disks must be destroyed by reformatting at least once. Deleting files from magnetic media is not sufficient to ensure the destruction of the records. Backup copies of the records must also be destroyed.
Electronic documents have the same status as paper documents. Both electronic and paper documents are bound by the same legislative requirements and are subject to the same degree of confidentiality and care. Therefore electronic records are to be managed as an integral and routine part of record keeping.
Policy Applies to: All Staff
Approval Authority: President
Updated: 4 February 2018
Review Date: 17 July 2019
Approval Date: 17 July 2017