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Recordkeeping Advice No. 10

Disposal of Unscheduled Records

Issued: 13 July 2005   Revised: 4 November 2008

Recordkeeping Advices issued by the State Archivist provide advice on the management of records of State and local government organisations and support or explain recordkeeping requirements set out in formal State records guidelines.

State Records Guideline No. 2, Retention and Disposal of State Records provides information about the obligations set out in the Archives Act 1983 for the retention and disposal of State records.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist


The Archives Act 1983 stipulates that no government employee, or any other person, may dispose of records of any type without the written authority of the State Archivist.

Agencies that have responsibility for records which have not yet been identified in a current disposal schedule may apply for a Destruction Authority from the State Archivist to deal with these unscheduled records.

This advice provides information about, and stipulates the process for obtaining authorisation for the disposal of these records. This procedure should only be used in circumstances when the records need to be disposed of as a priority and it is impractical to develop a disposal schedule.

Appraisal of records

Appraisal is the process of determining the value of the record or series of records and in this context should represent the relevant agency perspective on the value of the records.

Recordkeeping Advice No. 2, Records Appraisal provides information about identifying an agency's recordkeeping requirements in order to determine how long records should be retained to meet regulatory, business and stakeholder requirements. To ensure accountability it is essential that the process of identifying recordkeeping requirements is well documented and provides the necessary detail to substantiate the disposal recommendations submitted to the State Archivist. This documentation should be held in the agency in preparation for consultation with Archives Office staff.

Application to Dispose of State Records

This application is to be completed when making recommendations for the disposal of unscheduled records. The application is an Excel workbook consisting of the following worksheets:

  • Instructions for completing the Application to Dispose of State Records.
  • Consignment Item List to be used to list the details of scheduled records to be transferred to the Archives Office and unscheduled records disposal recommendations.
  • Access guidelines to be used when determining access category recommendations.
  • Category E Access Notification to be used to list details of officers or groups who are permitted to access the records listed as having a 'Category E' access restriction in the attached Consignment Item List.
  • Cover sheet to be completed with agency details and a Certificate of Agency Representative who is authorised to act for the agency in matters relating to the disposal of the records described in the Consignment Item List.
  • Hints that may assist those not familiar with Excel functionality to complete and print the Consignment Item List.

The application can be downloaded.

The Consignment Item List is to be completed electronically. An electronic copy of the completed Consignment Item List should be sent to as an email attachment. It is no longer necessary to send a signed hardcopy of the document.  HOWEVER to meet the requirement in the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 to demonstrate that both parties are willing to complete the transaction electronically it must be sent by the authorised officer whose name appears in the declaration on the cover sheet from their personal email address.

Following receipt of the application the Archives Office will assess the disposal recommendations. This may involve a detailed appraisal of the listed records by Archives Office staff and further consultation with agency officers. Following this assessment the State Archivist will either issue a Destruction Authority for the records or contact the agency to advise that the records need to be retained for a longer period, or to arrange for the transfer of the records to the Archives Office.

Transfer of records to the Archives Office

All records accepted for transfer to the Archives Office must be arranged in original order, listed on the Application to Dispose of State Records and placed in archival quality acid-free boxes or other suitable packaging. Recordkeeping Advice No. 12, Preparing Records for Transfer to the Archives Office provides advice on preparing records for transfer.

Records recommended for destruction

Records recommended for destruction on a Consignment Item List must not be destroyed, or their accessibility diminished, until a Destruction Authority has been received from the Archives Office.

The destruction method chosen for records authorised for destruction in a Destruction Authority should be appropriate to the medium in which the record exists. It is the responsibility of the agency to ensure that the identified records are actually destroyed and that this process is confidential and secure.