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Recordkeeping Advice No. 12

Preparing Records for Transfer to the Archives Office

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

Introduction

Records identified as having 'permanent' status in an authorised disposal schedule, and records that have been selected for permanent retention by agencies and the Archives Office should be transferred to the Archives Office 25 years from the date of creation. Agencies may make application to the Archives Office for earlier transfer of particular groups of records and the Archives Office may also initiate an earlier transfer arrangement.

Under no circumstances should records more than 25 years old be kept by the agency without written approval from the State Archivist.

All records being transferred to the Archives Office must be arranged in original order, listed on an Application to Dispose of State Records and placed in archival quality acid-free boxes or other suitable packaging. 

Access to State records, by both the public and government employees, may be restricted by agencies usually for a period of up to 25 years. Records which deal specifically with people where there may be a need to protect privacy may be restricted for a period of up to 75 years.

Access restrictions are determined by the agency and indicated to the Archives Office when the Application to Dispose of State Records is completed. Should any restrictions be considered necessary, the following general access categories are suggested:

  • accessible only to organisational positions or groups specified by the transferring department or Authority
  • accessible only to employees of the transferring agency
  • accessible to other persons at the discretion of the State Archivist

When considering recommending access restrictions agencies should refer to Guideline No. 4, Agency Determination of Access Restrictions.

Application to Dispose of State Records

This application is to be completed when transferring scheduled records to the Archives Office and 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
  • Download the application form.

The Consignment Item List is to be completed electronically. An electronic copy of the completed Consignment Item List should be sent to TAHOCollections@education.tas.gov.au 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.

Packaging

Records for transfer to the Archives Office must be placed in archival quality acid-free boxes or other suitable packaging so that these records will have the best protection against deterioration. 

Archival quality boxes and folders to house a range of record formats can be obtained from these suppliers. The most common type is a Type 1 box, which is designed to hold standard files. Special arrangements may be necessary for the packaging of non-standard records such as large volumes, lever-arch folders, photographs, microform etc. The Archives Office can provide advice on appropriate methods of packaging or specialist stationery that can be utilised for these records. 

Records that have been neglected or are in poor condition may require cleaning or fumigation before packaging. Please contact the Archives Office for conservation advice before preparing the records for transfer.

Preparation for transfer

Record items must be placed in the boxes in the order listed on the Item Consignment List.

Record items should be listed in the same sequence as they are maintained within the agency, such as numerical, alphabetical, chronological, geographical or other order, or by some uniformity of type or by subject matter.

Items should be placed in boxes from front to back (the back of the box is the side where the lid is hinged). When packing files into boxes, place them spine down so they all face the same way (not top and tail) and so that lifting them does not put strain on the cover or the papers in the file. This will usually mean that the file numbers are at the top and can be easily identified.

Boxes must not be over packed. A space of approximately five centimetres should be left in each box to enable files to be removed and replaced without damage. Box lids must not be taped shut.

Each box or item should be numbered consecutively for each consignment. Markings on boxes should be made in pencil only on the front of the box outside the label template. The printed label is for Archives Office use only. In the case of volumes or other items which are not boxed, removable tags or labels should be used.

Records will not be accepted by the Archives Office unless prior arrangements have been made for their receipt. The transport of records to the Berriedale Office will normally be the responsibility of the transferring agency.

For more information or advice please contact:

Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office
phone: 6214 4894
email: TAHOCollections@education.tas.gov.au.