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State Records Guideline No. 13

Storage of State Records in Non-Agency Facilities

Issued: 13 July 2005

Authority

This guideline is issued under the provisions of Section 10A of the Archives Act 1983. Guidelines issued by the State Archivist under this Section set standards, policy, and procedures relating to the making and keeping of State records. This section also requires all relevant authorities to take all reasonable steps to comply with these guidelines, and put them into effect.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist


Table of Contents


1. Purpose

To enable agencies to meet their statutory obligations to preserve State records where these records are stored in commercial facilities or other premises not owned or leased by the agency.

2. Introduction

The storage of records outside the custody of an agency is an action that requires formal authorisation under Section 20(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983. To enable agencies to enter into arrangements with storage providers, the State Archivist has issued a formal generic transfer of custody authorisation (DA No. 2215).

Agencies do not need to seek specific authorisation to enter into these arrangements provided that the conditions set out in this guideline are met.

Agencies must retain ownership and control of all records they create and acquire until disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Archives Act 1983.

Irrespective of where they are stored State records are subject to legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act 1991 and to legal processes such as discovery and subpoenas.

3. Definitions

agency - is used in this guideline to refer to all agencies, authorities, statutory offices, departments, councils and other organisations that are subject to, and defined in, the Archives Act 1983.

permanent records-are those that will be transferred to the Archives Office to be retained as State archives. The Archives Act 1983 establishes 25 years as the maximum required timeframe for the transfer of permanent records to the Archives Office unless and extension of time has been approved by the State Archivist.

record - a document or an object that is, or has been, made or kept by reason of any information or matter that it contains or can be obtained from it or by reason of its connection with any event person, circumstance, or thing. A document includes any printed or written material and an object includes a sound recording, coded storage device, magnetic tape or disc, microfilm, photograph, film, map, plan, or model or painting or other pictorial or graphic work.

service provider - an organisation (or individual) engaged by an agency to provide a service where the facility and staff are not controlled or managed by that agency. These organisations could be private sector operations or other Federal, State or local government bodies.

State records - records of State government agencies/departments, State authorities, or local authorities. These public bodies are defined in Section 3 of the Archives Act 1983.

4. Conditions

Agencies entering into arrangements to store State records with a service provider must ensure that all relevant contractual arrangements recognise their continuing responsibility for the proper management of those records. Service providers must be made aware of their consequential obligations under the Archives Act 1983 and that they must comply with any relevant guidelines issued by the State Archivist under that Act.

4.1 Storage

Service providers should conform to best practice in records storage and handling especially the storage principles specified in State Records Guideline No. 11, Physical Storage of State Records.

Some particular issues that need to be addressed are as follows:

  • staff of the service provider must have security clearance appropriate to the records being stored at the site
  • there must be secure means for moving records to and from the agency
  • insurance should exist to cover costs of recovery and restoration of records damaged while in custody or transit
  • agency and Archives Office staff must have the right to inspect the storage facilities after giving reasonable notice
  • the records must be available to the agency on a 24-hour, seven days a week, year round basis
  • the storage facility should only be used for the storage of records
  • the storage areas must be free of rodents and insects
  • the service provider must comply with current standards for environmental conditions, fire protection, and security procedures
  • the service provider must have a disaster response plan in place

4.2 Records Management

State records remain the property of the State and must therefore be dealt with as prescribed by the provisions of the Archives Act 1983. In particular:

  • disposal of the records must be authorised by the State Archivist and be carried out in accordance with State Records Guideline No. 2, Retention and Disposal of State Records.
  • records must be managed by the agency and service provider in the same manner as would be required if they were in the direct custody of the agency.
  • permanent records must be transferred to the Archives Office at the appropriate date

Compliance checklist

1.

Contractual arrangements stipulate the service provider’s responsibility for the proper management of State records.

Yes

No

2.

The service providers conforms to best practice in records storage and handling especially the storage principles specified in State Records Guideline No. 11, Physical Storage of State Records.

Yes

No

3.

The service provider is aware of their obligations under the Archives Act 1983 and comply with any relevant guidelines issued by the State Archivist.

Yes

No

4.

The service provider manages State records in the same manner as would be required if they were in the direct custody of the agency. 

Yes

No

5.

Any disposal of records undertaken by the service provider is authorised by the State Archivist and carried out in accordance with State records guidelines.

Yes

No

6.

Arrangements are in place to ensure permanent records are transferred to the Archives Office at the appropriate date.

Yes

No