ISSN 1321-6260
December 2020 - No 144

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Retaining proof of identity documents

Many public offices need to sight proof of identity or other documents as part of an application process. This could be from members of the public as part of applying for a licence or from members of staff as part of recruitment. These are transitory documents that in most cases need to be sighted but not retained. Retaining copies of identity documents such as driver’s licences, passports, Medicare cards, or Council rate statements within your systems is a security risk. We recommend:

  • returning the proof of identity documents without copying them and capture a record that the identity documents have been sighted into your system

  • if you need to copy them for verification purposes or transmission to another public office, dispose of the copies as soon as business use ceases.

This same principle applies to credit card details and medical certificates – if there is no need to retain the originals or copies of the originals once the transaction is completed, they can be returned or securely disposed of.

This advice is not applicable to public offices that have a reason to retain proof of identity documents for purposes such as criminal investigations etc.

We recommend public offices have documented procedures for handling of these types of documents based on a risk assessment. Creating a record that the documents were sighted fulfills the requirements of the State Records Act and your retention and disposal authorities.

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Resources for recovering wet records

Wet weather can be disastrous for organisations. Timely action to identify and initiate treatment of water damaged records is crucial to avoid or minimise costly recovery operations. All records storage areas and facilities should be checked for damage as soon as it is possible and safe to do so after bad weather or storms. Mould growth often follows water damage to records. The following information will assist in recovery operation and planning:

We also encourage you to visit disaster recovery resources listed on the Blue Shield Australia website.  If you require further assistance with wet records, please contact

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Recordkeeping clinics

Thank you to the people who attended our online clinics and filled in the survey. We will be looking at the feedback from the survey and considering the options for 2021.

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We have recently updated our page of advice on electronic document and records management systems to include questions on Microsoft and Office 365.

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Records Management Fundamentals presentations

A reminder that we have slides of presentations on records management fundamentals for CEOs, Senior Responsible Officers and staff that can be adapted for your organisation.

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Satisfaction Survey and Records Managers Forum Survey

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer our surveys:

  • Records Managers Forum (RMF) Survey which was completed by 106 respondents  
  • Satisfaction Survey on Recordkeeping Standards & Advice (RSA) team’s services which was completed by 113 respondents.

RMF Survey key findings

  • More than half of the respondents are still very interested in attending a face-to-face forum in the future or post-COVID-19
  • Most of the respondents prefer a webinar format with 1 presentation and an update from NSW State Archives and Records
  • Of those who attended past RMF, the majority thought that the RMF event met their expectations

The results of the survey have identified preferences which will feed into our online event programming in 2021.

Satisfaction Survey key findings

  • Majority of the  respondents are very satisfied with the quality of advice or service provided by the RSA team
  • A vast majority of the respondents are likely to contact RSA again for recordkeeping advice
  • Majority of the respondents are satisfied with the For The Record newsletter.

While our overall satisfaction score is positive, we have identified several areas of focus for RSA. The feedback we received will be used to set priorities and feed into our strategy and work in 2021.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who took part in the surveys, and we encourage you to get in touch if you have any comments on the results – we’d love to hear from you.

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Disposal authorities approved

The Board of the NSW State Archives and Records Authority recently approved a revised retention and disposal authority for the registration of births, deaths and marriages.

Copies of our retention and disposal authorities are available from the website.

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Shutdown period

Recordkeeping Standards & Advice will be closed from Wednesday 23 December 2020 and will re-open on Monday 11 January 2021. If you have any enquiries, please email us at or call 9714 3080 and leave a message. We will reply on, or soon after Monday 11 January 2021.

For information on Western Sydney Records Centre’s opening hours over the holiday period, please see:

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Best wishes from the Recordkeeping Standards and Advice team

The team at Recordkeeping Standards & Advice would like to wish everyone all the best for the holiday season! 



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