December 2022 - No 156
Changes to the State Records Act 1998
From 31 December 2022, the State Records Act 1998 (NSW) will be administered by two statutory bodies: State Records Authority NSW (State Records NSW) and Museums of History NSW (MHNSW). The two bodies are established pursuant to the Museums of History NSW Act 2022 and the amended State Records Act.
Below is a breakdown of the shared responsibility:
|State Records Act||Administered by|
|Part 1 (Preliminary)||State Records NSW|
|Part 2 Records management responsibilities of public offices||State Records NSW|
|Part 3 Protection of state records||State Records NSW|
|Part 4 Museums of History NSW entitled to control of State records not current in use||Museums of History NSW|
|Part 5 Recovery of estrays and other State records||Museums of History NSW|
|Part 6 Public access to records||Museums of History NSW|
|Part 7 The Authority and the Board||State Records NSW|
For further information, see:
- the recording and presentations from our November Records Managers Online Forum
- our advice on the Changes to the State records Act.
Adapted from “This Photo” by Unknown Author, used under CC BY-SA
New State Records NSW website and email address
The State Records NSW website was launched on 22 November 2022. The website has a modern cleaner look with fewer pages to navigate to easily access the information you need; including when running a search.
The Recordkeeping Standards and Advice team have been busy checking content and links for the new site. Our advice and resources are still categorised by topic and the FAQ pages have been merged and updated - with advice on records received in error, personal records and on objects/library materials - and are now available on the one page. Based on usage, the majority of records retention and disposal authorities are now only available as PDFs.
Please take some time and have a look around. While there, update any bookmarks you may have created that point to the previous website.
We welcome all feedback to our new email address firstname.lastname@example.org, including notification of broken links.
List of retention and disposal authorities
We recently uploaded an Excel spreadsheet of records retention and disposal authorities (RDAs) applying to each public office on our website. The list includes:
- the name of the public office
- the cluster or department the public office belongs to
- coverage type, including any known/potential gaps in disposal coverage
- link to our advice on normal administrative practice guidelines.
The list is arranged alphabetically by cluster and then by public office. The RDAs highlighted in red mean they have been issued over 10 years ago.
Please email us at email@example.com if you find that your organisation’s RDA is highlighted in red or if you have any questions.
Review of General retention and disposal authority: local government records (GA39)
We are currently streamlining and updating GA39 to cover records unique to local government.
We are removing records already covered by General retention and disposal authority: administrative records (GA28).
We are going to release the draft GA39 for review and feedback in early 2023. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or questions.
Disposal authorities approved
The Board of the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW (which will be known as the State Records Authority NSW Board as of 31 December 2022) recently approved the records retention and disposal authorities for:
- Inspector of Custodial Services
- Natural Resources Commission
- Judicial Commission of NSW
- Surveillance Devices Commissioner (amendment to GA38)
Copies of of records retention and disposal authorities are available from our website.
Recordkeeping in focus
2022 Recordkeeping Monitoring Exercise results
Has your organisation reviewed the results of the Recordkeeping Monitoring Exercise recently?
As it’s been over six months since the monitoring exercise concluded, now is the time to revisit the results. The results contain insights that can be used for:
- reporting on the status of your records and information governance program to senior management
- identifying priority areas for improvement
- benchmarking your performance with other agencies across the jurisdiction
- informing your organisation’s records and information management strategy or plans
- informing your organisation’s audit and risk committee on prioritising high-risk or high-value areas of business, including systems, records and information needed to support these business areas.
To aid you in your review, access your organisation’s assessment and benchmark scores in the Service Portal. Each public office who participated in the monitoring exercise has an individual Response Scorecard. This Scorecard displays the organisation’s overall score and the benchmark for this year’s monitoring exercise.
To see how the jurisdiction or the rest of your sector performed, check the scorecards in the Report on the 2022 Monitoring Exercise available on our website.
Remember, you can use the records management assessment tool (RMAT) as often as you like to assess your organisation’s performance as a whole or its individual business units.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
With the Bureau of Meteorology announcing a third La Nina event over the 2022/2023 summer, the records of some public offices may, unfortunately, be at risk of water damage and mould. It is timely then, to review your disaster management plans.
Key steps for ensuring you are well prepared are:
- Updating your emergency contacts list and making sure it’s accessible to everyone who needs it.
- Reviewing your current disaster preparedness plan and making sure that risks to records storage locations are considered. If you don’t have a plan, develop one that covers a key activity in each of the four basic protection measures: prevention, preparation, response and recovery (see our Disaster Management advice for further information on developing a disaster preparedness plan).
If records are damaged or destroyed due to water or mould, we recommend:
- activating your organisation’s disaster preparedness plan or other applicable counter disaster reaction and recovery plan
- contacting your insurer
- using our Recovery Checklist as a guide on what to do
- documenting or taking photos of the damaged or destroyed records
- notifying us via email@example.com for advice or guidance on how to manage your specific circumstance.
For additional information, please refer to:
- Blue Shield Australia’s flood recovery resources
- Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material’s resources, including After a flood brochure and finding a conservator
- advice for further information on developing a disaster preparedness plan.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA
Protecting personal information
In light of the recent data breaches, please read our advice on the retention of proof of identity documents and vaccination certificates.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has also released a statement on the requirements around the need to protect personal information.
Contact information for Senior Responsible Officers (SROs) and Records Management (RM) contacts
The Standard on records management requires each public office to have a designated SRO for records management. The SRO supports the Chief Executive in providing oversight of the public office’s records and information management. We recommend that the SRO should be the most senior officer with responsibility for records and information.
To nominate, change or update the contact details of a SRO – or advise us of a Records Management contact – please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
- Email address:
- Whether you are the designated Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) or a records management contact:
- Name of organisation:
It is important that we have your SRO’s current contact information so we can keep your organisation up-to-date regarding the changes to the State Records Act along with other records management matters.
Amendments to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act)
On 16 November 2022, amendments to the PPIP Act were passed in NSW Parliament. The amendments to the PPIP Act aim to strengthen privacy legislation in NSW by:
- creating a Mandatory Notification of Data Breaches (MNDB) Scheme for public sector agencies bound by the PPIP Act
- applying the PPIP Act to all NSW state-owned corporations that are not regulated by the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988
- repealing s117C of the Fines Act 1996 to ensure that all NSW public sector agencies are regulated by the same mandatory notification scheme.
Please see the Information and Privacy Commission NSW website for further information.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC
Christmas/New Year closure
Our office will be closed from Monday, 26 December 2022 and reopen on Monday, 9 January 2023. Please email enquiries to email@example.com and we will reply on, or soon after,
Best wishes for the holiday season
Finally, we would like to wish everyone all the best for the holiday season! We look forward to working with you as State Records NSW in 2023.
Back to top
Museums of History NSW news & updates
Our services to you in the year ahead
As the State Archives Collection and the Government Records Repository (GRR) move into the newly created Museums of History NSW on 31 December 2022 you will start to see some changes in how we communicate with you and our services.
Our new Museums of History NSW website is now live and content is progressively being added. You can find information and support for Government at MHNSW - Government Services, where you can access pages for GRR and the State Archives Agency Services. A FAQ has been developed to assist with questions around the changes to the requirements of the State Records Act that will be administered by Museums of History NSW.
Some people we have been in contact with will also have noticed that our email addresses are changing. The domain name is @mhnsw.au. For the moment you can continue to contact us on the existing addresses.
Planning for the transition period for the new requirements of Parts 4 and 6 of the State Records Act is well underway. A vendor has been engaged to assist us with building new functionality within the Service Portal, which will become available for use in the first half of 2023. These new tools will enable you to manage and renew your registered access directions immediately and to submit transfer plans. We will provide more details of timing in the new year.
We are prioritising the changes to access to State records under Part 6 of the Act. To that end, we have started contacting public offices to discuss the impact of the changes and how to comply easily and early to the new requirements.
While we have the full year of 2023 to engage with you, please don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you are ready to start the conversation now.
We look forward to working with you throughout 2023 to manage the new requirements of the State Records Act. From our Agency Services team and the GRR, we hope you manage to get a relaxing break in over the holiday period and would like to wish all of you a happy and safe Christmas.Back to top