ISSN 1321-6260
February - No. 133

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Benchmarking understanding of government recordkeeping obligations

In the October issue of For the Record we advised that we would be sharing the findings of our benchmarking research with you. We are pleased to announce that the full report on our benchmarking research is now available. The report includes an executive summary and a discussion of the findings:

The Benchmarking Research Report presents findings from the study on how well people working for State and Local government agencies, local health districts and universities in NSW understand their government recordkeeping obligations. The study included insights from senior responsible officers (SROs) on current recordkeeping practices and pain points.

We are happy to report that the mean score for understanding of recordkeeping requirements was high:

However, the report does highlight some areas for improvement for the Government Recordkeeping Program relating to:

  • areas where further guidance is needed
  • how we communicate with you
  • guidance and tools provided on our website
  • training programs.

Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback regarding the results of the study at

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New Standard on the physical storage of State records

The new Standard on the physical storage of State records (Standard No. 13) has been issued to all public offices. 

This new standard is the outcome of a recent review of an older storage standard, which had been issued to public offices in 2012. The new standard has:

  • a reduction in scope to only cover semi-active and inactive records in storage areas or facilities. It does not cover the creation and storage of paper records in office spaces as records are predominately being created in a digital format.
  • reduction from 7 to 6 principles
  • no changes to temperature and humidity ranges but clearer distinctions in environmental conditions for storing short and medium term temporary records (up to 30 years) and long term temporary records or State archives (more than 30 years)
  • tables which identify environmental conditions and housing requirements by records format and retention period (see Tables A and B in the Standard)
  • increased counter disaster requirements, including insurance to cover the recovery and restoration of records affected by disaster, and notification to NSW State Archives and Records that records have been affected by a disaster
  • requirements for sentencing records for disposal prior to transferring the records to secondary storage facilities, enabling a better match-up of records to appropriate storage environments
  • an increased focus on security and protecting records in accordance with the security frameworks issued by NSW Government and the Australian Government, and
  • a new format, including examples of how a public office can demonstrate compliance with each minimum requirement.

Please note that Standard on the physical storage of State records (Standard No. 11, issued 2012) is no longer a requirement under section 13 of the State Records Act 1998. This older standard should not be used as a benchmark for records management.

Further information on the new standard and implementing the standard in your organisation is available from our website.

Government Recordkeeping staff are available to answer any questions you may have on the new standard and can be contacted on or by telephone on 02 8257 2900.

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Our new Board

The membership of the Board of the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW has been confirmed, with Dr Brian Lindsay in the role of Chair. The new appointments to the Board are:

  • Lauren Eyles from Hunter Water (representing State owned corporations)
  • Dr Brian Lindsay (representing the history profession) and Chair
  • The Hon Shayne Mallard MLC (Member or officer of either House of Parliament) 
  • Rodney Wallis (reappointed Member representing the private sector) 
  • David Walton Northern Beaches Councillor (representing Local Government) 

Continuing Board members are:

  • Jeffrey Greenwood NSW Police Force (representing State law enforcement agencies) 
  • Hon. Justice Geoff Lindsay Justice of the NSW Supreme Court (representing a Court of NSW) 
  • Alex O’Mara Deputy Secretary for Create NSW (representing Public Service agencies)
  • Elizabeth Tydd NSW Information Commissioner (representing Public Service agencies)

Read more information about each of the board members on our website.

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FAQ on Information Security

We have updated our advice on Information Security to address the differences between information security and cyber security.

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Now and Then

The February issue of our sister newsletter Now and Then has just been published. It has some interesting articles including the digitisation of bubonic plague records and our new exhibition: Marriage: love and law. 

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Contacting Government Recordkeeping

A reminder that the best way to contact us is via the email which is monitored daily. Please don't email the for recordkeeping enquiries.

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Disposal authorities approved

The Board recently approved a disposal authority for transport strategic planning, network operations, safety and regulation.

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

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