ISSN 1321-6260
July 2021 - Number 147

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Records Management Assessment Tool

We are finalising the Records Management Assessment Tool package of materials and will launch the new RMAT soon. 

The questions in the RMAT assessment are focused on the management of records, information and data in NSW public offices, and how these practices align with requirements in the State Records Act 1998. They highlight the links between records management and regulations for cyber security, privacy, data sharing, open data, and information access (GIPAA).  The results of the assessment can be used for reporting on status, planning for improvement, justifying investment, and measuring progress. 

The new RMAT consists of: 

  • Instructions for use 
  • A page to collect the details of the assessment – Name of organisation, who is completing the assessment etc. 
  • 19 assessment questions and 5 responses which link to maturity levels 
  • Identification of evidence to support your response – drawn from SARA guidance 
  • Identification of regulatory requirements for each question 
  • Detailed explanatory notes on how the question supports the development of records and information management maturity. These notes draw on principles from SARA standards and the information domains and explain how achieving maturity in one area of records and information management can support further development across the organisation. 
  • Key guidance for the question 
  • Results statement, and 
  • A column for you to add your comments for each question. 

The RMAT will be available for download from our website in two formats, a spreadsheet or a word document. We recommend that you use the spreadsheet format for your assessment as it includes automating scoring and results graphs. The word document can be more easily printed if you need a hardcopy of the assessment. 

Here is a sample of a question: 

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Regulatory framework 

The State Records Act 1998 establishes the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales (SARA) as the regulator of records management and recordkeeping within NSW public offices. The State Records Act provides SARA with regulatory powers and enables us to issue formal requirements (e.g. standards, codes of best practice, retention and disposal authorities) and to provide records management services (e.g. guidance, and training) to assist and support public offices in their compliance with the Act. 

The Regulatory Framework (2021-2024) describes our approach and objectives to regulating records management, and how we intend to use the powers in the State Records Act 1998 to support our regulatory activities. It replaces the Monitoring Framework (2004) and is applicable to all public offices. The Framework will be reviewed in 2024.

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Disposal authorities approved

The Board of the NSW State Archives and Records Authority recently approved revisions to the disposal authorities for the following:

  • Ministers' offices
  • Public education
  • Tourism and major events
  • Operational Policing
  • NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The Board also approved the revoking of FA230 covering the Natural Resources Advisory Council.

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

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Revoking of general disposal authorities for video surveillance records and audio-visual productions

As part of our project to review retention and disposal authorities issued over 10 years ago, the Board has approved the revoking of:

  • GDA8 covering routine video surveillance records such as CCTV footage. Coverage for these records is now provided by the General retention and disposal authority: administrative records PROPERTY MANAGEMENT - Security (entry 16.24.7). Please note that this does not include surveillance footage created or maintained by a public office where the provision of security or crime prevention and investigation is linked to core functions e.g. police, youth detention and offender management. Video surveillance records are covered in the functional retention and disposal authorities for these types of public offices. NB: Local councils will need to use GA28 for disposal of these records.
  • GDA11 covering audio visual programs. Coverage for these records is now provided by the General retention and disposal authority: administrative records (entries 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.14.1, 17.15.7 and 17.15.8), and by the relevant classes in functional retention and disposal authorities, for example, audio - visual recordings of transport infrastructure are covered by FA382, Transport Infrastructure, and road safety campaigns by FA403, Transport strategic planning, network operations, safety and regulation.
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Recordkeeping in focus: Certificates of title & Covid tests for Health staff

  • The Registrar General of NSW has declared that on 11 October 2021 all certificates of title (CTs) will be abolished and no longer have legal effect. The Torrens Title Register is the single source of truth as to a person’s ownership or interest in land. We will be amending the entries covering certificates of title in the general retention and disposal authorities for administrative records and local government records after this date to permit the disposal of existing CTs held by public offices. Currently they are required to be retained until the property is sold.
  • Public health staff: the disposal of Covid testing records for public health staff and contractors involved in the quarantine program where the results are negative is covered by GDA21, entry 8.1.3. This allows the disposal of negative test results after administrative or reference use ceases. Please contact HealthShare for more information. Positive test results will be managed as part of patient care in the relevant classes in GDA17 covering public health services patient records. 
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Recordkeeping enquiries

Just a quick reminder that the best way to send an enquiry to the Recordkeeping Standards and Advice team is to email You can telephone but as we are working remotely calls can't be answered in person and you will need to leave a voice message.  

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Retention and disposal webpages

We have rearranged our retention and disposal authorities webpages so that the general and functional retention and disposal authorities are on the one page.

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Digitisation of photographic and audio-visual material

We are currently undertaking a large digitisation project of at-risk material from the State Archives Collection. Over the next 12 months, we will be digitising photographic and audio-visual material as well as selected paper-based material. All of this material is either at risk due to physical deterioration or format obsolescence. More information is available from the news pages on our website.

The State Archives Galleries have collections of previously digitised material organised around themes such as Taronga Zoo and Railway Travel Posters.

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