ISSN 1321-6260
June  - No. 135

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New telephone number – 02 9714 3080

We are in the process of deploying a new telephone system in our Queens Square office. As a result our Government Recordkeeping telephone numbers are changing.

This change affects our main line and direct staff lines. Our new contact numbers are already active and the existing numbers will soon be decommissioned. We ask that you update your records.

To contact Government Recordkeeping telephone: 02 9714 3080 or email us at the usual address

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Have you heard about the Digital Design System?

Contribution from the Digital Transformation Team, Department of Finance Services and Innovation

If you’re involved in creating digital services (websites, apps and other digital things) the Digital Design System (DDS) is made for you.

The DDS (currently in beta) is a living repository of style guidelines, reusable components and guides to help teams across NSW Government deliver consistent, user-centric services. It covers a wide range of topics including branding, accessibility, and user research. The DDS also houses a Digital Design Standard to underpin how government designs and delivers digital services.  

Not sure if you fit in the category of ‘creator’?  DDS users include program and project officers, developers, designers, policy officers, user researchers, procurement officers, content designers and communication officers.

The DDS is less than a year old and the Digital Transformation team at the Department of Customer Service are keen to hear your feedback on the DDS. The team is looking for people to contribute content or take part in user research to help improve the DDS. If you’d like to get in involved, please email

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Recordkeeping leaflets

Our Recordkeeping Fundamentals leaflets are designed to assist public sector organisations raise awareness of the importance of good recordkeeping. The leaflets cover why records are important, common types of records, responsibilities for each public sector organisation and employee, and where to access further information. There are tailored versions of the leaflet for NSW Government staff, NSW Local Government staff, and NSW Local Government Councillors.

Our Recordkeeping Reminders leaflet is designed to provide advice to NSW Public Sector staff on common situations where public officials in NSW should make and save records and information into the organisation’s recordkeeping system and/or corporate business systems.

We also have a leaflet for Chief Executive Officers of NSW public sector organisations. This leaflet covers the key benefits of recordkeeping and is designed to assist Chief Executives understand why recordkeeping is important.

While the leaflets can be downloaded and printed for use and distribution, they have been designed to be digital leaflets and contain embedded hyperlinks for further resources.

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Determining retention requirements for records

We are often asked how retention requirements (how long to keep a record and the disposal actions) in retention and disposal authorities are determined.

Retention requirements within the retention and disposal authorities take into consideration more than business needs, they also consider legislative and regulatory requirements, whole of Government directives, Royal Commission recommendations, risk assessments, as well as community expectations and State Archives Collection requirements.

Through the development of retention and disposal authorities we engage with public offices to ensure proposed retention requirements are justified and support Government accountability objectives.

Each retention requirement has been determined on the basis of:

  • Benchmarks -  legal requirements or assessment against a comparable jurisdiction,
  • Precedents - consistency with other NSW public offices
  • Risk assessments
  • Other - considering functional requirements, business needs and community/stakeholder consultation.

Entries proposed as State archives are assessed against appraisal objectives listed in the Building the Archives Policy.

All retention requirements are justified and considered by our Board before they are approved.

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Remember to check the index in retention and disposal authorities

The listing of functions and activities at the front of every retention and disposal authority outlines the hierarchy of functions and activities and can help you to navigate through the authority and locate the appropriate records class. 

We also include A-Z indexes for many of the larger General retention and disposal authorities, such as Administrative records (GA28)Health Services, Public: Patient/Client records (GDA17)Local government records (GA39)

A thorough look at the index before exploring classes can simplify the records sentencing process.

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New disposal authority for childcare

The new Functional Retention and Disposal Authority: Provision and regulation of childcare services was issued on 30th May. This authority can be used by any NSW public office that provides childcare, as well as the NSW regulator of children's early education and care.

Entries relating to childcare services have now been removed from all other authorities.

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New disposal authority for public health services patient records

The revised General retention and disposal authority: public health services patient records was issued on 30 May 2019.

There have been some increases to retention periods around children's and mental health records, as well as records relating to sexual assault of minors. The indefinite retention of obstetric records has been removed although the records are required to be retained for 50 years after date of the birthing episode.

We have published a schedule of amendments to highlight changes to disposal actions, scope and removed entries. 

The amendments to GDA17 do not affect records that have already been destroyed or transferred as State archives. However, where minimum retention periods have changed and the records have been sentenced, local health districts will need to ensure that the correct disposal action has been applied to the records. We have published a linking table to assist with this process.

Ministry of Health Information Bulletin

The Ministry of health have issued a bulletin to the health system in relation to the above authorities.

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MoG - NSW State Archives and Records moves to Department of Premier and Cabinet

From 1 July 2019, NSW State Archives and Records will move to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, as part of the Community Engagement portfolio which contains the Cultural Institutions (Museums and Galleries) as well as organisations such as Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs. Our Minister will remain the same, The Hon. Don Harwin MLC.

Complementary to this change our Executive Director Adam Lindsay will have a dual role, also taking on the responsibility of Executive Director of Sydney Living Museums. This partnerships establishes great opportunities to exhibit the State Archives Collection alongside the collection of significant artefacts and buildings that are cared for by SLM, together opening up new and significant stories of the history of NSW and its people.

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Administrative change - access directions, disposal authorities, and storage providers

During the upcoming administrative changes, your agency may be amalgamated with another agency or acquire functions from another agency. Agencies should contact:

  • NSW State Archives and Records to notify of changes affecting access directions (contact:
  • NSW State Archives and Records to discuss using a functional retention and disposal authority applying to another agency or function (contact:
  • Storage providers of records to advise of changes to agency responsible for controlling records, access and billing arrangements.

If you have any queries about administrative changes and records, please contact Government Recordkeeping on or telephone 02 9714 3080

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Senior Responsible Officer and records management contacts

The Standard on records management requires each public office to have a designated Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for records management. The SRO supports the Chief Executive by 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. If you haven’t nominated a SRO or your designated SRO has changed, please let us know using the form available from the website.

We also like to keep in contact with records management staff in public offices. If you would like to advise us of records management contacts at your organisation, please let us know using the form available from the website.

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For your diary!

The next Records Managers Forum will be held at our Western Sydney Records Centre (Kingswood) on Wednesday 31 July 2019. Invitations and further information about the Forum will be emailed out to all SROs and Records Management Contacts next month.

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