The storage of records is a key element in the records management program of all public offices. The purpose of the standard is establish minimum requirements for the storage of physical State records and to guide decisions for storing records. The standard covers records in the control of the public office which have a physical format, including:

  • paper files and documents
  • volumes and registers
  • maps, plans, charts and drawings
  • photographic media including photographic prints and negatives, film, microforms, and x-rays
  • magnetic media such as digital tape, video and audio cassettes
  • optical media such as CDs and DVDs, and
  • digital records stored on tapes, disks, or portable hard drives.

USB memory sticks should not be used for the short or long term storage of records.

The standard does not cover:

  • active records, as these are likely to be created on a digital format and stored in network servers or data centres, or in the cloud
  • storage of digital records in network servers, in data centres, or in the cloud, or the
  • storage of State archives.

The standard sets out three principles for effective records and information management. It has been designed to support digital recordkeeping as the NSW Government transitions to digital business processes.

The standard has been reviewed in light of Recommendation 8.4 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the NSW Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. There are no changes or revisions to the minimum compliance requirements listed in the Standard. However we have made minor amendments (additional text) to the “Examples of how a public office can demonstrate compliance with the requirement” component of the standard at minimum compliance requirements 3.2, 3.4, and 3.5.  Additional text is highlighted in the amended Standard on records management.

Codes of best practice are industry standards which codify and describe best practice, and are a benchmark for measuring processes, practices and systems. They underpin and support mandatory requirements in standards issued by State Records NSW. They provide further information about processes, practices or systems and will assist a public office in understanding and implementing requirements contained in the standards.  Codes of best practice are not designed for a formal auditing framework.  Nonetheless, failure to comply with a code of best practice would leave a public office open to criticism in an investigation where recordkeeping practices were an issue.

In accordance with the provisions of the State Records Act (section 13), State Records NSW may approve standards and codes of best practice for records management for use by public offices.

Recordkeeping standards are mandatory, measurable and include minimum compliance requirements.  They are outcomes oriented, rather than prescriptive.

Standards issued by State Records NSW under the Act include:

  • Standard on the physical storage of State records
  • Standard on records management

State Records NSW is required under the Act to consult with public offices on any proposed standard or code of best practice. Public offices may be contacted periodically for feedback on existing or proposed standards and codes of best practice.