Retention and Disposal Authorities are an integral part of an organisation’s Record Keeping Plan. They are a legal instrument which:
- sets the minimum retention period that different categories of records must be held before their legal disposal
- authorises the destruction of records that have reached their minimum retention period
- identifies records that will be retained permanently as State archives.
All State records must be disposed of in accordance with an approved Retention and Disposal Authority.
Retention and Disposal Authorities may take the form of a:
- General Disposal Authority;
- Retention and Disposal Authority;
- Sector Disposal Authority;
- Ad Hoc Disposal Authority; or
- Disposal List.
The State Records Commission approves all Retention and Disposal Authorities.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) was established under the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cwlth) on 11 January 2013. Its Final Report was presented to the Governor-General on 15 December 2017.
Volume 8 of the Report, concerning Recordkeeping and Information Sharing, contains 23 recommendations.
Recommendation 8.1 states:
“To allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and take account of limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse, institutions that engage in child-related work should retain, for at least 45 years, records relating to child sexual abuse that has occurred or is alleged to have occurred.”
Recommendation 8.3 states that Australian public records authorities should provide organisations with guidance on identification and retention of relevant records. The SROWA is responsible for advising Western Australian government entities about the recordkeeping requirements presented in the Report.
Recommendations 8.1 and 8.3 will affect previously approved disposal authorities and amendments to these documents are in progress. In the interim, government organisations are reminded that, in accordance with their Retention and Disposal Authorities:
“If an Investigation or Inquiry is in progress (or likely or imminent), all records relevant to the Investigation or Inquiry (including those due for destruction) must be identified and preserved until the action and any subsequent actions are completed.”
Any such records held by State or local government organisations, or their outsourced agents, must not be destroyed until further notice.
For information on what records should be retained see Guidance for identifying and retaining records which may become relevant to an actual or alleged incident of child sexual abuse
Storage of Records
The Archival Storage Specification is to be used by government organisations that have obtained approval to retain State archives in accordance with SRC Standards.
The Directions for Keeping State Archives Awaiting Transfer to the State Archives Collection apply when the State Archivist is unable to accept a transfer of State archives from a State organisation under s.32(4) of the State Records Act 2000. They provide minimal compliance requirements as to how State archives, in any format, are to be kept by State organisations until such time as transfer can take place.
Transferring Archival Records to the State Records Office
The State Records Act 2000 requires that State and Local government organisations must transfer records identified as State archives under their control to the State Records Office (SRO) when the archives become 25 years old, unless the organisation’s Recordkeeping Plan states otherwise (State Records Act 2000,.s.32(1)).
The State Records Office is not currently in a position to recieve archives. State organisations are required to keep their archives in accordance with the SRO’s Directions for Keeping State Archives Awaiting Transfer to the State Archives Collection (PDF).
Organisation should complete the Archives transfer request form (XLS) and send to email@example.com