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How to Dispose of Records

Records disposal is an important part of efficient and effective records management. It is the process of retaining, transferring, or destroying records.

Under the State Records Act 1998, records created and maintained by a NSW public sector organisation, which includes the University,must be authorised prior to disposal.

Disposal of university records is in accordance with General retention and disposal authorities (GDAs) approved by the State Records Authority of NSW. At the University the disposal of records is authorised by the Manager, Records and Archives.

The following procedures assist with the disposal of records:


  • How to transfer records to the Records & Archives Office
  • How to dispose of records under Normal Administrative Practice (NAP)
  • How to obtain records disposal authorisation
  • How to destroy records
  • How to retain records that can legally be destroyed

    FAQs


  • How long should records be kept?
  • Can I transfer old records in my office to you for archives?
  • How to access to my records after Transfer
  • What will happen to files registered on TRIM that I return to your office?


    How to transfer records to the Records & Archives Office


    1. Identify records eligible for Transfer

      If they are files registered on TRIM go to Step 2 or 4, otherwise

    • Contact the Records Office with a listing* of the records that you are planning to transfer.

      Upon receipt of this listing, we will appraise the records in accordance with retention and disposal authorities approved by the State Records Authority of NSW.

      They may not be eligible for Transfer, for example: records that have passed their minimum retention period, have no continuing value, and can legally be destroyed.
    • We will contact you back with the complete information, including the updated listing and which form to complete (Records Disposal Form RAO02 or Archives Transfer Form RAO03)

      *Your listing should include a brief description of the records, the date range applicable to the contents and any other qualifying information you feel is relevant. The List template is available for download here (55kB .xlsx). Feel free to contact us for guidance on its' use.

    1. Order empty boxes

      Order empty boxes by email to records.admin@unsw.edu.au Include how many boxes you will need and the delivery address. They are free of charge. We will send them via Internal Mail, please allow 1-3 days.
    2. Boxing

      Pack records in the same order as they were in the listing (as provided in the Step #1), and label the boxes accordingly. We will let you know if there are records we require boxed separately.
    3. Arrange for collection

      Contact 56763 Internal Mail service or 55111 FM Assist, for collection and delivery.
      Our address is:

      Records & Archives Office
      LG20, Chancellery Building.


    How to dispose of records under Normal Administrative Practice (NAP)


    The State Records Act 1998 under s. 21 (2) allows for a number of records to be destroyed without formal authorisation in accordance with Normal Administrative Practice (NAP).

    NAP may apply to documents that are:
  • duplicated, eg: information copies, copies of reports, correspondence
  • (where the originals are on file)
  • unimportant, eg: compliment slips, telephone messages
  • of short term value, eg: rough drafts, address lists, change of addresses
  • stationery
  • solicited and unsolicited advertising material.

    If you have any doubts, please contact us or enquire here.

    Before destroying records under NAP, please consider whether unique value information is being lost. Destroy records by shredding or contact FM Assist on x55111 to arrange for their removal as confidential waste.

    How to obtain records disposal authorisation


    For records not registered on TRIM:

    1. Please complete the Records Disposal Form RAO02 (206kB .pdf)
    2. Attach a list of the records to be disposed of. The List template is available for download here (55kB .xlsx). Feel free to contact us for guidance on its use.

    Upon receipt of this form RAO staff will appraise the records in accordance with disposal authorities approved by State Records Authority of NSW and will contact you to discuss the next step.

    How to destroy records


    1. You will receive a copy of the approved Records Disposal Form RAO02 which outlines the disposal action to be taken in Section 4.2.
    2. Destroy records in an appropriate and secure manner. Failure to do so may lead to the unauthorised release of sensitive information.
    3. Destroy records by shredding or contact FM Assist on x55111 to arrange for their removal as confidential waste.


    How to retain records that can be legally destroyed


    Unless records are required for known, or reasonably anticipated, litigation, inquiries or investigations or there is a demonstrable continuing business need for access to them, they should be destroyed once their retention period has expired. They should not be retained 'just in case' they might be required at some time in the future.

    There is a significant cost to the University in storing paper records for periods longer than those for which it is legally obliged to retain the records.

    As a result, at its meeting of 10 March 2010, VCAC agreed that the Records and Archives Office should charge business units that wish to retain records that could be legally destroyed.



     Extract from Minutes of VCAC Meeting, 10 March 2010

    6.  UNSW Records

    Mr Morris spoke to the briefing paper on the cost and responsibility of storing non-critical UNSW records. The VCAC supported that the Records and Archives Office charge business units for storing UNSW records retained by business units beyond their legal requirements.



    Business units that require records to be retained beyond the date at which they can be legally destroyed will therefore have to provide either:

    1. a financial charging code against which the Records and Archives Office can charge them for the outsourced storage of these Records, or
    2. a statement of the legal or business reasons to justify retention of the records beyond the retention periods detailed in the General Disposal Authorities.

    Legal reasons which justify retention are known, or reasonably expected, litigation, inquiries or investigations for which the records will be required.
    Business reasons to justify retention need to be based on a demonstrated requirement for continued use of that record for the work of the University.

    In general this will be demonstrated either by a record of regular access to those records or by the need of the business unit to keep those records stored in the unit with other active records.

    If a business unit wishes to retain records beyond the date at which they may be legally destroyed the Unit head should complete the UNSW Records Retention Form (RAO06).

    Disposal FAQs


    How long should records be kept?


    General retention and disposal authorities (GDAs) relevant to University records are available for consultation on the website of the State Records Authority of NSW. These include:

  • GDA 8 - Video / Visual Surveillance Records
  • GDA 11 - Audio Visual Programs and Recordings
  • GDA 12 - Personnel Records
  • GDA 17 - Public Health Services: Patient/Client records
  • GDA 21 - Public Health Services: Administrative Records
  • GDA 23 - University Records
  • GA 28 - Administrative Records
  • GA 36 - Imaged Records

    Check the guidelines below to see how long your records should be kept before destruction:
  • School Records Disposal Guide
  • Retention periods for records relating to research

    For further information, please contact us or enquire here.

    Can I transfer old records in my office to you for archives?


    Please refer to the How to transfer records to Records & Archives Office procedure.

    How to access to my records after Transfer


    Records transferred to us will be registered in the TRIM system. Please refer to How to Access Existing Files procedure.

    What will happen to files registered on TRIM that I return to your office?


    Records staff will update the files' location in the TRIM system. If the subject matter is closed, records staff will appraise the files in accordance with the General retention and disposal authorities approved by the State Records Authority of NSW. The files will then either be archived permanently or retained until their retention period expires. Once their retention period expires we will send you a Records Disposal Form for your approval, so that we can arrange the confidential destruction of the files.
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