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Destruction: How

Who can destroy records?

Records must never be destroyed without authorisation. At UNSW, this authorisation is provided by the Manager, Records & Archives, as the Senior Responsible Officer of the University.

This page provides all the necessary information to receive this authorisation and to destroy records that are no longer required.

When to destroy records

The NSW State Records Act provides specific guidance on when it is appropriate to destroy records through NSW State Archives & Records Disposal Authorities.

These General Disposal Authorities (GAs): classify records by the business activity they support, specify how long they must be kept at a minimum, and define whether they may then be destroyed or must be kept as part of the permanent record of the State of NSW (State archives.)

The allocation of these GAs to University records (and documenting this process) is known as appraisal. Appraisal is required for paper, digital, or any format of record.

Only once records have been appraised and then authorised, may they be destroyed.

How to destroy records

Records must first be appraised to determine what (if any) action is necessary, and to ensure the destruction of records is always documented and authorised.

Evidence of the authorised destruction of records may be required in legal proceedings or in response to Government Information Public Access (GIPA) requests.

Records & Archives provides the administrative support and approval process for record appraisal and destruction at the University and the Unit maintains the evidence of lawful destruction.

Your guide to destroying records

The following documents provide more information on how to appraise records and how to access the relevant process for their destruction, offsite storage, or scanning.

Records Appraisal Guide
The retention requirements for the most common types of record created by professional staff and an overview of the process for their appraisal. This is a good place to start for those new to the process.

What to do with paper records

The complete process for appraising records, including how to locate and identify retention requirements. This is more suitable for users with some experience of the appraisal process.

Record Appraisal Procedure

This is the University procedure for appraising records, part of the UNSW Recordkeeping Framework. It is most frequently used as a reference document.

Managing Physical Records Project Guide

This guide provides practical advice and tips on how to conduct a small scale record appraisal project. It can be used in concert with the above "What to do with paper records" guide, or as a stand-alone document.

Research Records Retention Requirements

The retention requirements for all records relating to research.

How to destroy records that have been scanned

There are specific provisions, known as GA45, provided by the NSW State Archives & Records Authority (SARA) for the conversion of hardcopy records to digital format, including when the source (hardcopy) records can be destroyed.

It is always recommended that these relatively simple provisions be followed to ensure information is not unnecessarily duplicated.

GA45, Original or source records that have been copied, requires that before the destruction of source paper records that have been scanned is approved:
You should perform quality control on a sample of the scanned material to ensure the digital records are true copies of the source hardcopy records.

It should also be noted that, whilst they are not commonly encountered, there are some types of records excluded from the provisions of GA45 for which scanning may not present the best solution.

Can some records be destroyed without approval?

The State Records Act 1998 under s. 21 (2) allows for some records to be destroyed without formal authorisation in accordance with what is known as, Normal Administrative Practice (NAP).

NAP may apply to records that are:

Before destroying records under NAP, please consider whether unique information or information of continuing value is being lost.

Where can I get storage boxes?

Empty boxes can be supplied, please contact us and indicate 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.
Box dimensions: (H)25cm x (W)18cm x (D)40cm.