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Recordkeeping Basics

This NSW State Records' online module Recordkeeping and you provides an introduction to what you need to know about managing records when working for the NSW Government. For further information about your responsibilities for managing email, please see this next module.

What is a University Record?

A University Record is any document or other source of information in any format (including electronic documents and websites) that is made or received by employees of UNSW as part of their work. University records are corporate assets which represent a tangible product of the work of staff. Without a record of the thousands of transactions, instructions, agreements, authorisations and reports created every day throughout UNSW the efficient functioning of the University would be seriously impeded.

What is Recordkeeping?

Recordkeeping is defined in the Australian standard on records management as "the making and maintaining of complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in the form of recorded information".

It consists of the systems and procedures for ensuring that records:

  • are made
  • are accurate
  • are authentic
  • have integrity
  • are useable

Why is good recordkeeping important?

Good recordkeeping is essential to UNSW because it supports all communication and decision-making. Good recordkeeping enables you:

  • to recall the detail of what was done or what was decided;
  • to prove what was done or decided (in some cases to prove it in court);
  • to provide evidence of business transactions;
  • to distribute information among colleagues working in different places and to make information available to future employees;
  • to ensure the integrity of information assets;
  • to make decisions consistently and formulate policy on a solid basis of knowledge;
  • to save money through continual access to previous research rather than having to recreate information resources; and
  • to save money by not having to waste time looking for records known to exist but unable to be found.

Good recordkeeping is essential for accountability.

The mechanisms for accountability within the University cannot work properly without good records. Records are the primary means by which the University explains its decisions and proves what it has done. The requirement for explanation and proof might come in the form of a simple query from a student, a formal Freedom of Information request, or an inquiry by the Ombudsman, Auditor-General or ICAC. It might also come as a query from a funding body or as a subpoena issued in the context of a court case

See also