Disposal freezes

The Records Governance Policy (external) has replaced Information Standard 31: Retention and disposal of public records, and Information Standard 40: Recordkeeping. These information standard have been repealed.

Any references to IS31 and IS40 may be taken as a reference to the current Records Governance Policy if the context permits.

Read more about the changes and what they mean for your recordkeeping practices.

A disposal freeze overrides any earlier disposal authority given by the State Archivist for the relevant period. Freezes can be internal (issued by your agency’s CEO or delegate) or issued by the State Archivist.

Disposal freezes are issued when it is necessary to temporarily stop the destruction of records (e.g. when records are required for legal proceedings or commissions of inquiry). They are issued for a set period of time, although they may be open ended if an end date can’t be determined.

State Archivist issued disposal freeze

The State Archivist may issue a disposal freeze for a particular agency or for certain records. If this occurs, we will consult with impacted agencies and inform all relevant parties.

See our Disposal Freeze Policy. (PDF, 345 KB)

Current disposal freezes

The State Archivist has issued a disposal freeze for all records which are relevant to, or may become relevant to, an allegation of child sexual abuse (PDF, 537 KB) in response to recommendations arising from the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This disposal freeze covers all records relating to children. See the disposal freeze for details of the types of records covered.

This disposal freeze will remain in force until further notice. Any records covered by this disposal freeze in an authorised retention and disposal schedule must not be destroyed until this disposal freeze is revoked

This disposal freeze applies to all Queensland public authorities, including contractors and services providers that create, receive or keep records on behalf of a public authority.

QSA is conducting a final round of consultation with agencies on draft guideline and disposal authorisation for records relating to the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable persons. This draft guidance and disposal authorisation have been broadened to include coverage for ALL vulnerable persons. This is based on the feedback provided during the consultation in July 2019 for records relating to the safety and wellbeing of children, and also in anticipation of any recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (RCACQS) and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (RCVANEPD).

For more information on the current or previous consultations, including the draft documents please see:

See also CAARA Guidance for identifying and retaining records which may become relevant to an actual or alleged incident of child sexual abuse (PDF, 68KB).

Internal agency disposal freezes

Before issuing an internal disposal freeze, undertake a risk assessment and/or seek legal advice to determine if one is needed and which records it should cover.

Check with your agency for internal freezes issued by your agency's CEO or delegate.

See an example of an internal disposal freeze.

Note: The Commonwealth Government has established 2 new Royal Commissions that may require access to documents and records held by Queensland public authorities.

The State Archivist has written to agencies that may be affected and recommended that they:

  • consider identifying potential records that may be of interest to the 2 Royal Commissions
  • protecting identified records from destruction until the work of each Commission has been completed.

Your agency should consider whether an internal disposal freeze is required to temporarily suspend the disposal of these records.

For more information, see:

What to do if a disposal freeze is issued

If a disposal freeze is issued, either by the State Archivist or your agency’s CEO, you are responsible for ensuring any records covered by the freeze are not destroyed during the freeze. They need to be retained by your agency until the freeze is lifted.

Records covered by a disposal freeze issued by the State Archivist do not need to be transferred to QSA.

It is every agency’s responsibility to undertake their own detailed analysis of their legislative requirements, business activities and records holdings to identify affected records.

You should:

  • identify which records are impacted by the freeze
  • tell impacted employees of their obligations
  • keep documentation to show that you have acted to prevent the destruction of affected records.

Note: Any physical source records that have been converted from a physical format to a microfilm or digital format and are subject to a disposal freeze cannot be destroyed whilst the freeze is in place, even if the other requirements in this disposal authorisation have been met. Disposal authorisation 2074 in the General Retention and Disposal Schedule (GRDS) for physical source records specifically excludes ‘records subject to a disposal freeze’.

Previous disposal freezes

The previous disposal freeze concerning official departmental copies of Executive Council Minutes, issued by the State Archivist on 18 December 2015, was revoked on 1 September 2016. The State Archivist formally notified affected agencies of this revocation.