Retention, disposal and destruction of records

All records must be managed so that they remain complete and reliable records for the minimum retention period. To do this, you need to understand:

  • What records you need to keep
  • Where and how you need to keep them
  • How long you need to keep them for.

You should determine and document what information or activities are the best evidence of your agency's work.

The records should:

  • Be trusted and any context around the decision or activity is understood through the records kept by your agency
  • Meet any legal requirements specific to your agency
  • Be captured into business processes and systems.

Some of the information and data you work with is captured automatically through the business applications and systems you use. In some instances, you will need to do more with the information and data to create a government record.

In these situations, make sure you include:

  • A short description
  • The date and time
  • Decisions or recommendations made
  • Advice or instructions given
  • Actions taken
  • Rationale
  • People involved.

The retention and disposal schedule will outline how long you need to keep records for, and depends on any legal, community and business requirements.

Before deleting or disposing of information, data and records, you must check with your relevant record management, legal and Right to Information areas to confirm that there are no potential legal, community and business requirements to keep the information for longer.

Advice for records managers

Disposal advice for record managers provides more detailed information on establishing your systems and processes.  This is especially useful for record managers and covers Records governance policy requirement 6.

Resources and tools

Resources and tools for records management have been developed to help you implement best practice records management in your agency.