Paper less, digital first

Storage of physical records is a significant cost for your agency. Reducing physical storage is a practical savings measure and allows for efficiencies in your operations.

There are three stages you should consider when reducing your physical storage.

Location of records

Records can be stored in different locations, not just in your main office.  It's important to identify where your records are currently located.

Some locations to check are:

  • Basement or storage areas in your building
  • Filing cabinets and drawers
  • Third-party storage facilities
  • Previous business areas or departments due to Machinery-of-Government changes

Types of records

Ensure your records are documented in a register.

You should determine whether an existing list, index or register is available and work from that. These may be physical documents in a filing cabinet or storage facility, or could be stored digitally in a database, spreadsheet, or an electronic document and records management system, also known as eDRMS.

Key information to help you identify the context of the records you have:

  • Date of records - this will help you identify records you need to keep
  • Who created the records
  • Content of records


The best way to reduce the amount of paper information your agency is storing is to sentence your records.

This process will allow you to go through what you have and decide whether it stays or goes.

Your agency's retention and disposal schedule will instruct you on what physical records can be disposed of, as the retention period has expired.

It's important to dispose of your records on a regular basis to reduce your agency's need for physical storage.

There are only two ways your agency is authorised to dispose of records:

  1. A disposal authority issued by the State Archivist
  2. Other legal authority that instructs you to dispose of records in a certain way such as criminal history checks during employment screening

You should develop a disposal plan to ensure your agency has proper coverage by documenting the disposal of its records.

A disposal plan will, at a minimum, detail:

  • Approvals
  • Destruction methods you will use
  • Frequency