Apply for early or one-off disposal authorisation

Early disposal authorisation

Early disposal authorisation is for records already covered by a retention and disposal schedule.

In certain circumstances you can apply to the State Archivist to dispose of a specific class or group of records early (e.g. when decommissioning a business system).

To apply for early disposal of records, the records:


  • have less than 5 years remaining before they would normally be eligible for disposal.

Apply for early disposal authorisation

One-off disposal authorisation

One-off disposal authorisation is for records not covered by a retention and disposal schedule.

You can apply for disposal authorisation for any records:

  • likely to have a short-term retention period (less than 5 years)


  • have less than 5 years remaining on their likely retention period.

You will need to complete a high-level appraisal of records to determine how long the records are likely to be required to be kept in order to meet business, legal, social, historical and other needs.

High-level appraisal of records

Look at the advice on how long to keep records to determine the value of the record and the possible retention period. Records will either have short-term or long-term value.

To do this, you will need to understand:

  • the business processes that the system supports
  • the records created as part of those processes
  • how and why they are used in the immediate, medium and longer term.

Process mapping may help to identify relationships between records and business processes, as well as stakeholders.

You will need to consult with all relevant stakeholders and document the feedback and rationale to support your application for disposal authorisation.

Look at the retention and disposal schedules of other agencies that carry out similar activities to help you determine the value of records.

See also the QSA Appraisal Statement (PDF, 697 KB) to help identify which records have permanent or long-term value.

Apply for early or one-off disposal authorisation

To apply for early or one-off disposal authorisation, complete the application for early or one-off disposal authorisation (DOCX, 153 KB). This form should be signed by your agency's Chief Executive or authorised delegate and emailed, with supporting documentation, to the State Archivist at

Note: A separate form must be completed for each business system containing records requiring disposal authorisation.

We assess applications using the evidence that you provide of the:

  • future business value of the records
  • results of the high-level appraisal (for one-off disposal authorisation)
  • technical condition of the relevant systems (if decommissioning)
  • legality of early disposal (e.g. that you will not be in breach of legislation if disposed early)
  • justification for the request.

QSA may seek additional information or clarification from you.

Disposal authorisation will not be granted automatically and will not be given for any permanent archival value records.

If your application is approved, a retention and disposal schedule will be issued. The records can then be destroyed.

If your application is refused, the records must be kept and preserved for their full retention period.

Document one-off or early disposal

The disposal of all records must be documented.

You must retain both the early or one-off disposal application, including all supporting information, and the disposal authorisation from the State Archivist in addition to normal destruction documentation.

Find out what other disposal information needs to be captured.