Overview of recordkeeping for public authorities
As a public authority, you must make and keep full and accurate public records of your activities.
Public Records Act 2002
The Public Records Act 2002 governs recordkeeping for all Queensland public authorities.
The Act aims to ensure the public records of Queensland are made, managed, kept, and, if appropriate, preserved in a usable form for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Act defines both a public authority and a public record. It also includes specific recordkeeping requirements that all agencies must comply with, specifically:
- what records need to be kept, by who, and why
- who is responsible for records
- how records should be created and managed
- when records can be disposed of
- who authorises disposal of records.
Find out more about the Public Records Act 2002 and your legislative obligations.
A public authority is a government agency or organisation defined as a public authority under Schedule 2 of the Public Records Act 2002. This includes:
- Ministers and Assistant Ministers
- the Governor
- the Executive Council
- organisations created by the Governor, a Minister or through legislation
- commissions of inquiry
- government owned corporations
- entities established by the State and a local government
- officers of the court
- a rail government entity under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994
- local governments.
A public record includes any form of recorded information, created or received by, or created on behalf of a Queensland public authority in the transaction of government business.
A ministerial record includes any form of recorded information, created or received by, or created on behalf of a Minister in the course of carrying out Ministerial portfolio responsibilities, but does not include:
- a record related to personal or party-political activities
- a record held in their capacity as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Find out what records you need to capture and how.
Responsibility for records
Ownership of public records is with the State of Queensland or relevant local government. Public authorities are responsible for making, managing, keeping and preserving full and accurate public records. This includes the management of records:
- you have created or received in the course of your normal business
- inherited or transferred to you as part of a machinery-of-government change or as specified in legislation
- created or received on your behalf (e.g. when outsourcing functions).
The executive officer of a public authority must ensure their authority complies with responsibilities under the Public Records Act 2002.
You must have regard to any relevant policy, standards and guidelines made by the archivist about the making and keeping of public records when managing your obligations under the Public Records Act 2002. This includes Information standard 40: Recordkeeping (IS40) and Information standard 31: Retention and disposal of public records (IS31).
Records need to:
- be stored appropriately
- have preservation measures applied so that they stay accessible and usable
- remain accessible and useable
- be kept safe and secure until you’re legally able to destroy or transfer them to QSA.
Disposal of records
Public records cannot be disposed of without authorisation.
Disposal includes destroying, transferring, selling, donating, abandoning, damaging or amending a record.
Any disposal of public records must be also be endorsed by your CEO or authorised delegate.
Records with a permanent retention period in a current authorised retention and disposal schedule are to be transferred to Queensland State Archives when business need for those records has ceased.
The disposal of records must be documented.
Legislation and standards
- Public Records Act 2002
- Information Standard 40: Recordkeeping (IS40)
- Information Standard 31: Retention and disposal of public records (IS31)
Queensland State Archives resources
- Digital recordkeeping transformation program overview
- Recordkeeping matters: the what and why for Chief Executive Officers
- Delegation of recordkeeping responsibilities overview
- Making, managing and keeping public records
- Recordkeeping requirements under the Public Records Act 2002
- Recordkeeping policy framework diagram
- Recordkeeping responsibilities during outsourcing of functions
- Queensland Government digital continuity strategy
- What records do I need to keep cheat sheet
- What records do I need to keep cheat sheet