Overview of recordkeeping for public authorities
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 These information standard have been repealed.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.
As a public authority, you must make and keep complete and reliable public records of your activities.
Records Governance Policy
The Records Governance Policy is a fit-for-purpose records and information governance policy that recognises the diversity of Queensland Government agencies with a flexible and simplified approach to records management.
It aims to support Queensland government agencies on their path to digital recordkeeping maturity and lift records management capability.
The policy comprises 6 policy requirements, replacing 9 principles and 2 information standards.
Find out more about the policy.
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.
Subsidiaries of a public authority, service providers, and non-government organisations carrying out services on behalf of the government are not normally considered public authorities unless they fall under one of the categories in the Act (e.g. an organisation created by an Act). However, the recordkeeping requirements should still apply to those organisations through contractual arrangements with public authorities. Find out more about recordkeeping responsibilities when outsourcing
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 complete and reliable 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 the Records Governance Policy.
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
- Records Governance Policy
- Records Governance Policy implementation guideline
Queensland State Archives resources
- Queensland State Archives–who we are and what we do
- QSA's 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
- Management of public records (joint publication with CCC)
- Recordkeeping requirements under the Public Records Act 2002
- Recordkeeping responsibilities during outsourcing of functions
- Records governance policy overview
- Building digital capability: the records governance policy baseline survey overview
- Recordkeeping maturity assessment tool overview
- Recordkeeping and you awareness training overview
- Records management challenge training overview
- What records do I need to keep cheat sheet
- What records do I need to keep cheat sheet