Go to top of page

Provide access to closed records

Individuals can ask your agency for access to closed records in QSA’s custody.

Your CEO (or authorised delegate) can authorise particular individuals to access records still subject to a Restricted Access Period (under s.18(2) of the Public Records Act 2002).

1. How people can request access

Where a record is closed, the item description for that record on the QSA catalogue will state that access to the record is through the responsible agency (excluding records where the item description is also closed).

Individuals can request access to closed records in the custody of QSA under s18 of the Public Records Act 2002.

If we receive a request for access to restricted records, we refer them back to your agency to assess the request and then decide to either grant or deny permission to access the records.

This process is separate to a Right to Information or Information Privacy application.

2. Assessing access requests

Your CEO or authorised delegate is responsible for deciding whether or not to grant access to closed records. When assessing a request, consider the following factors.

  • Who made the access request–a member of the public, academic, or government employee?
  • Why they made the request–family history purposes, academic purposes, to complete work on behalf of the Queensland Government?
  • What type of record(s) is included?
  • Does it cover a single record or many records?
  • When does the RAP expire?
  • Do the record(s) include personal information?
    • Does the record refer to the individual applying for access?
    • Does the record refer to person(s) other than the individual applying for access?
    • Does the record contain culturally sensitive information, or information about a health or criminal matter?
  • Does the person intend to publish information from the record(s)?
  • Would the release of the information breach other legislative provisions, for example the Youth Justice Act 1992 or the Adoption Act 2009?

Consider consulting with the relevant business areas to learn more about the requested information.

You can review the contents of the records before making an access decision. Records can be viewed in our Public Search Room, or provided through our file issue service.

Note: Metadata that contains personal or confidential information (e.g. author details) can be removed from the copy supplied to the requestor if necessary. Information should only be removed from a copy of a record, not the original source record.

See an example of providing access to closed records.

3. Who can authorise access to closed records?

The CEO has the power to authorise access to your agency’s closed records. These responsibilities can be delegated under certain conditions.

4. How to grant or deny access to records at QSA

Your CEO (or authorised delegate) must complete an access to restricted records (DOCX, 134 KB) form when granting or denying individuals access to closed records at QSA.

A separate form is required for each person requesting access.

Note: Completed forms must be emailed in PDF to info@archives.qld.gov.au.

On the form, you must include:

  • whether access is granted or denied
  • the relevant QSA item or series ID(s)
  • the full name of the person getting access.

If access is granted, also include:

  • a date range for when the requestor can access the closed records–this cannot exceed 1 year
  • whether or not the applicant is allowed to make or order copies of the records
  • any specific requirements, such as the presence of an agency staff member or that no notes may be taken.

Once the access decision has been made, your agency will need to notify the requestor and advise where they can see the records.

5. Accessing records at QSA

If you grant access to records at QSA, you must email the access to restricted records (DOCX, 134 KB) form to info@archives.qld.gov.au.

When the requestor arrives, our staff will check whether a signed form has been received from your agency.

If a form has been received, they will be able to view the relevant records in our Public Search Room under the supervision of the reference archivist on duty. You can also specify if you require a supervising officer from your agency.

6. Accessing records at your agency

If you want the requestor to view records at your agency, you can request the record(s) through the file issue service.

Keep a record of your agency’s decision to provide access.

This record should include, at a minimum:

  • the name of the individual (and organisation if relevant) to whom access is granted
  • the details of the record(s) to which access was granted
  • how access was provided (e.g. supervised on the public authority’s own premises or through the provision of copies)
  • the date of access
  • the name, position title and signature of the authorised officer who granted permission.

If you choose to provide access to the original record at your agency, it is essential that the access is supervised at all times.

7. Right to Information Act 2009 and Information Privacy Act 2009

Individuals can apply for access to a closed record in the custody of QSA under the Right to Information Act 2009 or the Information Privacy Act 2009 (fees and charges may be payable under these Acts).

Applications for access under these Acts must be directed to the responsible public authority (not to QSA).

For more information, talk to your RTI Unit or see the Office of the Information Commissioner.

8. Resources and tools