Recordkeeping during COVID-19

As public authorities continue to respond to the ever-evolving challenges of COVID-19, Queensland State Archives (QSA) recognises that usual busines practices will likely be disrupted and that recordkeeping may not always be front of mind.

We would like to remind public authorities that their recordkeeping responsibilities under the Public Records Act 2002 remain as important as ever.

There is an ongoing need for records related to the pandemic AND as part of BAU to be created, managed and maintained.

Records created during this crisis will:

  • help support the success of the response
  • enable you to continue business as usual
  • ensure that there is evidence of the decisions made to support and enable this critical work
  • become key records for future generations to refer back to on how we all dealt with this event.

UNESCO and the International Council of Archives have released a joint statement regarding the importance of creating documentary heritage both now and for the future.

Recordkeeping responsibilities when working from home or remotely

If you are working from home or remotely, it is important to remember that your recordkeeping responsibilities do not change.

You still need to:

  • make and keep records of work activities
  • keep records safe
  • ensure there is no unauthorised disposal of records
  • comply with your agency’s recordkeeping policies and procedures
  • make sure the records are transferred or captured into your official recordkeeping or business systems when you return to your normal workplace.

Agencies should set clear expectations and processes about how records are created, managed and maintained when working form home, in particular for those that are unable to access the official business systems and capture records as they normally would.

Risks when working from home or remotely

With staff working from home, there are increased and additional risks to records.

  • Records may not be captured straight away or at all.
  • Information security may be less if people are using private networks and devices, or even public networks.
  • Lack of ability to control duplicates or versions.
  • Less able to control access to records, particularly confidential or sensitive.
  • Other staff may not be able to access the records they need if stored on a personal or individual device (e.g. USB, desktop, portable hard drive).
  • Some records may not be included in any back-ups if not on a networked drive, application or agency cloud.

Find out more about assessing and managing recordkeeping risks.

Things to consider

  • What records you need to capture and how–take a look at the Decide what records to capture and how page.
  • How you might manage public records in private accounts if you can’t use a work device or accounts–see our Public records in private accounts advice.
  • How you would use digital signatures to sign documents if you can no longer print and scan them–check out Implement and use digital signatures.
  • The security classifications that apply to records you use–check out our Security and access to records advice.
  • What records need to be accessed by others–check out our Security and access to records advice.
  • What social media content is a record–take a look at Social media records.
  • Whether there might be new record formats your agency needs to capture, like recorded teleconferences, or chats (e.g. using Microsoft teams)
  • Your agency’s recordkeeping policies and procedures to see what is already in place to enable working from home, and what may need to be updated.
  • Consider what processes, procedures need to change or where work-arounds may need to be implemented
  • What information security requirements may also impact how staff mange and access records – talk to your IT area.

More information

The following advice and information may be useful at this time:


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