Determining the community value of government records

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Consultation has concluded

Consultation Process


Now Closed

TThis online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 8 September to 5 October 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.

We want to know why government records and information have value to you and the broader South Australian community.

What’s being decided?

We are updating the criteria used by government to determine what records are kept as permanent archive of South Australia.

Using the draft Appraisal Standard, government agencies will be able to assess the value of their records and determine whether they should be kept and for how long.

Records may relate to

Consultation Process


Now Closed

TThis online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 8 September to 5 October 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.

We want to know why government records and information have value to you and the broader South Australian community.

What’s being decided?

We are updating the criteria used by government to determine what records are kept as permanent archive of South Australia.

Using the draft Appraisal Standard, government agencies will be able to assess the value of their records and determine whether they should be kept and for how long.

Records may relate to any activities of state and local government. This includes your interactions with government agencies such as applying for a drivers licence, seeking probate on a will, or writing to your local council.

Get involved

Read the draft Appraisal Standard and Appraisal Standard Summary and have your say by:

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will help to refine the criteria used by government to determine what records should be kept forever as State archives.

What are the next steps?

The new criteria will be published as a records management standard under the State Records Act 1997 in December 2020.

Contact details

For general inquiries, please email us at StateRecords@sa.gov.au or call us on (08) 8204 8791 during business hours (9am to 5pm, weekdays).

Closing date: 5 pm Monday 5 October 2020




Background


Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 8 September to 5 October 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

State Records’ Archive Strategy establishes a vision that the archive is valued, preserved, readily accessible and managed sustainably and notes that our first priority is to ensure the archive is valued by the people of South Australia.

As part of our strategy for ensuring we have a valued archive, we committed to reviewing the criteria for what is kept, as they had not been reviewed since 2003, and also consulting on the criteria. This helps ensure we are transparent about the records we aim to archive permanently.

Our existing criteria for appraisal are published in our guideline Appraisal of Official Records: Policy and Objectives, which is dated February 2003.

In 2019 we conducted a survey in conjunction with our engagement via YourSAy on the draft Archive Strategy. The survey asked questions about what types of State and Local Government records should be kept as part of the State’s archive, and what types of records should be destroyed when they are no longer required for their original purpose. We also asked whether there are specific types of records that should be kept for the benefit of rural, regional or other communities in South Australia.

We received about 60 responses to each of the three questions and there was a diversity of views. We have analysed these comments, and distilled the key ideas, and these have informed the draft Standard Appraisal and new criteria.

We are trying to understand why records have value to the people and communities of South Australia, rather than which specific records have value, so we are asking different survey questions.

Consultation has concluded
  • What you said

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    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 8 September to 5 October 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

    We want to hear your views on why government records and information are of value to you and the broader South Australian community.

    Read the draft Appraisal Standard and Appraisal Standard Summary and have your say by:

  • Appraisal Standard Summary

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    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 8 September to 5 October 2020. Find out more about the consultation process.

    Below is a summary of the draft Appaisal Standard which is available as an Appraisal Standard Consultation PDF download.

    We are seeking your views on why records should be kept forever, or not.

    The draft Appraisal Standard defines general principles and criteria for deciding what records are kept forever. It also sets out requirements for South Australian government agencies to follow when undertaking appraisal of records for disposal schedules.

    It will replace our guideline Appraisal of Official Records: Policy and Objectives dated February 2003.

    Appraisal is the term we use for the process of deciding what records should be kept, and how long they should be kept for.

    Criteria for determining what records are kept permanently

    The criteria to be used by government agencies are grouped under eight themes:

    1. Records that support Aboriginal people and tradition
    2. Records that impact on people
    3. Records supporting rights and entitlements
    4. Records that document impact on place
    5. Records of events and changes in society
    6. Records documenting public policy
    7. Records of governance and accountability
    8. Records documenting government authority

    Making Records

    Everyone makes records. You may record events in a diary, send email messages or create a file of receipts for your tax return.

    State government agencies and local councils do something similar every day. When you apply for a drivers licence or write to your local council, information is recorded about your interaction with government. Government also makes records through everyday business such as ordering stationery supplies or documenting a Cabinet meeting.

    The government makes records when there is a need to retain evidence of actions and decisions. The need to make records may sometimes come from legislation and government policies.

    Keeping Records

    The length of time agencies and councils keep records can vary from days or months to very long periods of time, over 100 years. For example, under Work Health and Safety legislation records of working with asbestos need to be kept a minimum of 45 years in case workers develop signs of disease.

    A very small volume of records (less than 5%) have permanent value and we keep these forever. We call these records archives and put effort into preserving them and making them accessible.

    Why not just keep all records?

    Records have many uses yet most of them are destroyed when no longer needed because:

    • the business purpose for the record has been fulfilled, all legal and accountability reasons for keeping them have been met, and there is minimal risk to the agency and community if the records are destroyed
    • the cost to store and manage records outweighs the benefit of keeping them just in case the information may be needed. This applies equally to both physical and digital records. For digital records there are costs for media storage, back up, migration, cataloguing, and providing access.
    • all records degrade over time and they may have been created on formats which have become obsolete. The cost and effort to preserve these records would be unrealistic and put considerable strain on government resources.
  • Updates

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    Appraisal Standard released

    The approved Appraisal Standard has been approved and released.