Premier & Cabinet

Premier's Memorandum

M2007-08 Efficient and Cost Effective Management of Records


The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that the business of government and the delivery of services are supported by the efficient and effective management of government records in all forms.

Detailed Outline

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that the business of government and the delivery of services are supported by the efficient and effective management of government records in all forms.

A key component of this commitment is that all agencies should know how long the records they generate need to be retained and should manage the retention and disposal of their records systematically to meet those needs.

In the context of a review of State Records it has been observed that many records stored by agencies are no longer required and that some are only stored because the legal instrument to dispose of the records has not been developed.

Determining how long to keep records
The Government has decided that all agencies should have comprehensive Records Retention and Disposal Authorities in place by 2009/2010.

These 'Authorities' set out how long the different classes of records generated by an agency must be kept to meet its legal, operational and other requirements, and whether the records are to be kept as State archives. The State Records Authority ('State Records') reviews and approves agencies' proposed Retention and Disposal Authorities under the State Records Act 1998.

State Records has already developed Authorities covering the common types of records generated by all agencies (see State Records website). Individual agencies, however, must work out how long the records unique to their functions must be kept, based on their knowledge of their legal environment and operational needs, and must prepare proposed authorities accordingly. Some agencies have developed such Authorities but many have not.

Agencies without a Retention and Disposal Authority must develop one to meet Government requirements. These agencies are required to contact State Records by 17 August 2007, if they have not done so already, to discuss the planning and timetabling of this work.

Implementing decisions about records retention and disposal
Agencies are required to systematically implement the Retention and Disposal Authorities covering their records as part of their ongoing records management responsibilities. This involves applying the decisions set out in the Authorities to individual records and ensuring that they are destroyed promptly and securely when their retention period has ended.

Regular and systematic use of Retention and Disposal Authorities will result in benefits to the agency and to Government by:

  • reducing the costs of records storage;
  • reducing the time and cost associated with finding specific records when they are needed; and
  • minimising the risks arising from illegal or unmanaged destruction of records and from inadvertently keeping records that should be destroyed.

The Government has requested State Records to manage a sector-wide program, working with agencies to reduce the Government's records storage costs. In particular, the program is to identify agencies with the greatest capacity for savings in this area and for records management improvement.

State Records is already engaged in gathering relevant information from agencies and agency cooperation to date has been appreciated. To further assist with determining effective strategies and benchmarks, agencies are requested to identify where they can reduce records storage requirements/costs and be able to respond, if required, to requests from State Records for information on storage arrangements, costs and potential savings.

Safeguarding State archives
Official records of enduring value are an important part of the State's heritage. These State archives are identified in Records Retention and Disposal Authorities. Normally only a small proportion of an agency's records are kept as State archives.

Records designated as State archives, and which are no longer in use for official purposes in the agency, should be routinely and systematically transferred to State Records' care. An agency should not retain such records on its premises unnecessarily, particularly where it is unable to provide a suitable storage environment for valuable archives.

State Records operates high quality, purpose built facilities for storing and preserving the State archives and, once archives are open to public access, for making them available to the community. Records transferred to State Records' care remain available to the responsible agency if needed.
State Records can provide further information and advice on each of these matters. A range of guidance and other resources relating to all aspects of this Memorandum is available on State Records' website at State Records will advise agencies separately about information sessions and training.

This Memorandum applies to all departments, authorities, State owned corporations and other bodies that are defined as 'public offices' under the State Records Act.
Ministers are requested to bring this Memorandum to the attention of all public sector agencies within their portfolios.

JA Watkins MP
Acting Premier



Not Mandatory

AR Details

Date Issued
Jul 13, 2007
Review Date
Dec 31, 2014
Replaced By


Contact us
02 9228 5555
Publishing Entity
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Issuing Entity