Transfer of Information Assets Standard information session.

State Records only accepts transfers of official information assets of enduring value (permanent) which are:

  • older than 15 years, and
  • no longer required for current administrative use

in accordance with the Transfer of Official information assets Standard.

Information assets proposed for transfer must be identified as permanent in either a Records Disposal Schedule (RDS), covering agency specific information assets, or in a General Disposal Schedule (GDS) covering common types of information assets.

Transfers of permanent value information assets are prioritised, with the highest priority given to information assets which:

  • are open to public access
  • are at risk of loss or damage
  • date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Transfers of permanent value information assets will be postponed if the information assets are:

  • younger than 15 years
  • in current administrative use (regardless of age)
  • closed to public access, and will not be publicly accessible for more than 15 years (regardless of age)
  • digital (until State Records has the capability to transfer digital information assets)
  • hard copy information assets which have been scanned and may be destroyed under GDS 21.

Exceptions to Transfer Standard

We will make exceptions to the Transfer Standard for Cabinet submission files and notes (both from Ministers’ Offices and from departments), Minister’s Office information assets in the lead up to an election (unless there is a digital copy, in which case the digital copy will be deemed the official record) and information assets created by Royal Commissions.

We may consider other exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Contact Archival Services for advice.

Transfer guidance

What does older than 15 years mean?

All information assets within the file must have been created at least 15 years ago. For the purposes of the standard:

  • We will review the end dates of consignments (the set of information assets proposed for transfer at the same time) and the end dates of files in the consignment list (the list of items proposed for transfer) to calculate the 15 years
  • All parts / volumes of a file will be treated as a single entity, so the date when the last part was closed will be used to calculate the 15 years.

Suggestions for agencies:

  • Avoid incorporating older information assets into new systems, as this will extend the transfer period (and is not good practice besides)
  • Close files promptly when matters are no longer active
  • Avoid keeping files ‘live’ for longer than needed – create separate annual files for ongoing matters
  • Avoid creating files with many parts / volumes – create separate files for different activities or processes
  • Create separate consignments of information assets for transfer so that consignments proposed only contain information assets older than 15 years, and then propose new consignments annually as the information assets in your custody age.

What does no longer required for current administrative use mean?

The information assets are no longer being added to, used or accessed, including access through Freedom of Information. For the purposes of the standard, we will:

  • review the access determination and assess whether the restriction period is likely to require the agency to loan information assets for access
  • review past loans to identify whether similar information assets have been retrieved or accessed
  • require agencies to certify that they no longer need to access the information assets (unless there are exceptional circumstances) when information assets are transferred.

Suggestions for agencies:

  • Keep digital information assets so that information assets can be more easily accessed without requiring physical access
  • Stop printing and saving information assets on physical files, reducing printing, labour and storage costs
  • Dispose of hardcopy source information assets that are scanned and saved into systems in accordance with GDS 21 conditions
  • Retain hardcopy files which are routinely accessed on site or in offsite storage, including with Approved Storage Providers (ASPs)
  • Dispose of temporary information assets promptly to reduce storage costs, where there are no further reasons to retain the information assets such as a disposal freeze or legal matter.

Tips for agencies managing information assets

  1. Keep information assets digitally. Do not print information assets for filing, and ensure business systems have basic information assets management controls.
    Benefits of keeping information assets digitally include:
    a) reduces costs of printing, filing, storage and access,
    b) enables information assets to be easily accessed without requiring the physical object.
  2. Organise information assets efficiently. File information assets relating to transactions or cases separately, rather than mixing information assets on the one file. Create separate files if the information has significantly different retention periods or access restrictions; and send information assets to offsite storage with accurate listings of file contents, date ranges, sentencing against RDS and GDS references and box information assets with similar destruction dates together.
    Benefits of efficient organisation of information assets include:
    a) temporary information assets of short term value can be destroyed promptly;
    b) access restrictions can be more easily managed;
    c) permanent information assets in offsite storage can be prepared for transfer more easily when they are no longer required for current administrative use.
  3. Dispose of temporary information assets promptly. Destroy information assets once minimum retention periods have been reached, unless there is reason for retaining the information assets longer such as a legal matter, FOI or disposal freeze.
    Benefits of prompt disposal include:
    a) reduces costs of storage;
    b) avoids information assets having to be re-sentenced when disposal schedules are updated;
    c) ensures information assets are disposed of before a disposal schedule expires; removes obligation to search these information assets in response to access requests.
  4. Transfer oldest permanent information assets first. Transfer the oldest permanent information assets first (as long as they are no longer required for current administrative use), especially nineteenth and early twentieth century information assets that are publicly accessible and without any access restrictions.
Page last updated: 3 November 2022