Disposal of State Records

On 5 April 2018, Cathrin Cassarchis, the then State Archivist and Executive Director State Records, issued a disposal freeze for government records relating to children. This freeze applies to all Western Australian State and local government organisations, and outsourced agents creating or maintaining relevant records for these organisations. Any such records held by State or local government organisations, or their outsourced agents, must not be destroyed until further notice.

Information to CEOs on the Protection of Records Relevant to Royal Commissions

The State Records Office (SRO) advises State and Local Government organizations on the legislative requirements governing State records and the process of gaining approval for their disposal.  Disposal may refer either to the destruction of State records or the transfer of State records of archival value to the SRO for permanent retention.

The effective disposal of records is essential for the efficient operation of any records system. Failure to dispose of records regularly and appropriately results in the unnecessary and costly use of space, equipment and staff.

Under the State Records Act 2000, State records may only be destroyed under an approved Disposal Authority.  The State Records Commission approves Disposal Authorities.

Disposal Authorities

State records can only be disposed of via one or more of the following authorities:

Ad Hoc Disposal Authority

An Ad Hoc Disposal Authority is a specific instance disposal authority relating to one or a limited number of series, or an identified part of a series of records.  This kind of authority is most often used when old or superseded records are being appraised for disposal.  The purpose of an Ad Hoc Disposal Authority is to authorise disposal action on a once-only basis, i.e. for records in a specific category or date range.

Disposal Lists

A Disposal List is an itemised list of records in which individual items, not necessarily from the same series, have been recommended by the government organization for transfer to the SRO or destruction.  A Disposal List is most appropriately used for the urgent disposal of records arising from some kind of damage or contamination of the records which requires immediate action.

For queries about Ad Hoc Disposal Authorities or Disposal Lists please contact the SRO via email at sro@sro.wa.gov.au

Further Information

Transferring Archival Records to the State Records Office.

For advice on destruction methods for State records, refer to the SRO Guideline: Records Retention and Disposal Instructions.

For advice on destruction methods for digital storage media, refer to SRO Guideline: Sanitizing Digital Media and Devices.



Last updated 11 November 2019