Structure and Content of a Retention and Disposal Schedules

In preparing a Retention and Disposal Schedule, agencies need to address the following matters:

  • Introduction: each Schedule is to have an Introduction that addresses the scope of the Schedule and places the retention and disposal decisions of the Schedule in their proper context.  ORDA includes the Introduction for Schedules as part of a pre-populated template. Agencies will need to update parts of the Introduction where prompted.
  • Terms/Classes: the SRO recommends that agencies use a consistent Function-Activity-Disposal Class structure for their Schedule.  While other structures can be accommodated, ORDA has been designed to support this structure as the default.  This structure aligns with what is promulgated through Australian Standard AS ISO Standard 15489 – Records Management.
  • Databases and Business Systems: Key databases and business systems should be identified in the Schedule.  They can be included either in their own ‘section’ or where they relate to specific business functions can be included under those functions. Sentencing for such systems applies to the information in these systems, rather than the systems themselves. Many business systems are complex and can generate or manage a range of information. Consideration should be given to whether a single disposal decision for information in a given system is appropriate. If the system has recordkeeping capability, it may be appropriate to apply more than one disposal decision to the different types of information the system manages. Where information in the system is also captured in the organisation’s recordkeeping system, cross-references should be made to the relevant sections in the Schedule where disposal decisions for those records are made. As a general rule, corporate systems - such as financial, HR and records management systems – should not be included in the Schedule as the information in these systems are covered by a general disposal authority.
  • Legacy records: Legacy records are closed series of records from the organization, or which the agency has custody of from a preceding organization. Unless already covered in an approved ad hoc disposal authority, legacy records still in the custody of the organization should be included in the Schedule.

Organizations should no longer include a ‘Common Activities’ section in their Schedule.  These activities will typically be included in the General Disposal Authority for State Government Information.  If an organization conducts an agency-specific activity for multiple business functions, these should be included under each function.

Organizations should no longer include a “Website/s” section in their Schedule.  As a publication, websites are addressed in the General Disposal Authority for State Government Information.  As a government record, the information in a website can be sentenced under the relevant activities of the General Disposal Authority for State Government Information or the agency Schedule (as applicable).

See also: Preparing a Retention and Disposal Schedule and Appraisal Criteria