Preparing a Retention and Disposal Schedule

In preparing a Retention and Disposal Schedule, agencies need to ensure the following criteria are met:

  • Adequate research: adequate research is conducted to identify any legislative or regulatory obligations that may affect the keeping of the organization’s records, including their retention, disposal and access provisions.
  • Adequate consultation: adequate consultation is conducted with key staff within the organization, and other stakeholders as required, to ensure business and community needs for the retention and disposal of records has been properly considered and addressed.
  • Aligned to business practice: the Schedule covers all core-business functions, and all activities carried out as part of those functions which are not otherwise covered by a general disposal authority. Note: Core-business functions should be distinguished from administrative functions. In general, administrative functions equate to the keyword terms in the Keyword AAA thesaurus published by State Records NSW. Records generated from administrative functions are typically included in the General Disposal Authority for State Government Information and should not be included in the organization’s Retention and Disposal Schedule.
  • Comprehensiveness: the Schedule covers all records of the organization, irrespective of format, which are not otherwise included in a general disposal authority.  If the Schedule applies to sub-offices or regional offices, the records from those offices must also be covered by the Schedule.
  • Suitable for long-term use: organizations should prepare their Schedule so that it is suitable for long-term use.  The Schedule should not be structured by business areas which may be subject to periodic change.  Instead, organizations should structure their Schedule by business functions and activities. Organizations should avoid the use of terms or descriptions which could build redundancy into the Schedule, such as referring to specific matters (e.g. business areas, form numbers, etc.) subject to frequent structural or procedural change.
  • Clarity of description: descriptions for functions, activities, disposal classes or other entries included in the Schedule must be clear and must adequately describe what they are supposed to.  The descriptions should be easily understood by an external party. If acronyms or abbreviations are used, full term descriptions should also be provided. Technical terms should be avoided unless a description of such terms is also provided.
  • Authorised: the Schedule must be reviewed by key staff and authorised by an appropriately senior officer (such as the Chief Executive Officer) prior to its submission to the SRO.

See also: Structure and Content of a Retention and Disposal Schedule and Appraisal Criteria