Records retention and disposal procedure

Intent

To establish consistent and compliant processes with respect to the retention and disposal of RMIT records, information and documents, in accordance with statutory recordkeeping standards

Scope

This procedure relates to RMIT records created or managed by or on behalf of RMIT. This procedure applies to all RMIT operations including those of the RMIT Group, outsourced providers, offshore partners and any contractor or other body engaged by RMIT.

This procedure relates to all RMIT records created or managed by or on behalf of RMIT, regardless of format – including physical (hard copy) documents, electronic or digital records, and information maintained as part of a database or similar electronic system.

Exclusions

Nil

Procedure

1. Records disposal programs

1.1. Work Units must implement a regular records disposal program for the RMIT records for which they have responsibility.

1.2. Work units must identify records no longer required for daily administrative use as soon as possible. Some records can be destroyed immediately as part of Normal Administrative Practice (see section 3).

1.3. For all other RMIT records, work units must:

  • determine their disposal class and retention requirements using the Records Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA - see section 2 below)
  • apply the necessary retention and disposal action
  • store semi-active records as necessary (see secondary storage; section 5 below)
  • identify and transfer permanent records as necessary
  • destroy records in line with the RDA only after consultation and approval of the University Secretariat

2. Records Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs)

2.1. Staff must retain and destroy records in line with approved RDAs. The Records Management Unit and Archives provides advice regarding interpretation of the RDAs listed in the Supporting Instructions below.

2.2. For each disposal class of records, the RDA prescribes the retention period, custody arrangements, and where applicable, the period after which the records must be destroyed.

Prior to destroying RMIT records, approval must first be sought from the University Secretariat using the Application for Destruction of RMIT Records Form (DOC 33KB, 1p).

3. ‘Normal Administrative Practice’

3.1. Certain types of RMIT records and information can be destroyed under ‘Normal Administrative Practice’ (NAP). NAP covers the destruction of ephemeral material of a facilitative nature created or acquired. The following records may be destroyed under NAP:

  • Working papers consisting of rough notes and calculations used solely to assist in the preparation of other records such as correspondence, reports and statistical tabulations;
  • Drafts not intended for retention as part of the office’s records, the content of which has been reproduced and incorporated in the public office’s record keeping systems; and
  • Extra copies of documents and published material preserved solely for reference.

The University Secretariat does not require notification for the destruction of records under the provision of Normal Administrative Practice.

4. Archival storage for permanent records

4.1. RMIT Archives are responsible for arranging the storage of permanent RMIT records.

Where a work unit identifies permanent records via an RDA, that are no longer in use, they must contact the RMIT Archives to arrange transfer.

See the Transferring records procedure for more detail.

5. Secondary storage for temporary records

5.1 An RDA defines temporary records and the retention period of RMIT records (see section 2 above).

5.2 Temporary records that are semi-active or not secure on-site must be stored at an approved secondary storage provider until due for destruction. Work units must contact the RMIT Archives to arrange records transfer, well in advance of the proposed transfer date.

See the Transferring records procedure and Records storage procedure for more detail.

6. Destruction

6.1. RMIT records must not be removed or destroyed except in accordance with NAP (Normal Administrative Practice) or an approved RDA. It is unlawful to remove, sell, damage or destroy public records without this authority. Records removed unlawfully will be recovered by RMIT.

6.2. Staff must be aware of pending legal actions and legislative and other provisions outside the RDA which may affect decisions about records destruction, such as the Crimes (Document Destruction) Act 2006 (Vic). It is important to note that records subject to current freedom of information requests must not be destroyed until:

  • Access has been granted to the applicant;
  • In the case where access is denied and an appeal has been made, the appeal has been determined; and
  • In the case where access is denied and where no appeal is made, the period during which an appeal can be made has lapsed.

Staff should consult the Records Management Unit if unsure.

6.3. Work units must not destroy hard copy originals which have been digitised or scanned without first consulting the Records Management Unit to ensure that all requirements of the Digitisation of RMIT records procedure and Instructions for quality control are adequate.

6.4. Records must be destroyed securely and completely, in line with Secure destruction procedure.

7. Staff records responsibilities when leaving, moving or transferring locations

7.1. When a staff member leaves their current position, they must make arrangements for the ongoing custody of records for which they are responsible. This includes ensuring records are left accessible to others, and carrying out records disposal so that records which are no longer required have been properly stored or destroyed.

7.2 When moving records between offices, work units should consult the Moving records procedure.

7.3 When transferring records to a secondary storage provider, work units should consult the Records storage procedure and the Transferring records procedure.

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