Records Management - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

The University of Queensland is a public authority and is subject to the provisions of the Public Records Act 2002.  This policy establishes a framework for best practice recordkeeping and incorporates the requirements of the legislative environment mandated by Queensland State Archives as well as principles and practices mandated in the Queensland Information Standards.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

EDRMS - Electronic Document and Records Management System

Information Standards - Define and promote best practice in the acquisition, development, management, support and use of information systems and technology infrastructure which support the business processes and service delivery of Queensland public authorities.

Record- Recorded information in any format created or received by the University in the transaction of business.

Retention and Disposal Schedules - Defines the status, minimum retention periods and consequent disposal actions authorised for specific classes of records. The University is subject to two mandatory retention and disposal schedules:

TRIM – The University’s corporate EDRMS

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to staff undertaking all aspects of University business.

This incorporates records in all formats including hardcopy and electronic including records in business systems, databases, spreadsheets, websites and email systems.

This policy does not apply to organisations associated with the University that are not subject to the Public Records Act 2002, such as the Student Union and University companies.

4.  Policy Statement

The University of Queensland’s recordkeeping program will support good corporate governance and compliance with legislative requirements, and mandatory standards and industry best practice.

The University will create and maintain full and accurate records of its governance, academic, administrative, community and commercial activities. 

All staff are required to comply with legislative and administrative requirements to create, manage, protect and make accessible records that properly and adequately document the performance of the University’s functions.

The systematic creation and capture of official records into the University’s corporate recordkeeping system, TRIM, is fundamental to the efficient and effective functioning of university processes and to protecting its corporate memory.  This is designed to:

  • Allow fully informed decision making based on ready access to relevant and complete records that are kept available for an appropriate retention period;
  • Promote administrative efficiencies;
  • Facilitate compliance with applicable legislation and standards;
  • Provide prima facie evidence during litigation or in response to legal processes such as Right to Information applications, discovery orders and subpoena; and
  • Provide evidence in response to any regulatory audit, investigation or inquiry.

5.  Responsibilities

5.1 The Vice-Chancellor

  • Ensure the University’s compliance with the requirements of the Public Records Act 2002 including the principles and standards established by the Queensland State Archives.  This responsibility is delegated to relevant staff in accordance with the provisions set out below.

5.2 Management

  • Ensure staff are aware of recordkeeping policies and procedures;
  • Assign recordkeeping responsibilities within their units;
  • Ensure recordkeeping systems are in place to adequately document and support business processes; and
  • Resource recordkeeping in their unit.

5.3 Business systems administrators

  • Ensure the reliability and continued operation and functionality of business systems that generate and store records; and
  • Ensure business continuity plans for these systems are in place.

5.4 Records and Archives Management Services staff

  • Ensure that the University’s corporate recordkeeping processes and practices comply with the requirements of the Public Records Act 2002 and associated standards and guidelines;
  • Develop, implement and review of the University’s recordkeeping and associated policies, procedures, guidelines, and other documents as required by IS40 Recordkeeping;
  • Develop, implement and review of the University’s EDRMS (TRIM) and associated records management tools; and
  • Provide records management training programs to staff.

5.5  All staff

  • Ensure that records are created and managed properly and adequately to record evidence of the business activities of their work functions;
  • Dispose of records in accordance with authorised Retention and Disposal schedules;
  • Maintain confidentiality of University records and the privacy of personal information;
  • Secure records against unauthorised access and release of information; and
  • Ensure all University records in their possession at the time of cessation of employment are returned to Records and Archives Management Services or transferred to the custody of their supervisor.

6. Records Management

6.1 Creation and maintenance of records

Proper and adequate records that document and provide evidence of the University’s performance of its functions must be created by all individuals subject to this policy.

Records should be:

  • Compliant with the University’s regulatory and accountability requirements
  • Adequate to provide necessary evidence of the business transaction to account for actions taken
  • Complete and meaningful for the purpose they were created
  • Accurate, reflecting the transactions they document
  • Authentic, with the ability to prove authenticity
  • Inviolate, with the capacity to prove the records have not been altered.

All records received or created should be captured into a suitable recordkeeping system capable of meeting these requirements.  Queensland State Archives have published Recordkeeping Guidelines for small public authorities

6.2  Protection of records

Records will be preserved and maintained over time for as long as required to meet administrative, legal, fiscal and archival requirements and in accordance with at least the minimum requirements in relevant retention and disposal schedules.

All business units should have a business continuity plan to protect their records.

6.3  Access to records

All University records are to be available and accessible to authorised staff  where a staff member's right to access records will be determined by the relevance of the records to the performance of their duties, their level of delegated authority, privacy considerations, professional privilege, commercial-sensitivity and other specific considerations where confidentiality restricts the normal right of access to records.

Authorisation from a member of the administrative executive may be required before access is granted.

Staff are not permitted to give access to University records to unauthorised persons or agencies.

The University is required to comply with legislation that permits access to its records by members of the public, authorised external agencies, or as part of a legal processes, such as discovery or subpoena.  Applications for access to University records must be in writing, and access is subject to exemptions permitted by specific legislation and to privacy, legal and commercial considerations.

The transfer of official University records to any outside person or agency, in the first instance, requires the approval of the Manager, Records and Archives Management Services or the Legal Office.

Records must not be taken from the University without the permission of the Records Manager/Archivist or an appropriate Office manager.

University records must remain available and accessible while they are required to meet administrative needs and external accountability requirements.

6.4  Retention and disposal of records

Staff are required to retain and dispose of University records in accordance with Information Standard 31: Retention and Disposal of Public Records and retention and disposal schedules approved by the State Archivist.  The schedules are:

University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule

General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records

General Retention and Disposal of Original Paper Records that have been Digitised

Staff are required to use the appropriate retention and disposal schedule for the functions documented in the records and comply with the disposal actions set out in current and authorized retention and disposal schedules. 

Prior to disposal, University records must be appraised for continuing archival value.  That is, records with historical significance as well as interest to political scientists, scholars, historians and the community must be retained permanently.  Permission must be sought from the Head of the organisational unit before records are destroyed.

Any records subject to legal processes such as discovery and subpoena or required for internal or external review or investigation or relevant to an application made under the Right to Information Act 2009 must not be destroyed even if the retention period has passed.

Ephemeral documents as described in section 16 of the General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records with no value to the University may be destroyed when administrative and/or reference use has ceased.  This may be done without further reference to a retention and disposal schedule.  Where the official version of a record is verified as being already maintained in the University’s recordkeeping system, a copy may be destroyed at any time without reference to the retention and disposal schedule.

Section 13 of the Public Records Act 2002 prohibits an employee from destroying University records except in accordance with these schedules.

Chief Information Officer
Mr Rob Moffatt


Contents of University Files - Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These guidelines expand on PPL 1.60.04a Records Management - Policy and include specific information regarding the contents of files including staff, student and committees.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Record - Recorded information in any format created or received by the University in the transaction of business.

Retention and Disposal Schedule - Defines the status, minimum retention periods and consequent disposal actions authorised for specific classes of records. The University is subject to two mandatory retention and disposal schedules:

TRIM – UQ’s corporate EDRMS

WebDrawer - Web version of TRIM (read only).

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

These guidelines apply to staff undertaking all aspects of University business, and incorporate records in all formats including hardcopy and electronic records in business systems, databases, spreadsheets, websites and email systems.

These guidelines do not apply to organisations associated with the University that are not subject to the Public Records Act 2002, such as the Student Union and University companies.

4. Guidelines Statement

The University of Queensland’s recordkeeping systems support good corporate governance and compliance with legislative requirements, mandatory standards and industry best practice.

5. File groups

5.1 Student files

Since 2005 student files have been created electronically by RAMS for each student enrolled in an award program. This includes their admission, enrolment, progression and graduation. The contents of a student file complement the student information maintained in SI-net. Authorised staff can access electronic student files via TRIM and WebDrawer.

Files are maintained for the following:

  • international students
  • students in award programs
  • research postgraduate students
  • credit transfer requests
  • discipline and misconduct incidents

Advice which affects the ongoing progress and enrolment of students should be registered by the Faculty or forwarded to RAMS to be registered. All records relating to students are subject to privacy regulations and right to information requests (RTI).

Student files are normally temporary records, however, decisions are made on an individual basis to retain certain files for longer periods if they contain legal proceedings, are subject to litigation, or set precedents for decision-making.

The following documents may be submitted for inclusion on a student file:

  • Information about individual students, such as course progression advice, forms and grievances.
  • Credit Transfer Applications and supporting documentation
  • International applications and supporting documentation – approved applications only
  • International student – application to withdraw from program
  • Research higher degree applications – PhD, Masters
  • Higher doctorate applications
  • Appeal against exclusion
  • Appeal to Senate Appeals Committee (grievance)
  • Fee correspondence
  • Withdrawal without penalty
  • Name change with supporting documentation eg marriage certificate
  • Visa information
  • Refund request forms
  • Removal of financial liability due to special circumstances
  • Cross-institutional applications and correspondence
  • IELTS or TOEFL English language test results
  • Thesis examination and results
  • Postgraduate supervision documentation
  • Postgraduate progress reports (annual)
  • Change of enrolment requests
  • Withdrawal from program
  • Requests for leave
  • Deferral from program requests
  • Exchange study plan applications, both approved and denied
  • Progress check emails
  • Non-award applications
  • Qualsearch verifications.

5.2 Staff files

An official University staff file is established for each employee who commences employment with the University. For records management purposes, this is defined as all staff employed under the terms and conditions of an industrial award. The official staff file is the authentic record relating to the employment of a staff member.

Staff files are paper-based and have lengthy retention periods. Current staff files are maintained in Staff Registry which is located at Level 5 JD Story. Files may be requested by HR staff through staffregistry@uq.edu.au

RAMS started the transition to electronic staff files in 2016. Currently Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences and UQ Library staff have access to these electronic files.

The following documents may be submitted for inclusion on a staff file:

Applications relating to successful applicants, including CV, authorisation for appointment

Award – notification of a significant award, for example from a professional or community body

Certificates/academic qualifications, correspondence confirming eligibility for an academic award,– one copy only

Change of personal details such as name by marriage

Commencement/recommencement of duty

Higher duties allowances - requests and approvals

Individual Flexibility Arrangement forms

Induction Checklist

Leave form for non-routine leave (eg leave without salary, sick leave that relates to workers compensation, long service and maternity leave)

Notice of cessation of employment upon expiry of contract

Offer of Appointment

Offer of Appointment – acceptance sheet signed by member of staff

Other correspondence, such as

  • letter requesting exemption from jury service
  • permanent residency - evidence of this
  • Temporary Visa - supporting documents such as evidence of private health insurance

Position description

Probation/Confirmation of appointment Professional Staff – official letter

Probation/Confirmation of appointment Professional Staff – Human Resources Division prompt

Recognition and Development Plan - Professional Staff (final page only)

Redeployment details

Resignation letters

Resignation letters – acknowledgement of resignation

Salary information – including, loadings, performance payments, responsibility allowances (Head of School etc), call out and first aid

Superannuation matters including termination

Superannuation Registration Form

  • Defined Benefit Plan
  • Accumulation Super 1

Telecommuting agreements

Temporary Variation of Terms of Engagement

Separation details, including redundancy, voluntary separation packages, summary calculations

Workers compensation matters, including reports and medical certificates

Working with Children Suitability Check (Blue card)

Workplace agreements

The following are not placed on a Records and Archives Management Services Staff File and are returned to Human Resources Division or to Finance and Business Services Division:

  • Tax File number details – should be retained only by Payroll unit
  • Routine leave applications (apart from those listed)
  • Leave enquiries
  • Communications relating to account codes for payment of staff
  • Deductions including health funds, union fees, parking etc
  • Grant applications
  • Travel reports
  • Passport details – should be sighted, noted in Aurion, and returned to owner
  • Birth certificates – should be sighted, noted in Aurion, and returned to owner
  • Departure check lists – retain for 12 months in organisational unit
  • Study leave/Special Studies Program applications and reports (retain in organisational unit – successful 7 years after last action; unsuccessful 2 years after last action)
  • Attendance sheets (retain in organisational unit – 7 years after end of calendar year.)
  • Overpayment details retained by Payroll unit

Confidential Staff files contain records such as referees’ reports and sensitive medical reports.

Staff Files are retained and disposed of in accordance with the University’s retention and disposal schedule.

5.2.1 Handling Staff Files

Staff Files relate to personal activities of an employee’s history, and their access and handling must adhere to UQ’s policies regarding personal information and privacy. Staff Files recorded within TRIM may be requested and accessed by relevant HR staff across all campuses. All movements of the files should be secure with specialised sealed bags being used for internal mail purposes. All files should be kept in a secure place by borrowers, and should not be removed from University premises. The preferred method to request a file is by email to staffregistry@uq.edu.au from the borrower’s official university email address containing an appropriate email footer.

To maintain up-to-date files for all clients, it is important to return files to the Staff Registry when they are no longer required. If a file is required at a later date to complete an action, please let the Registry Attendant know and they can enter this into the system; this helps to prevent file hoarding. Whilst the action record sheet on the top of the file is used for this purpose, Staff Registry accepts emails to provide this service.

Part of the requirements for Records Management is the recording of file movements into the records management system, TRIM. When a file is borrowed, metadata is recorded in TRIM including the name of the borrower – the borrower then has responsibility for the security of the file. If the file is transferred to another staff member (who is an authorised borrower), it is the responsibility of the borrower to advise the Registry Attendant of the new file location. Many of the files contain a file transfer slip underneath their action record, and this slip can be removed from the file, completed, and returned to Staff Registry.  Alternatively, an email to staffregistry@uq.edu.au containing the following information: file number; file title; original borrower; new borrower; and date of transfer.

Additional documents should only be added to files by Records Management staff. To assist RAMS staff, ensuring the documents are recorded correctly in TRIM, additional documents should be secured by plastic-coated paperclip to the inside front cover of the file. If a borrower identifies the need for the files contents to be added to, removed, or divided, the borrower should advise the Registry Attendant who will organise for confirmation and subsequent action of the request.

A file should not be modified by the borrower. The only circumstance under which the file should be disassembled is to photocopy a portion. Under these circumstances, whilst RAMS understands the business requirements for copying, the Staff File must be returned to exactly the state under which it was borrowed. Paperwork of the files is in a particular order, and its integrity and authenticity must be maintained for the file to continue to have recordkeeping value to the University. It is the responsibility of the borrower to maintain this integrity whilst the file is loaned to them.

5.3 Committees files

These files relate to the recording of the proceedings of the various official committees established and operating within the University:

  • Senate and its sub-committees
  • Academic Board and its sub-committees
  • Committees of the Vice-Chancellor

Committee papers of the University’s core committee structure are of enduring value and should be transferred to University Archives.

Faculties, Schools and Centres manage the committee papers for other committees such as Faculty Boards and School committees. These are advisory boards and these records are held in accordance with the University’s retention and disposal schedule.

5.4 Other files

RAMS also manages other file groups including:

  • Legal
  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Staff selection
  • Policy (this has been replaced by the PPL).
Chief Information Officer
Mr Rob Moffatt


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Chief Information Officer
Mr Rob Moffatt
Chief Information Officer
Mr Rob Moffatt