Retention of Financial Information and Documents - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that the University complies with legal requirements relating to the storing, retention and destruction of financial records and documents.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

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3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all financial records and legal documents held by The University of Queensland.

4. Procedures Statement

Section 27(2) of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 requires that the University’s systems for financial information management provide for recording, storing, keeping, retrieving and destroying financial information.

This applies to records in all formats including records that require a technological device for their creation, storage, access and use.

5. Retention of Financial Records

In accordance with Information Standard 31: Retention and Disposal of Public Records as issued by Queensland Government Chief Information Office (QGCIO), the University is required to manage and preserve records to ensure they are accessible and unalterable for their required retention period. For records in electronic formats, this may involve migrating records to new formats, or maintaining basic technical infrastructure to support records which remain in decommissioned business systems. For hard copy records, this may involve providing ongoing storage spaces which protect public records from damage from pests and environmental hazards.

5.1 Retention of original financial records

Financial records must be kept in their original form:

a) if the information relates to a single financial year - one year after the date of the audit certificate for that financial year; or

b) if the information relates to more than one financial year - one year after the date of the audit certificate for the last of the financial years to which the information relates.

Note: The University’s audit certificate is normally signed and dated in March of the following year.

After the period has lapsed, the records may be kept in a different form that:

a) ensures the integrity and reliability of the data; and

b) enables it to be reproduced with or without the aid of another article or device.

5.2 Minimum document retention periods

Section 5 of the General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records: QDAN249, issued by Queensland State Archives, specifies the minimum retention periods for which records must be maintained, as authorised by the State Archivist. The minimum retention period commences from the date of the last transaction entered in the records.

Financial records cannot be disposed of prior to the expiration of the appropriate retention period. However, there is no requirement for public records to be destroyed at the expiration of a minimum retention period.

Financial records must be retained for longer if:

(i) they may be needed in evidence in a judicial proceeding, including any reasonably possible judicial proceeding;

(ii) they may be obtained by a party to litigation under the relevant Rules of Court, whether or not the State is a party to that litigation;

(iii) it must be retained pursuant to the Evidence Act 1977;

(iv) there is a current disposal freeze in relation to the record, or

(v) there is any other law or policy requiring that the record be retained.

6. Disposal of Financial Records

Prior to the disposal (including the destruction, damage, abandonment, sale or transfer) of original financial records (or part thereof), after they have been retained for the minimum period specified as per the General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records: QDAN249, the following needs to be ensured:

  • that the records are no longer required for a further period of time for any other purpose (e.g. legal action);
  • disposal is approved by the Head of the respective organisational unit;
  • method of destruction is appropriate to the sensitivity of the records;
  • disposal of the record is documented.

Each organisational unit must maintain a permanent register of all disposals. The following needs to be included in the register:

  • a description of the information;
  • if applicable, the serial numbers of the first and last document in the series, and any other point at which a break occurs in the stationery;
  • the retention date in accordance with General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records;
  • who authorised the disposal of the records;
  • the disposal date;
  • how the records were destroyed; and
  • who destroyed the records.

Steps should be taken to ensure all copies of temporary records are destroyed at the same time, including back-up copies, copies stored on-line and on physical storage devices.

A Request for Disposal of Records Approval form, authorised by the Head of the organisational unit, must be filled out to enable the appropriate destruction of records in accordance with the approved disposal authorities.

7. Legal Documents

All legal documents including contract documents, deeds, certificates of title, contractors security bonds, insurance policies, investment certificates and lease arrangements are to be stored in a locked, fireproof cupboard.

A register of the legal documents held by organisational units is to be maintained with the following details:

a) the existence of the document;

b) its nature; and

c) destruction, cancellation, transfer or issue of the documents.

The register is to contain a separate section for each category of document (e.g. deeds, security bonds, etc.) and each section page is to be consecutively numbered.

Chief Financial Officer Mr Andrew Flannery
Chief Financial Officer Mr Andrew Flannery