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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 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 Rowan Salt