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What to Do with Papers in Your Office

Planning an office move or tidy-up? When facing the papers in your space remember: if there are University records there are rules for what to do with them.

So what should I do first?

  • Step 1Plan ahead

    Make a note to contact Records Services as soon as you know the office move or tidy-up will go ahead. Whether it is a little or a lot of paperwork, the team can provide advice and support to ensure it is managed in keeping with University policy.

    To get the most out of the consultation process, before you contact Records Services:

    • Identify what you have

      Make an initial assessment of the documents included in the move or tidy-up – the ‘what’, ‘where’ and 'how much’.
    • Think about how you use what is there (if you use it at all)

      Does it include day-to-day records you may need to keep on hand, or records you only look at a couple of times a year? Could some be sent to off-site storage? Or, if appropriate, even destroyed?
    • If you are moving offices, think about how much storage room you will have in your new space
  • Step 2Do not throw any papers out

    Not yet, anyway. Because if what you have turns out to include University records, you will need approval from the University Archivist before the records can be destroyed.

  • Step 3Contact Records Services

    Once you know the office move or tidy-up is going ahead and you have a good idea about your current and (if you are moving) prospective records situations, contact Records Services as soon as possible.

    The team can:

    • give advice tailored to your situation
    • provide an overview of what happens next
    • identify any resources you might need
    • answer any questions you might have.

    Letting Records Services know sooner is better than later to give them enough time to help you prepare for the activity with as little stress as possible.

What happens next?

  • Step 1Set aside time

    Book out time in your calendar in advance for preparing yourself and the papers in your office.

    Scheduling in time for yourself will reduce the stress of last minute sorting and documentation. It will also minimise the risk of mistakenly losing or destroying records.

  • Step 2Identify what to keep, archive or destroy

    It is now time for you to record the details of your initial assessment from the 'Plan ahead' step above into an Archival-disposal authorisation spreadsheet.

    This tool will help both you and Records Services identify what can be kept, archived or destroyed.

    Email your completed spreadsheet to Records Services, who will assess your listing and contact you to discuss what happens next.

  • Step 3Action what to keep, archive or destroy

    Records Services will return your archival-disposal spreadsheet to you, complete with instructions for those records that:

    • can be immediately destroyed

      All University records must be confidentially destroyed.
    • will need central files created

      New files can be requested from the Forms and templates page. Once records are attached to file covers they can be retained in your office or returned to Records Services for storage.
    • can be boxed and transferred for off-site storage.

      Records Services will provide you with instructions on how to process the records for transfer to off-site storage; and supply you with the appropriate quantity of boxes. It is your responsibility to take care of the packing and provide them with a box listing.
  • Step 4Review

    Once the physical move or tidy-up is complete, you can use your archival-disposal authorisation spreadsheet to check off that everything has been actioned according to plan.

    If you have concerns regarding your current recordkeeping practices or would like to improve access and management of your records, contact Records Services for assistance.

Download the What to do with the papers in your office fact sheet for a print- friendly summary of this page.

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The University of Adelaide
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AUSTRALIA

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